For the first time, the horde of 100,000+ attendees at San Diego Comic-Con can count a local university among its ranks.
Its presence will be seen on MTS trolleys, outdoor boards — even street teams wearing sandwich-boards and aluminum-foil-hats.
The message: Just up the road from this iconic convention, a whole school of likeminded “believers” are busy turning fantasy and science fiction into something very real.
Enter “Science Nonfiction” — a nontraditional campaign for UC San Diego that embraces the most visible annual event in its hometown.
“People who come to Comic-Con have a beautiful capacity to believe in the unbelievable,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. “Our academic community shares that mix of curiosity and audacity — it’s what enables technology, medicine, music and design to take unimaginable leaps forward.”
Using eye-catching street graphics and headlines like, “FIREFIGHTERS COME FROM SPACE,” “RELIGION SOLVES GLOBAL WARMING,” and “TATTOOS CAN READ MINDS,” the campaign points Comic-Con attendees to stories of real breakthroughs born at UC San Diego.
Posters and t-shirts being handed out at the convention proudly proclaim “I BELIEVE,” while showing the university’s iconic, spaceship-like Geisel Library hovering in the sky.
Additionally, at iconic San Diego craft-beer bars, Science Nonfiction coasters, stickers and posters will greet thirsty attendees from both in- and out-of-town.
Developed in partnership with San Diego-based ad agency Vitro, the UC San Diego Science Nonfiction campaign lives online at ucsd.edu/believe. The school’s Instagram account (#sciencenonfiction) is hosting an interactive scavenger hunt during Comic-Con that could nab followers some one-of-a-kind swag, including posters, aluminum-foil hats, even GoPros and more.
“UC San Diego is already known for taking the ‘fiction’ out of science fiction,” said John Vitro, Chief Creative Officer of Vitro. “We knew Comic-Con was the perfect stage to celebrate that.”