WonderCon 2015: How the Studios and Corporations Missed a Golden Opportunity

     April 5, 2015

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San Diego Comic-Con is a madhouse. It’s wall-to-wall people trying to land the latest exclusive. It’s movie studios and TV networks parading around their stars in an attempt to woo the geeks. It’s huge corporations unveiling the latest games and merchandise to the die-hard fans and hardcore collectors. And it’s absolutely overwhelming.

No matter what cool thing you are doing at Comic-Con, there are three other things you want to be doing. Comic-Con is that rare convention that is too good. Because it’s so popular and now covered in the mainstream media, tons of companies, networks and studios spend big money to promote their wares in an attempt to “win Comic-Con” and be what everyone is talking about as the convention ends.

wondercon-2015-picture-convention-floorHowever, because the convention is filled with so many world premieres and amazing new things, they all drown each other out. Sometimes you get to Sunday and can’t remember what you saw and did Thursday afternoon. It’s too much awesome for one convention.

Which brings me to why I’m writing this.

Over the past few days, tens of thousands of people attended WonderCon in Anaheim. It was filled with many of the same geeks and families that attend Comic-Con and it’s run by the same people. However, while Comic-Con has been taken over by Hollywood, corporations and the convention floor is constantly pushing the little guy to the far corner, WonderCon is none of that. The con floor was filled with tons of comic book dealers, artists, independent dealers selling clothing, toys, posters, and t-shirts (just to name a few things), and it had almost no big multinational corporations peddling their wares. It was like Comic-Con over a decade ago.

wondercon-2015-picture-convention-floorAnd while Warner Bros., Universal and Focus brought some of their upcoming movies like San Andreas, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Gallows, Unfriended, and Insidious: Chapter 3, none of it made fans want to camp outside to get in. There wasn’t one studio or network premiere that caused mayhem in the fan community or online. If you looked on Twitter and Facebook this weekend, WonderCon didn’t break through.

And with a convention filled with tens of thousands of people and die-hard fans, it’s a missed opportunity.

I don’t understand why movie studios, TV networks, toy companies, or any of the various companies that spend huge money at Comic-Con to get noticed, wouldn’t want to invest a fraction of their marketing budget to premiere something at WonderCon where it would have been easy to “win”.

The fact is if a studio had world premiered footage from a big summer movie, or something coming out late this year, it would have been the talk of the convention. If a toy company like Mattel or Hasbro had premiered some of their upcoming stuff, or offered a cool exclusive or two, everyone would have been trying to get it. The same goes for video game companies like EA and Nintendo.

wondercon-2015-picture-convention-floorWhile WonderCon felt independent and was great for the fans with manageable lines and crowds you could walk through, it was a wasted opportunity for people and corporations that spend huge money in San Diego to get noticed.  WonderCon was filled with reporters and members of the media looking to report stories and cover breaking news. Instead of me writing about how awesome Jurassic World looks, or how much I laughed at Ted 2 clips, or even some amazing new games on the PS4 and Xbox One, I’m writing an article on what could have been there.

In a few months, an insane amount of money will be spent at San Diego Comic-Con to try and get noticed by the media and geek community. Most will have spent their money in vain because only a few things will stand out. If just one of them had spent their money at WonderCon, they would have been the talk of the convention and covered by everyone.

Maybe next year.

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