This was the second year I was asked to assist MKTG with staffing and to help produce their CBS Interactive marketing event at Comic-Con. Last year's event was pretty much a bust. The TV.com Awards at Petco Park did not seem to make it on the radar of Comic-Con attendee's list of "things to do". In my opinion, the event owners put too much time, money and attention on their own needs and wants and not on those of the event attendees.
This year, however, they nailed it with the CNET Base Station! Thousands of attendees walked through their event doors and most left with a smile of satisfaction. CBS Interactive and MKTG figured out what the Comic-Con fans wanted and needed and then they gave it to them...for FREE! It appears they made a few new fans of their product along the way too. Here's the how and why:
- Convenience. The new location for the CBS Interactive event was at Lou and Mickey's restaurant at the corner of 5th Ave right across the tracks from the Convention Center. BINGO! To get into the Gaslamp District/downtown San Diego from the convention center almost all attendees had to pass by CNET Basestation's front door.
- Free Food and Drink. Every 15 minutes trays of sliders, chicken skewers, coconut shrimp and a variety of sodas were passed through out the venue. After 4 o'clock - adult beverages were part of the treat. I have to admit, if you were not in the right place at the right time, you'd miss out on the hot grub, but there was almost always full plates of cheese and crackers, fruit and cupcakes stationed around the event space.
- Re-charging Stations. Comic-Con conventioneers are constantly on their phones, snapping photos, taking video, emailing, texting, blogging, etc. Inside the CNET Base Station there were dozens of "re-charging stations" with adapters for almost every type of cell phone on the market.
- A Place to Sit. Walking all day on city streets and convention center concrete floors can take a toll on one's feet and legs. The CNET Base Station lounge provided comfy seating with complementary wifi, laptop and tablet use.
- Cool Technology. The new Chrome laptops were situated throughout and guests were encouraged and actually rewarded for taking them for a test drive. If you showed a crew member that you "liked" CNET or GameSpot on Facebook, or posted on your wall, sent a tweet, or any kind of blog mentioning the CNET BaseStation or GameSpot, they gave away t-shirts and sunglasses for sharing the love. It was a win-win for both parties.
- Gaming fun. Where else would you want to test out some of the newest games on XBox and Playstation? I think Comic-Con is a great place to start and so did our client. We had 7 large flat screens with some of the hottest, not yet released games for guests to play.
- Cool Prizes - Not only did they have t-shirts and funky sunglasses to give away, a couple of times a day they had "Prize-Pow-Looza" where raffle winners were awarded tablets, cameras, gaming systems and Best Buy gift cards.
In just two days there were well over 3,000 Comic-Con fans that walked through the doors of the CNET Base Station. This is a huge increase compared to the TV.com Awards of 2010. Because MKTG and CBS Interactive gave the Comic-Con fans what they wanted and needed, many of them became new fans of CNET and GameSpot too. I'd say our client hit their mark. I look forward to seeing how they will comeback in 2012! I am sure there are a lot of Comic-Con attendees who share my anticipation.