Comic-Con doesn’t officially open until tomorrow, but promo-wise the San Diego confab is already in full swing with The Walking Dead, Conan O’Brien, Marvel’s Doctor Strange and Designated Survivor dominating. Also coming in strong on the skyline and streets of SDCC 2016 are Mr. Robot, which is splayed across buses and bicycle taxis, History’s Vikings, the Amazon Village featuring The Man in the High Castle and Thunderbirds Are Go exhibits, South Park’s 20th anniversary park, Adult Swim and FX’s The Strain (see photos below).
If geekfest eyeballs and buzz are the prize, then AMC’s zombie apocalypse blockbuster is looking like the winner. With a photo of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s villain Negan, The Walking Dead is featured on every pass and lanyard for this year’s Comic-Con – which means the more than 160,000 attendees coming this year will all be Deadheads of a sort. The neck straps for said passes and lanyards also have the show based on Robert Kirkman’s comic series and its spinoff Fear the Walking Dead on them too. Both shows will be packing in a sliver of their massive fan base for returning panels in the convention center’s huge Hall H on July 22. Which means fans likely will have to go through one of the security systems that have been branded with FearTWD and TWD too.
If TWD is the top dog in terms of pricey SDCC marketing, Conan O’Brien is the big man – once again. In town for the second year in row with a week of shows starting tonight with the cast of HBO’s Silicon Valley, TBS snagged the primo promo spot of the Marriott right next to the San Diego Convention Center for the second year in a row for Conan too. Not only is O’Brien also going to have the casts of Suicide Squad, Supergirl, Game of Thrones and more on his TBS late-night show this year, he is one of the first things attendees will see when they arrive at the airport and on several of the MTS trolleys that ferry fans and others around downtown San Diego. Fox’s upcoming The Exorcist adaptation and the semi-animated Son of Zorn are also on the trains, as is Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.LD. again.
It’s a bit of a Fox wonderland over by the Hilton with FX’s The Strain taking up the side of that hotel and Son of Zorn plastered across the parking garage next door. FX and Fox today were still putting up a self-described “experience” beside the hotel featuring said series and more that includes a three-story high Mount Zephyria Mighty Rock Climb & Free Fall. Adult Swim also has a carnival space right next door, and then there’s a chance to go on the Abigail boat from FearTWD – the latter running July 21-23.
Up and down the soon-to-be-full streets of the Gaslamp Quarter, Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch stares down from official SDCC banners attached to nearly every pole – a reminder of Marvel’s Hall H presentation on Saturday.
HBO has mobile presence with Vice Principals- and Silicon Valley-branded buses going up and down the streets. Also everyone going to SDCC this year will stare in the faces of Game of Thrones. Banners for the Emmy-winning drama based on George R.R. Martin’s books once again are up on the side of the tracks that you have to cross to get from the Gaslamp over to the convention center proper.
And ABC has taken up its usual place on the side of Petco Park with veteran Once Upon a Time and the upcoming Designated Survivor, which debuts on September 21. Actually, if you are at SDCC, you can see the Kiefer Sutherland drama on July 23 at a special preview screening with co-stars Maggie Q and Kal Penn in attendance.
The series, about a low-level Cabinet member who becomes the Commander-in-Chief after an attack wipes out most of the U.S. government, has emerged as one of the hot tickets of the fall season, and ABC obviously is hoping to pump up the volume with SDCC stature and word-of-social-media-mouth.
Check out other marketing efforts at SDCC here from NBC with Timeless and Emerald City, Starz’s Ash vs Evil Dead, Spider-man out at San Diego International Airport via a cross-promotion with Campbell’s soup, Game of Thrones, Man in the High Castle, Fear the Walking Dead‘s Abigail and more: