Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States. A regular contributor to Forbes Magazine, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Wired Insights, and the NY Observer, Torossian is also the author of the best-selling PR Book, For Immediate Release.
One of the biggest questions in “geek
culture” in the digital age is what will happen to Comic Cons. At this point,
they are still primary opportunities to gather with like-minded fans, meet
idols and show off favorite cosplay outfits. But that may change as the world
becomes increasingly digital and VR creeps into the conversation of gamers and
even TV fans.
San Diego Comic Con
To help answer this question, it’s
a good idea to visit the true bell cow of all comic conventions: San Diego
Comic Con. And here’s where we find yet another challenge organizers face. For
years now, one of the biggest draws of this Con, for both fans and the media,
were the peeks at upcoming movies. Fans who got tickets and secured one of the
coveted spots in various breakout rooms were given an exclusive first look at
the films millions were waiting to see.
But that attraction may soon be a
thing of the past. Major movie studios like Disney and Marvel, which play well
at Comic Con, have built other marketing programs that either preempt or ignore
the Con model. Thanks to social media, digital streaming and the ever-present
allure of smartphones, movie promoters don’t have to wait for 130,000 people to
gather at the San Diego Con to help get the word out. The stars of the shows
often have thousands – if not millions – of followers on Facebook and Twitter
who will do that for them.
R-Rated Superhero Movies
Take, for example, Deadpool. The
movie was a massive hit … but shortly before its release, most in the movie biz
were convinced there was no hope for an R-rated superhero flick. But star Ryan
Reynolds used social media to petition endlessly for a chance to reprise the
Merc with a Mouth … and the studio finally caved to insistent fans. Deadpool
was made. And that’s when the social media campaign really ramped up. Using
Reynolds to full effect, the studios involved had fans clamoring to see the
mayhem long before it hit theaters. The movie subsequently became a huge hit,
and studio execs began taking social media a little bit more seriously.
There’s also the time factor. In
the past, when a film preview was released at a Con, other fans still had to
wait weeks or months to see it in theaters. Now, it hits the web in minutes
after the “sneak preview.” There’s no incentive for being first because you’re
only first by a minute or so.
Long Live Comic Con
And, since digital media,
especially for this demographic, is not going away. Promoters of Comic Con, and
indeed of comics in print as well, need to find a way to coexist in an
immediate, digital world. Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.