2014 Swag and What it Means for 2015

For the last few years San Diego Comic-Con has ended with many feeling that the freebies that once flowed freely are no longer as readily available. It’s inarguable that companies on the SDCC floor are giving out less t-shirts, bags and posters than in 2010, but does that mean that there’s less freebies in general? More importantly, where does this leave the future of swag hunting at SDCC?

In this video, we share the loot found on the convention center floor and discuss the changing landscape and hint at how much the freebies of SDCC have changed, but not necessarily in a bad way.

How did your swag hunting go at Comic-Con this year? What do you hope to see as giveaways next year? Let us know in the comments below.

About Shawn Marshall

Shawn Marshall

Fan of all aspects of the con experience, but particularly the exhibit hall floor! Traveling to 50 or more shows a year. Follow along and play from home.

  • DominaC

    I felt there was a lot less but the convention is drastically different then just 5 years ago. The giant booths are gone. The interactive displays are gone. The only standout both in the last few years was Weta this year with Smaug.

  • amykbstuff

    I’m just gonna say it: swag SUCKED this year. I trolled around the FOX booth several times a day, and only managed to get a single poster, despite having swung by and gotten tubes twice, plus a bag, buttons, etc. I only got lucky at Lionsgate twice and WB once, but the stuff wasn’t even great. Last year the Ender’s Game personalized shirts were cool, and much more memorably than another Hunger Games poster. I went to the Falling Skies cocoon thing during Preview Night and didn’t get the patch – that would have made the experience better, especially when you think about years past where you could get the light-up spikes and stuff at the booth. Starz, I think, was probably the best booth on the floor for swag, as you could quickly go through over and over and get Outlander bags, shirts, bandanas, shotglasses, etc.

    I agree that you don’t go to panels FOR swag, but it’s been a great bonus MANY times in years past. I got ZERO tickets for the fulfillment room, and my husband got ONE (for The Giver). Back in 2011, I’d get 3 or 4 a day, and it’s not like I’ve stopped going to Ballroom 20, 6BCF, Indigo, etc. The Sesame Street panel on Sunday gave posters as you entered, and we did go to the WB-DCTV thing Sat night, but otherwise no panel-specific stuff. Falling Skies is a great example of going downhill… first year the
    panel gave zip-up hoodies… then a poster tube, then a bracelet, and
    this year nothing.

    as a side-note, I really appreciated your RTs for swag swapping. I was able to give away stuff I didn’t care about for stuff I was after, and only ended up missing out on a single thing I really wanted (the Jurassic World mini-poster).

  • Michael Brum

    Thanks for the roundup. This was my first year and I was definitely overwhelmed with everything going on.

    With the context that I have after going through the con, this is really useful to help figure out what my priorities will be next year.

  • Brian E

    You grabbed 2 DC bags! My entire section was skipped for the bags! I’m guessing because of people double fisting…Not cool

  • Jon Reeves

    Despite Shawn’s comments, I got a lot of my best swag at panels. Besides Sesame Street, the Blacklist panel gave out hats, the Sons of Anarchy panel gave out neckerchiefs, the Strain panel gummy worms, NatGeo gave out brain teaser books, the Production Designers gave out their glossy magazine, and the Costume Designers gave out a whole bag, including a 3-color highlighter, a couple of snacks, some Post-Its, and other trinkets.

    Lots of stuff at off-sites, too, though I cut my losses a couple of times: Didn’t wait in the hour line for an Adult Swim T-shirt, or the long line for the MTV T-shirt at their concert. Of course, I got my inflatable Simpsons donut, and flew the 24 drone (complete with emailed video). Also, the Amazon swag was highly variable; I got a comic book, but people were getting ball caps and toys, among other things.

    I no longer look at swag as a goal, but something nice if I stumble across it, which is part of why I didn’t wait in super long lines for trinkets, but did for experiences. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten swag I could sell for $200 later. Also, I need to stop being a luddite; there were a couple of times I could have gotten something if I had a camera phone…

  • Bobobo

    Free swags will always be here, but the better swags are probably giving out more at the panels than the exhibit hall. On the other hand, as we have seen at the exhibit hall, companies are more focus in selling their merchandises instead of giving out these freebies.

    I think this year, there are more companies selling their exclusive merchandises than ever before, like exclusive licensed key chains, T-shirts and magnets…etc. A few years ago, some of these items were given out as swags, now they sell as exclusive collectibles 🙂 The companies are probably thinking…why giving them out as swags as there are fans will buy them 🙂

  • GooniesAndy

    They are two people.

  • keeleon

    Didn’t watch the whole video yet, but I assume this was the DC TV bag? They stopped passing them out 1 row in front of us, and my wife went outside to ask if they were going to again and he handed her one, and the my friend and I also went and got one. Our fourth friend was denied, and ended up not getting one, even though she was right behind us. We left 10 min early to avoid traffic and the awkward Q&A. Did they hand them out on leaving at all? It seems they had no idea what was supposed to be happening there as some people said they had one sitting on their chair when they walked in.

  • marybluefairy

    They were just sitting on the chairs where I was, all the way in the back.

  • marybluefairy

    I’m kinda glad they have moved away from posters…poster tubes are unwieldy and I only have so much wall space. I have entire tubes filled with the 27×40 posters they used to give out all the time. I’d rather have a pin or keychain than a poster, but tshirts or other useful things and prop items are much appreciated. I enjoy the experiences, but I wish you didn’t have to wait 3 hours to do them. Maybe organizers could consider having those be later in the day or longer hours. I would love to have done the zipline at night. I think maybe it would be nice to have separate lines for attendees (with badges) and non-attendees. Those of us with badges would like to have time to use them, lol!

  • marybluefairy

    An exception to the poster thing is signed ones…but I’ve noticed those are usually the smaller sized ones, and typically on heavier paper. It would be nice if they gave you a little plastic sleeve or something after the signing, to keep them from getting smudgy or wrinkled on your way out.

  • Aaron

    The best swag is definitely coming from offsite. Although I didn’t get one, I saw tons of those Sharknado 2 foam chainsaws around. The Simpsons was giving away bunch of stuff if you did the Homer Dome and the inflatable donut from the water game (easily my favorite swag this year). So yes, there was less offered inside this year and you had to work harder to get the “good” stuff.

  • Megan M

    Oh man, I wish i would have known about swag swap last year. We chased that stupid Jurassic Park SUV every where. I ended up with 3 of the minis and finally got a large poster. I would have totally traded one