Comic-Con Uses Vintage Designs for Canceled Event Merchandise
Comic-Con is about much more than just comics. It’s pretty much the be-all end-all of pop culture gatherings, and its San Diego stop is one of the most important events of the year. Unfortunately, due to the current situation, fans from all over the world aren’t going to be able to make any Comic-Con memories this year. But, they can at least wear new (old) memories proudly.
This is sort of the way canceled events have to operate right now: Put as much content online as possible, and send promotional products straight to the would-be attendees. Comic-Con is using nostalgia as the primary vehicle, selling a line of merchandise that commemorates the event but uses vintage designs from past Comic-Cons.
For the first time ever, we’re pulling from our archives to offer a limited supply of vintage Comic-Con t-shirts! The official Comic-Con 2016 Wonder Woman shirt and official Comic-Con “Buff” fan favorite, are now up for grabs at our online merch store! https://t.co/RpyU8QWwkb pic.twitter.com/4g3OPvQ3jw
— San Diego Comic-Con (@Comic_Con) May 27, 2020
There’s also plenty of non-year-specific items, like dice, tote bags, and a buff that could act as a face covering, which is smart given the number of states and cities with mandatory mask rules in public spaces still.
It’s disappointing that events like this have to be postponed. (Even the Olympics aren’t immune.) But it’s best to play it safe. And when these event organizers can still make folks feel like they were there, or feel like they’re still a part of something even from home, that creates loyalty from attendees and makes them more likely to show up when the doors are allowed to open.
Ideas like this are great examples of pivoting and making the best of situations using branded merchandise. It'd be very easy for the Comic-Con organizers to throw up their hands and say, "Welp. The show is off. Sorry everyone." Instead, they looked at what they could still do, what products they could still get in the hands of end-users, and how they could make it more fun than just "here are some products, see you next year."
The Wonder Woman shirt might not have a year or date on it, but fans will still know this was from the year we all had to just wait a little longer to go to the shows we love. And they might even appreciate it more than something they got at the show.
Promotional marketing might be a little more difficult, but you can be rewarded if you get creative. As we said before, canceled events don't have to mean canceled promotional products campaigns.