Comic-Con Fans are Not Idiots
In a recent Wired post ‘Dear Idiots, Stop Leaking Comic-Con Trailers,’ John Curcchilola admonishes those lucky enough to get into a Comic-Con panel in Hall H to not share the exclusive content they see there.
There are two things that John clearly does not understand. First, this is Comic-Con. Please do not call people names. I encourage him to attend the anti-bullying event held by the Pop Culture Hero Coalition next year.
Second, John does not understand social media. If the studios think that 6,000 people with mobile, connected, recording devices, some of whom want to be cool, or are already cool and want to stay that way, aren’t going to try and be the first to scoop some video, then they also don’t understand social media. If the studios want hashtags love, then they need to recognize that hashtags don’t have hard edges. A room full of fans is not a room full of journalists who wink-wink nod-nod over content embargoes. And besides, as Sony found out all too well, their most sacredly protected corporate e-mail exchanges can’t be protected behind a firewall, so how do they expect to just tell an audience not to record something, and to actually not have someone record it.
Let’s be real. And being real means the studios have to make a strategic choice between some kind of exclusive experience and marketing. Disney and LucasFilm understand this. They didn’t give anything away about the movie, they posted the behind the scenes video and they then created THE experience of Comic-Con 2015 which was truly exclusive, but they also encouraged everyone there to share the experience online. The only reason studios attend Comic-Con is to market their movies, their stars and their franchises, and if they don’t want footage leaked, then don’t bring the footage. Be creative, do something else.
I think the entire don’t record thing should just be abolished. It is a joke, and it is completely unenforceable unless Comic-Con starts deploying actual stormtroopers.
John, I appreciate your passion for the exclusive bits shown by studios. Studios aren’t going to stop coming to Comic-Con because of leaks, they are only going to stop coming to Comic-Con if they don’t find marketing value in being at Comic-Con. All these leaks are marketing gold. You’re right, these aren’t the Pentagon Papers, for fans or the studios. They are just early bits of things the studios actually want promoted and shared.
Next year, I say the studios post anything that they show simultaneously and that will eliminate any issues. The panels are already being tweeted, Facebooked and recorded. Perhaps it’s time to think about the safety and comfort of fans and simulcast the Hall H sessions. Rather than the relative simplicity of trotting out talent and showing trailers people will eventually see anyway, if the Con broadcasts Hall H, the studios will need to get creative with their fan engagement. And if you are a die-hard fan that wants to be in the same room as your favorite star, you are still going to do that (just look at the completely ridiculous crowd control around the studios during a signing on the floor), regardless of what leaks or doesn’t, or if someone can watch your panel online. Exclusive footage being shown to 6,000 people isn’t a real experience, it isn’t exclusive, and we shouldn’t pretend that it is.