As retailers, we are sometimes at a loss to find a creative way to promote an upcoming product release or an event. Luckily, Wizards of the Coast is releasing two high-profile products just weeks apart during the month of September. Magic: The Gathering‘s newest set, Ixalan, debuts during the Prerelease weekend of September 23–24, and the Dungeons & Dragons Tomb of Annihilation campaign will have an early release (in MTG Core and above stores) on September 8. It’s probably no coincidence that both of these releases have a strong tropical theme (see the header graphic for this article) and both include dinosaurs (for riding and for fighting), colossal pyramids, sea-faring heroes, and ancient enemies. With that in mind, here is a suggestion to tie these two releases together for one huge in-store event.
“Welcome to the Jungle” Open House
I’ve mentioned in previous articles about the opportunities for cross-promoting Magic and D&D, and a few of you have written to me about your successes with this type of event. These two intellectual properties have built-in audiences that are often curious about each other. To reach out to both fans, consider hosting a Welcome to the Jungle Open House Event.
Ixalan Open House occurs on September 16 & 17. By that time, Magic Core stores will have had Tomb of Annihilation on the shelf for a little over a week. The regular street date will still be a couple of days away, so it’s a great opportunity to promote the exclusivity of both of these cool items in your store days before mass-market locations can sell them. If you are currently hosting Adventurer’s League, the first 5-part adventure, DDAL07-01 A City on the Edge will be available to download for free via the link on the WER.
Print Up Some Cool Posters
Wizards has a great resource page with tons of material for use in the printing of posters, signs, and for in-store monitors to help you promote current and upcoming releases. Also, the folks over at Arc have produced some cool retro travel posters as well tying into the Neverwinter Nights MMO release that could be used to great effect. Whatever method that you choose, the key is to decorate your store with tons of jungle-rific imagery.
Pick Up Some Props
Party and craft stores usually have lots of setting décor for creating a Jurassic theme, including imitation vines, inflatable palm trees (and dinosaurs), and tribal masks. You might even be able to get a better price on some of these items if you agree to tell your customers where you got them. Just ask the store’s manager if a discount for promotional consideration can be arranged. Also, with the summer coming to a close, you may find this type of décor in the clearance section already.
If you have a local cosplay group that wants to promote their organization, invite them to come out in a Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones costume shop. If not, see if a local costume shop might have a similar outfit available for a staff member to wear during the event(s). With Halloween coming up, they might be agreeable to some free advertising in your store in exchange for use of the costume.
Promote the Event!
Make sure that you promote your event on your website, your social media pages, and in-store. If possible, consider teaming up with a local theater to promote the release of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Usually, it’s just a matter of each of you agreeing to hang a poster in the window (or other prominent location) until the promotion ends. While you are promoting their upcoming movie, they will be advertising your upcoming events. If they are willing to place your ad in a marquee poster frame, be aware that a movie poster size (also called a one sheet) is 27″×40″.
If space permits in your store, you can also host a cosplay contest featuring explorers, adventurers, and dinosaurs. Prizes can include in-store credit, promotional items, or even some of the décor if you don’t wish to store it away for future events.
The Day of the Event
If you have a sound system in your store, trying pumping in ambient jungle sounds or music through your speakers to help set the atmosphere for the event. Have a greeter welcome customers in a pith helmet and an explorer’s jacket. They can hand out travel itineraries (a.k.a. event schedules) to all guests as they arrive. It’s also a great idea to include coupons that players can use that day or even that weekend.
Consider staggering your in-store events to maximize your customers’ experience. This will also allow you to devote the proper amount of attention to each featured game. Display and demo games with a jungle/dinosaur elements to help capitalize on the store’s theme.
As I mentioned, the Ixalan Prerelease Event is on September 23 & 24. This a great opportunity utilize all of the décor and props for a follow-up event. You can also leave them up through October 1, to promote Draft Weekend as well.
If you have any other ideas or questions on hosting a Welcome to the Jungle Weekend, feel free to reach out to me, Rod Edwards, at email@example.com.