Over on Twitter, @mrichert asked which way is the best way to get some swag? By walking the floor? Panels? The answer is easy, it’s all of the above and then some!
In general, getting your hands on free stuff is pretty easy to do at Comic Con. It’s just a matter of getting quality free stuff. In my opinion you get some of the best items by attending panels in Ballroom 20. I can’t speak for the other rooms. The only other room that I’ve attended a panel in was the Indigo Ballroom and I left there empty handed. As far as Ballroom 20 goes, you could walk away with shirts, pins, books or even bags of stuff. When I attended in 2010 we received tickets at the end of the panel and then we could pick up our goodies in the Fulfillment Room later on. I’m not sure if it’s changed or not but if they still do this and you don’t receive a ticket when they hand them out, speak up! People will keep multiple swag tickets, it happens. If your row ends up short just get the attention of a volunteer and they’ll help you out. The USA Network normally has shirts that they give away which are pretty awesome quality for a freebie. In 2010 “True Blood” actually gave out a bag of goodies. “Bones” gave everyone a copy of the new Kathy Reichs book (which I already had). As you can see, you never know what you might walk away with.
Of course another area to find free stuff is the exhibit floor. You’ll find everything from posters to shirts to poster tubes to magazines. Normally TV Guide offers free copies of their San Diego Comic Con edition magazine. I think it’s found over at the WB booth. The reality is you’ll probably walk away with numerous copies of magazines. They’re handed out all over the place during Comic Con. If you’re looking for something different, be sure to check out the various booths for swag schedules. If I remember correctly, CBS had one posted last year and they offered some nice swag. I remember they had “Big Bang Theory” mini-sharpies. See, it’s swag that might even come in handy when you pass that random celebrity on the street. Fox is notorious for giving away poster tubes that you can then use to keep your other swag safe. Marvel always has nice freebies as well. They’ve offered shirts, specialty posters and other one of a kind items.
What if you didn’t land passes? What if you only scored one day of being inside the Con? You’re still in luck! In the past few years the amount of outdoor swag has increased greatly. Last year I was able to land some pretty nice stuff just by coming and going. USA Network gave out “Psych” and “Covert Affairs” sunglasses while “Falling Skies” was handing out different pins. NBC had a nice little set up that changed each day to feature a different show. Plus you had people just handing you stuff left and right. Not to mention some of the offsite events had their own swag as well. Conan O’Brien had an art exhibit last year that featured everything from photo ops to super hero capes!
Did you miss out on something? If you’re on the hunt for a special item, hit Twitter. People are more than happy to swap swag. Last year I managed to get a “Psych” shirt thanks to a follower on Twitter. She ended up with one after attending a panel but didn’t want it. Just remember, if someone doesn’t want to trade, accept it. There’s no need to get into over free stuff! Twitter is a great way to find out about what goodies are going to be given away as well. Some of the networks will tweet their schedule or announce contests via Facebook/Twitter.
I hope this post helps you land the swag that you long for! Just remember to keep your eyes and ears open.