I’m not too keen on ABC/Disney’s marketing strategies at Comic-Con.

There seems to be a lack of misunderstanding of what works and what doesn’t at a con.  Or anywhere….

Last year, there were models dressed up as stewardesses to promote Pan Am.  When you asked them questions, they responded in “airplane-speak”: “All flights are full,” “Passengers, please proceed to the gate for boarding.”  Cute, but annoying — you could not get a straight answer out of them.  While I admire the professionalism of the models, staying in character for $15 an hour, the bit left a lot of irritated attendees avoiding the booth.

At least last year, they gave out cool retro Pan Am travel bags.  This year, it was t-shirts for The Neighbors. The penance was that you had to wait to get a ticket, then wait in line again, then watch a trailer that was readily available on the Internet two months prior to Comic-Con.  All of which was preceded by a wobbly introduction in alien-speak, which sounded a lot like Brits trying to act ignorant.  Is the default accent now British for everything that’s not American (or Earthly)?

photo credit: ABC/Disney

The booth offered up models speaking English words but in a crazy British-alien accent with no cohesive sentences ultimately formed.   It was more irritating than last year.  And all I got was a t-shirt and a badge saying I was now Chris Evert (aliens on the show take famous athletes’ names).  My host for the trailer had a case of extreme nerves and kept slurring her words.  While my friends and I stood to get our shirts, the marketing leader coached the model — she now had her regular voice, dropping character.

Watching trailers works fine at conventions if it’s an experience.  And if the trailer hasn’t been seen elsewhere. That’s why people wait two hours to see a trailer of Star Trek the video game at E3.  Because one has to be at the expo to see it.  But on top of exclusivity, the folks at Paramount and Namco Bandai made theirs a true experience, with attendees entering a turbo lift with a multi-screen display and having the opportunity to get a photo sitting in a captain’s chair.  They also gave away exclusive t-shirts.

For The Neighbors, visitors walked into a tool shed.

Pan Am was cancelled.  Fans avoided it.  Any connection?  The show may end up being decent, but I already don’t like The Neighbors because of the Comic-Con campaign.   Not the desired reaction.

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