Audience interaction is always a big part of conventions. Vendors hold contests, exhibitors give away swag, and big sponsors have interactive demos to draw in crowds. The fans get to experience their favorite content in a new way and discover new things. The booth holders gain publicity, sales, and new followers. New York Comic Con this year saw a few more extreme and elaborate attempts to draw in a crowd.
Nickelodeon did something I've genuinely never seen at a convention before: they rented out a hallway on the show floor. The main pathway between The Block and the main hall was turned into a black light sewer system to promote the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series.
The level of detail in the design was admirable. The walls were covered with graffiti about the turtles and villains lurking in the city. Pipes, ladders to manholes, and toxic waste littered the hallway. Theatrical lighting was brought in on Saturday to really bring out the details on the walls.
Smaller booths were taking a more exaggerated approach to con marketing this year, as well. Take the graphic novel Whore as an example. They paid for a double booth on the main show floor and knew they had to make a big impression to compete with the big companies and larger properties.
So, they set up a pair of jail cells and gave people free copies of the book if they stayed inside for 20 minutes. The catch? The cells were labeled "whore." The pitch to do it even said you were whoring yourself out for a free book. At least one of those cages was full the entire convention and there was always a crowd watching. I'd call that a successful marketing stunt.
Nothing on the main show floor even came close to competing with the most dangerous con stunt I've ever seen. There's a new Tomb Raider game coming out and Square Enix wanted everyone to remember. They set up a long event tent in the hallway to Artist's Alley and covered it in signs.
Apparenty, Lara Croft is now an accomplished archer. Fans at NYCC had the opportunity to shoot a live bow and arrow for the chance to win a special edition copy of the game. The booth was so dangerous that every participant had to be 18 or older and sign a hold harmless form before they could line up.
Once inside, participants were given an arm guard and brief instructions on how to shoot. They were then handed the bow and arrow and told to shoot at the target. A bullseye, and a bullseye alone, would result in victory. It was a dangerous, arguably foolish, publicity stunt that succeeded in garnering publicity.
What's the craziest promo you ever saw at a convention? Sound off below.