For the weekend of October 9-11, Comic Con came to New York for the 10th time, and the millennials followed in droves. Since its founding, New York Comic Con (NYCC) has grown exponentially: more than 33,000 people attended when it began in 2006 compared to over 151,000 attendees in 2014. And the majority of those attendees are millennials—one of the most sought-after (yet notoriously cynical) market segments.
So what can you learn about marketing to millennials from Comic Con’s success?
- Maximize technology. It’s not enough to have an app anymore; millennials already expect an app for everything. To promote next year’s highly anticipated movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, complimentary WiFi was made possible by LexCorp Industries, the company run by Superman villain Lex Luthor. Branded tie-ins like this keep the upcoming movie top of mind for convention-goers.
- Appeal to their interests. Chevrolet has been a sponsor of NYCC since 2011 and has found a way to integrate their brand into attendees’ love of comics and pop culture. In 2012, Chevy displayed Bumblebee in both his 8-foot-tall Transformers form and in his bright yellow Camaro SS disguise. Artwork from popular comics like Saga and Buffy the Vampire Slayer wrapped four 2013 Chevy Sparks and lined the lobby of the Javits Center for fans’ selfie opportunities.
- Be mindful of their budgets. NYCC attendees receive an email a few days before the event with some tips and pointers. One advised bringing your own food and water. Though this may sound like the opposite of good marketing, it engendered trust among millennials … all while ensuring precious spending money was free to buy more of the coveted merchandise.
- Leverage their love of devices. While there were many charging stations throughout NYCC, AT&T won the day with its Fortress of Rechargitude. The company set up charging stations and a comfy seating area that faced large flat-screen TVs.
- Millennials may be young, but they’re still nostalgic. According to Cassandra Mcintosh, senior insights analyst at Exponential, “Millennials are coming of age in an age of economic turmoil—a difficult job market, therefore, they end up romanticizing simpler times much more—even those times they weren’t around for.” Agency Deep Focus calls this “early-onset nostalgia.” NYCC celebrated the upcoming “Back to the Future Day,” aka October 21, 2015, the date Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future II. In honor of this, Pepsi created Pepsi Perfect, the drink Marty finds when he travels through time. To promote the special bottles at Comic Con, the soda maker brought the movie to life, complete with actors dressed as Marty McFly and Doc posing in front of the iconic DeLorean time machine.
Do you think your brand has what it takes to turn the cynical heads of the millennial generation? Follow these steps, and you won’t have to dress up like Deadpool or a Game of Thrones character to earn their brand loyalty (unless, of course, you want to).