They may have been derided as geeks in the past, but now the die-hard fans of sci-fi, comics, fantasy and horror that flock by the thousands to Comic-Con Intl. are important enough to warrant personal attention from Hollywood’s biggest studios.
That’s where Jeff Walker, a marketing specialist, comes in.
Walker serves as a liaison between studios looking to promote next year’s genre pics and the convention.
“Most of the studios realize how important the fan market is and understand that it’s not preaching to the converted,” he says. “Fans are the greatest word-of-mouth army you could ask for. And with the Internet, you can have a very big splash overnight.”
There’s no quicker way of getting fans’ attention than to show them early footage and give them a chance to interact with a director or star of an upcoming movie.
The most memorable example of this was when Sam Raimi cut a scene from “Spider-Man” with a Comic-Con aud a few years back. “You came away from it knowing essentially that he was going to nail it,” Walker says, and that made the fans into loyal and vocal supporters of the project.
It’s low-tech, street-level marketing, but it works, Walker says. “You can’t stress how much impact that one moment can have with people. That’s what makes it worth doing.”