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Brands Join Forces at Comic-Con

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his “sidekick” City Council President Todd Gloria soaring above Gotham City to officially kickoff the 2014 Comic-Con International!

As I watched the two zipline over the impressive re-creation of Gotham City, I couldn’t help but get excited about the well-executed marketing stunt.

With more than 130,000 pop-culture gurus and die-hard comic fans attending Comic-Con and thousands more attending special events around downtown San Diego, the surrounding area of Comic-Con is an irresistible, but pricey marketing opportunity for brands. To cut the costs, brands are partnering with other businesses, and this year was no exception. From the mundane to the spectacular, there were co-branded activations on every corner, but amongst the noise, there were three that truly stood out.

Gotham Interactive Fan Zone and Uber
With its newest television series “Gotham” premiering soon, Fox transformed Bay Front Park into a Gotham Interactive Fan Zone and enlisted San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Todd Gloria to kick off the event by riding the Gotham-themed zipline. The network also partnered with Uber to create Gotham-brand “police” cars, where passengers got a sneak preview of special Gotham content when riding in these Uber cars.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox distributed 5,000 Gotham Chronicle newspapers to fans and launched GothamChronicle.com where fans can keep up-to-date with breaking news, culture and entertainment stories in the fictional world of Gotham.

Schick and Assassin’s Creed
For the second year in a row, Schick and Assassin’s Creed teamed up to help Assassin’s Creed video game fans “discover a shave so smooth it could start a revolution.” Attendees visiting the Assassin’s Creed Experience received a free, customized shave by professional barbers – using the Schick Hydro 5 razor, of course. After the shave, participants decked themselves out in French Revolution-inspired gear and took selfies to share with the #SmoothRevolution community. What’s so great about this? Comic-Con is ground zero for facial hair.

Ninja Turtle Pizza Hut Pizza Thrower
This brand activation was so perfect it hurt. To stroke Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans nostalgia and get everyone excited for the upcoming release of the film, Pizza Hut and Paramount Pictures partnered to bring a life-size, fully functional version of the iconic pizza thrower to Comic-Con. Participants in the interactive zone could climb in the pizza-shooting truck and fire away at the Turtles’ enemies, while enjoying a sampling of Pizza Hut’s Cheesy Bites Pizza.

NST and Comic-Con
As my colleague Krystin mentioned in last year’s Comic-Con blog post, the NST team loves the four-day fan fest and geeks out on all of the marketing initiatives that happen during the event. We even have an annual team Comic-Con lunch to see the creative costumes and characters that hit the streets.

In honor of Comic-Con, I asked some of NST’s explorers to share what their favorite part of Comic-Con is. Here’s what they had to say:

  • “I love seeing the building wraps take over the downtown skyline. It’s the only time of year that we see marketing in action when looking out of our office window!” – Katie Rowland
  • “My favorite Comic-Con perk is that many of my favorite comedians come to town and perform around the downtown area throughout the week.” – Aaron Blomberg
  • “I always love the NBC Experience in the Gaslamp District. Every year, NBC takes over the Tin Fish Restaurant area to promote their TV shows. It’s always fun for those of us who don’t attend Comic-Con. It’s almost like a backlot tour of the shows themselves!” – Natalie Haack
  • “I love seeing the outrageous and fun costumes that people wear. Comic-Con takes on a life of its own, and people love it. It’s contagious.” – Michelle Livermore
  • “My favorite part about Comic-Con is seeing how engaged the Gaslamp and East Village neighborhoods become in promoting or hosting related events. It is fun to see these two great neighborhoods packed with people and brimming with excitement, even if it makes driving around a little bit of an adventure. Plus, how often do you get to see zombies walking past your balcony?” – Rebecca Schmidt

Have you attended Comic-Con before? Tell us your favorite memories and stunts in a comment below.

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