Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stark Expo 2010 - Will You Be There?

It seems that because comic readers apparently spend a lot of time on the internet we are a susceptible bunch when it comes to viral marketing. Sneaky video uploads and images that don't mean much, but could possibly mean oh so much, lure us in like fish on a hook because we all want to be the first person to know. For the upcoming Iron Man 2 release there is plenty to want to know and much to decipher.

Yet, with the Stark Expo, what's there to know?

Marvel created a Stark Expo website, and have just unleashed a set of marketing videos for Stark Expo, a fictitious extravaganza of which we can view the preview for 2010 or we can choose to look into the past and see how they rocked it in 1974. It's an interesting way to lure in the crowds and get them frothing at the mouth for some Iron Man fun.

And that's what this is all usually about; a bit of old fashioned fun. You can't take yourself, or anything around you, too seriously.

On the site, you'll find a stack of photos of the Expo in the gallery. They're an interesting computer creation of different Stark theatres and showcases for the varied scientific research areas his company devotes its time to. You won't find any movie spoilers there but there is some very cool architecture on display.

You can download wallpapers of different sizes for both the 2010 and 1974 Expos. Again, not too spoilery but a great little Easter Egg for your consideration and enjoyment. Who doesn't want their friends to know that they support the upcoming Expo of the former-arms manufacturer who now wears a wicked metal suit that helps him fight the good fight? Or you can even showcase how you were there for the '74 Expo and have the image segue into some awesome stories of how you kicked it with Howard Stark, or possibly even bumped into Nathaniel Richards there.

I'd also be interested to see if the movie version of the Black Widow doesn't age like her comic counterpart. Could she then possibly be seen lurking in the background of the Stark Expo in '74? A little Easter Egg like this is exactly the sort of thing Marvel would put into the flick. Maybe even Nick Fury eating some fairy floss as he walks by.

You can access and manipulate a map to see the sponsors and areas of the Expo. This can be handy for when your lie-filled tales of awesome need those specific details like what was next to the Stark/Fujikawa's the Audi room.

The final two areas of interest are the videos promoting the two Expos. These are also uploaded to YouTube by Marvel but can be viewed on the website in QuickTime format.

The Stark Expo 2010 video doesn't really give away too much but it's the 1974 version that interests me.

The entire video authentically feels like it was created in 1974, it's got that same feel the Dharma Initiative Training Films have in LOST. They're grainy and very ordinary compared to today's standards.

We get to see John Slattery as Howard Stark, even if he is just sitting there and saying a handful of lines it's appreciated that they include him in there. It's a commitment to the audience that these at least mean something.

It makes me wonder, why include this video unless Howard Stark really is going to play a fair part in the upcoming movie? I mean, obviously he's going to play some part seeing as how they cast an actor in his role; it should be noted that this will be to play him in flashbacks as his character is currently dead, but what exactly will those flashbacks mean, how will they be important? Will the Stark Expo of 1974 play some grander part within the entire story? Will we see a young Mickey Rourke there? Will young Tony be scoring all of the Expo girls already?


Marvel already sink a stack of money into these movies and this being the sequel of a very successful film doesn't seem like it is much of a chance to tank unless it's made really poorly. What this means to me is that they need not go to such extravagent lengths to virally promote this film and yet they have and they are purely doing this for the fans. Sure, they're doing it to raise revenue, money is the bottom dollar of every decision, but they make this site and these viral films purely so some fanlads and fangals can enjoy themselves while they wait it out until the release date.

What do you think of these videos? Do you appreciate viral marketing at all when it comes to comics? Let us know in the comments section.

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Lucho said...

That´s a very creative site. Well done, Marvel.

Still, the best viral marketing was The Dark Knight´s. Amazing. Best ever.

Monch said...

Wow! what a cool site! the Accutech subsite really helps sell the whole idea (love the 3d rotating map)

Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

SerialProtagonist said...


The viral marketing going on with Tron: Legacy is pretty great. I actually have an Encom employee badge with a pic I uploaded. They sent that to me for free!

Ivan said...

I really don't care for viral marketing.

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