With attendance hovering around 130,000 in recent years, Comic-Con International has long outgrown its San Diego Convention Center space. But the convention center’s walls and the exhibits inside (the exhibit space alone is around 460,000 square feet) are just part of the massive draw for fans of comics and relevant popular arts. Just as attention-grabbing are the stunts, promotions, events, and parties held at bars, clubs, parks, hotels, parking lots, city streets, and even a yacht.
During the 2015 run, which took place July 9 to 11, brands like Adult Swim, Playboy, and Entertainment Weekly took over the Southern California city, bringing large-scale activations, costumed mobs, and custom rides to the thousands gathered. The convention also attracted an array of other, and perhaps surprising, companies—like Kentucky Fried Chicken and Lexus. Many turned to downright wacky stunts in an attempt to communicate their brand messages over the fray.