Free schwag is a staple of any convention. Whether it’s a video game, comic book, or appliance convention, promotional materials are ever-present. This year, for the convention circuit, Marvel tried something new, and something that couldn’t have really been done before now.At San Diego Comic-Con, and again at Toronto Fan Expo, Marvel had a unique prize for fans that asked quality questions. Rather than the sandwiches and pickles they gave out at Wizard World Chicago, they had a usb keydrive. The drive comes in a nice plastic case, is red and gold, and has the “Stark Industries” logo emblazoned across the top. No, this promotion wasn’t for air compressors; turning the keydrive over reveals “Iron Man On DVD & Blu-ray Disc 9/30.” This is a cool, unique promotion already. Fans like having something that seems to come straight out of the movie, and it’s certainly more useful than the 4,000th poster a fan picks up at a convention only to sit in a box or a pile in their apartment. Plugging the drive into a computer (Windows or Mac) reveals an already-installed bonus. Four of the special features from the DVD are previewed here, showing how the Iron Man armor is brought to life in the movie, how the Heads Up Display in the armor was conceived, some of Shellhead’s Friends and Foes, and the big Mark I’s Walk of Destruction (featuring a stunt man who actually operated the armor). It’s not much, just short clips of each feature, but a nice bonus. In a rare piece of cross promotion, the flash feature even contains a link to Invincible Iron Man #1 by Matt Fraction to read for free on Marvel’s Digital Comics site. Marvel and Paramount, according to a Marvel Spokesperson, co-created the concept and the drives themselves. The drives were also distributed at the Marvel booths. The panel Q&A reward was “just for fun, an impromptu thing.” Marvel considers the promotion a success, saying, “the response and buzz has been very positive for both the memory sticks and the upcoming Iron Man DVD.” The 512mb drive has even shown up on eBay, fetching as much as $25 dollars. Marvel hopes to do similar promotions in the future, as the product warrants it. As technology becomes more and more prevalent in the average person’s life, it looks like people can expect things like this to become the norm. Perhaps next year’s convention circuit will have CD-ROMs with digital comic previews instead of sample issues piled up at booth tables. Or, as has been shown here, keydrives could be used for something similar, and has the added bonus of being a functional, reusable item. Posters and pins won’t be going away anytime soon, but with promotions like this and the many free t-shirts, keychains, and more given out at various Dark Knight promotional events, it looks like the schwag market continues to change and expand. Hey, everyone likes free stuff, right?
Cool Swag: Iron Man Flash Drive
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