Thursday, March 20, 2014

Face-Off: The Consumer Division, Plus Indiana Comic Con Update

Doug: Today's Face-Off is sort of a do-it-yourselfer in that you'll be the ones to provide the conversation pieces. We're looking for those products that have a major (MAJOR) competitor, and you're voicing of a true love for one over the other -- and never shall you use the other! Some examples follow:


Doug: Those of you who have been around over the past week will recall my consternation with the way large crowd numbers were handled last Saturday at the inaugural Indiana Comic Con. When I got home from Indianapolis, I penned a letter of concern -- not really complaint, as my partner insists I can sometimes be too diplomatic -- to the contact address found at the bottom of the Indy Con website. I received a reply yesterday morning, and I feel it's my duty as a complainer (er, concerner?) to share it with you. Here goes, me first:

I want to thank you for the wonderful guest list that your organizers/promoters put together for the Indy Con. I was very much looking forward to meeting several Bronze Age creators - it was refreshing to see a guest list with some of the "old guys" as opposed to current creators.

That being said, I arrived at 12:30 to the Convention Center after a drive from the Chicago south suburbs. The line was easily over 1000 people long, and ticket sales had already been cut off. That was incredibly frustrating, as it is hard to believe that demand was that grossly underestimated. After waiting for a short time and listening to the ushers make a few announcements, I turned around and went back home.

Hopefully if the Con is held again next year, it will be larger and better able to accommodate the fans. I would very much like to attend, as I know that Indy would have had a much nicer feel than WizardWorld Chicago. Your prices were incredibly fair, and parking is always so much more affordable in Indy than in the Chicago area. This had so much potential, but I fear that a lot of revenue was left in the concourse on Saturday afternoon.

Best wishes,
Doug Wadley

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the email and the feedback. Lots of attendees are angry that they weren't able to get in and sent very angry emails, not being able to see or reason past their personal frustration. So I greatly appreciate your calm and reasoned email. Thanks for that.

I’m very sorry that you were disappointed. Believe me, we were also disappointed in having to turn attendees away at the door. That brings us nothing but heartbreak.

The room could accommodate roughly 6,000-7,000 attendees. It simply wasn’t designed to accommodate Saturday’s roughly 15,000 attendee turnout. Unfortunately, there is no way to know how many people will show up the day-of to purchase tickets at the door. Lots of people cite Gen Con without reflecting that Gen Con has been around since the late 60s and has over four decades of attendance figures to plan with. This was the first Indiana Comic Con with no past attendance record to work with.

If you attended on Friday or Sunday, you would have seen a very organized and streamlined ticketing system because the attendance on those days was within the hall’s capacity and therefore within our ability to serve. We actually tried to obtain more space, but there were
other events going on as well—the convention center was unable to sell us additional space for 2014. We had to be creative and do the best we could with the space available to us.

Our space for 2015 is currently over 3x the size of this year’s space—and we are trying to get even more space than that. I hope you’ll return next year and watch the convention grow!



Doug: Sounds good to me. Schedule permitting, I will definitely try to go to this con again next year. However, I'm doing a little head-scratching at one major issue -- the tickets were super-affordable at $20 apiece. Do you think that when they double the size of the show (obviously increasing their rental fees for the space) that tickets will remain the same price? Or do you think that the revenue they lost on Saturday, once realized, will make up for it? Interesting marketing call. We shall see.


J.A. Morris said...

A well-written letter, I hope they fix that for future Indy Cons. Sorry you drove 2 hours for nothing.

William said...

As a longtime graphic designer I am extremely loyal to Apple, and I have stuck by the company through all their ups and downs. I also got my dad into Apple products, he owns 2 Macs, 2 iPhones 2 iPads.

As an Apple fan, I of course was extremely dismayed (for many reasons) when Steve Jobs passed away at such a young age. Aside from that fact that it was such a terrible tragedy for his family and friends, it was also a tragedy for the technology community.

Without Mr. Jobs, I fear that the innovation that Apple has become known for will suffer. One man can make a huge difference. Hopefully it won't be a repeat of the 90's when he had left the company and it almost went bankrupt.

FYI, my wife has a PC, and I can't stand that thing. The OS is so clunky and frustrating compared to my Mac.

Also Doug, very nice letter. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

mr. oyola said...

Doug, remind me to consult you next time I have to write a letter of complaint. . er. . I mean concern (though, I think my wife may be able to out diplomacy you in written form. . . she is a scary master of polite, but firm, inquiry).

As for brands: Well, I am have a few brands I prefer (like Adidas), but I would not call myself a loyalist to any brand - most companies have some pretty horrid practices in one way or another, so while there are some brands I avoid b/c of that (like Nike), I realize I may be a hypocrite b/c I just have not yet found out about whatever ones I do patronize, but I try to move on to something else when I do. . .though ultimately, my budget often has to come before my conscience, as much as that hurts.

Karen said...

William -I echo your comments regarding the loss of Steve Jobs. I read just recently that Apple had already slashed their R&D budget, and based on their recent products, it does seem like innovation has suffered. Although I am a PC user, I have been an iPhone user for years and love it, but my husband just switched to Android last year, and we got Galaxy notepads, and I can see Apple is starting to lag.

My biggest company loyalty is probably to Coke. They are my pusher. I admit my addiction freely. I can't stand Pepsi and if I go to a restaurant that only has Pepsi I will drink water, thank you. The strange thing is though, I find as I have gotten older I actually prefer iced tea over soda...just like my mom did...

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, let me add my compliments to that letter. Often when I get, erm, miffed about something, my first temptation is to shoot off one of those angry, a curse-upon-you-and-your-grandchilren's-grandchildren type missives, but I usually calm down and try to be reasonable. You seemed to have mastered the form.

As for the actual face-off question, like Osvaldo, I really can't say I'm loyal to any specific brand. For most things, quality and price are always key factors. I'm not even a stickler in Karen's cola category: I tend to prefer Coke, but I don't mind Pepsi at all, and I also really like (or used to, haven't had any in about 20 years) RC.

Doug said...

My boss at the Holocaust Museum is pretty savvy on social media and electronic communication. He taught us that any time we're getting ready to send an email, regardless of tone or purpose, it's a good idea to type it, let it set for 20 minutes, and then go back and read it again to make sure it says what you really want it to say.

So I often write a scathing missive of hellfire, and then return a half hour later to soften the blow so to speak. It really does get you further with people.

But speaking of products/brands, I am flexible with Coke and Pepsi, although I prefer Coke (my wife prefers Pepsi; I almost always drink Dr. Pepper anyway). I wish I went to Burger King more than I do, but for some reason I usually end up at McDonalds. One product that I don't budge on, though, is my shampoo. Gotta have Prell. Yep -- from back in the 70s, Prell.



J.A. Morris said...

I'm not big on brand loyalty, but I prefer Windows over Mac.

When I ate meat 20 years ago, I preferred Whopper's to Big Macs.

As for soda, it's a tossup. But I generally just get what's cheapest, Kroger brand sodas are what I drink at home.

Garett said...

That's a great idea to wait before sending an angry email Doug. Nice to see you got a good response back.

I tend to go for A&W burgers, but I don't have a brand loyalty. It helps that they have excellent Root Beer there as I'm no longer a cola drinker--got off caffeine 3 years ago.

Humanbelly said...

Cheap (just this side of disposable) power tools:

Ryobi over Craftsman or Black&Decker Every. Single. Time.
It's an odd but very useful niche, and Ryobi is right at the top of that particular bottom-of-the-barrel. (Often ascending clear into the rarified heights of adequacy!)


Humanbelly said...

It's amazing how many of our conversations come back to food, isn't it? Golly. . .

Before giving up fast food completely several years ago (around the time of SUPERSIZE ME) I probably spent enough cumulatively at McDonalds across the nation to put one of Ray Kroc's grandchildren through college. Loved all the fast-food places. . . but was DEVOTED to McD's! Even spent a couple of college summers working at one as a second job-- and I never, ever got tired of the food. Ooooh, I can still bring to mind the taste of my own custom-assembled Big Mac. . .


William said...

You know what? I'm surprised no one has mentioned a loyalty to either Marvel or DC.

That would definitely fit in with this topic. (And especially this website).

I'd have to go with Marvel myself. When I was a kid (and into early adulthood) my reading habits were about 80-90% Marvel Comics over DC. However, the DC Animation boom of the 90's got me a little more into DC's characters for a while.

These days I don't really care for what either company is doing. But if I had to pick one, I'd still go with Marvel. The only new comic I read is Daredevil and I do enjoy most of Marvel's movies. So that's something I guess.

DC really has nothing left that interests me. Their comics are terrible, and so are their movies. I didn't like the Nolan Batman stuff, or Green Lantern, or Man of Steel. Until recently I bought most of their animated movies, but now those too have been corrupted by the "New 52" garbage, so I didn't even watch the last one. The only thing DC has left that I care at all about these days are the Batman Arkham games. But I'm sure it won't be long before they screw those up as well.

Anonymous said...

Karen and I have similar tastes in colas - Coke beats Pepsi by a mile.
Apple products are gorgeous, but overpriced. Android/PC gives more affordable options, so this gets the nod by a hair. RIP Steve Jobs.
Adidas or Nike? Yawn. I couldn't care less.
Marvel mostly trumps DC, although some of DC's properties like Batman are the exception.
Burger King gets my vote over the Big Mac any day. I like the King's burgers better; that's just my personal taste. (Why do they call it the Big Mac when it's so small?)

Now on to the important stuff - Doug, I'm glad you got a sort of apology from the organizers but they really should have catered better for the massive crowds. If he says it'll be bigger next year, somehow I think costs of tickets and/or parking might go up too. I hope I'm wrong, but we'll see. Your boss at the Holocaust Museum sound like a wise person; we all would be better off when we go over our written stuff before we post it - many times people write things in the heat of the moment and then live to regret it when it's put out there.

- 'Methodical' Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

Comicsfan said...

Doug, I was wondering why you didn't consider or otherwise rejected the option to purchase tickets to the Con in advance? Or, this being their first year, did Indiana not offer that option? When dealing with any function with lines and/or crowds, it's usually best to bypass all of that whenever possible. I suppose trying to buy a ticket to an event the day-of is a little like going to the airport and expecting to get a seat on a flight that's already been booked to capacity.

Of course, if the Indiana Con was turning away even those people with tickets in hand, that might be the time for the scathing e-mail. :)

Redartz said...

Doug- excellent advice for posting or sending anything. There have been many comments locally about the con and it's difficulties; good to hear that they plan some adjustments.

Brand-wise, I'm not too particular; like HB I often seek the economy line. I would pick Marvel over DC, though. I have an I-phone, but use a pc. Prefer Coke to Pepai, but will take tea over either one (love that southern style sweet tea, Karen)...

Doug said...

Comicsfan -

Ticketmaster's fees were going to add an $11 surcharge to each ticket, thus raising our costs by over 50%; as I'd never had a problem buying tix day-of at the much larger Chicago con, I didn't foresee any problems. I did not know going in that it was Indianapolis's first try at a large con.

I am a veteran of many cons and smaller shows around the Chicago area.


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