Press. Buzz. What brand doesn’t want it? And what better way to get it at Comic-Con than to offer a sneak peek at an upcoming movie, followed by a completely free party complete with games, live music, snacks, delicious food trucks, and a bar.

While financial statistics behind the cost of hosting the Comic-Con Final Destination 5 party at Petco Park on Thursday might put the financially conservative into cardiac arrest, the buzz created by the event should prove to be a smart move for the studio. After all, while the cost per impression may have been expensive, the impressions themselves will surely sprout viral growth and interest.

So what happened, exactly? Meandering by the Alienware booth at Petco park, I noticed a table where two ladies were handing out postcards. Curious as to why the quiet table was seemingly so popular, I stepped up only to discover that they were handing out tickets to see a sneak preview for the upcoming Final Destination movie. Honestly, this alone didn’t interest me. Final Destination movies are something I’ve always been content with watching casually on Comedy Central or some other cable station.

However, that all changed when the ladies at the table casually mentioned that after viewing the preview, we would gain access to a free party with food, entertainment, and booze. At a convention where all the local bars are expensive and food places either have a long line or a high ticket price, the thought of free food and wine was too much to pass up.

Thus, prepared to wince and shudder away from the screen, I shuffled into a trailer that was turned into a makeshift 3D theater and watched blood spatter and impaling metal rods shoot out of the screen in full 3D fashion. Surprisingly, the 3D made the violence so over the top, that I was able to watch it. The affect was akin to cringing at raw news footage of violence, but giggling happily to sprinkler blood spatters in a Tarantino film.

Thus, the preview alone was surprisingly enjoyable enough that I may actually watch the film in the theatres instead of waiting for it to hit my non-3D television. Even if I do not, is not the fact that I have taken time to write about this proof enough in their marketing effort’s effectiveness?

Of course, the icing on the cake was the party afterwards. Albeit cheap and boxed, the bars freely offered beer and wine to the masses without limit. Twinkies and pretzels graced the bar bowls, which were admittedly a momentary let down. Was this the free food they were advertising? No, this was just a bonus. To the back of the closed off venue, the party featured 3 food trucks working overtime to serve free food to the attendees. A bacon wrapped hot dog with sauerkraut and all the fixings? Yes, please!

To truly make it a party, a DJ kept the music pumping while nerds in drunken stupors played darts, rode around on motorized party coolers, and otherwise basked in the other games available to enjoy. Sadly, the event only lasted for a mere 3 hours, and once you left, there was no getting back in.

Reluctantly, I finally left the event nearly an hour after it was officially over, still in awe at the money that was spent to show the lucky nerds who stopped in a good time. Respect must be shown to a company that knows the value of giving their potential customer exactly what they want and need in a way that will spread brand awareness and buzz like a wild fire.

Case in point: I had zero interest in seeing the movie in theatres till I saw the trailer. I had zero interest in seeing the trailer till the promise of free wine and food was dangled like an ever elusive carrot. Now I can’t wait to see Final Destination 5 in theatres and am devoting a small morsel of the internet to talking about their efforts. If that’s not an advertising campaign success, what is?

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