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ComplexCon – Where Content Meets Commerce, In Real Life

Today’s media companies face unique challenges compared to those of the past. Not only do they need to build strong brand equity, but also provide direct ROI to their clients’ marketing efforts in the form of sales, views, or other black-and-white metrics. In today’s digital media landscape, it’s more challenging than ever for platforms to monetize solely off of content publishing. When done right, blending content and commerce creates a brand-building and sales ecosystem that can drive value today while also developing long-term loyalty with fans.

Many have attempted to combine content and commerce, but few have been as successful as Complex. The launch of ComplexCon is a great example of how a brand-owned event extension can impact fans in real life, as well as live digitally and socially for weeks on end. According to Complex, the platform has created 50 billion impressions to date, primarily within the coveted 16-35 demographic. What started as the real-life embodiment of a digital brand – “bringing URL to IRL,” as Complex explained – has grown into a cultural mecca spanning multiple categories. What’s more, this live event platform has created an opportunity for Complex to further connect, grow, and monetize their audience.

The results have been impressive. The weekend-long convention attracts more than 60,000 attendees, generating tens of million in sales. It has also created a platform to accelerate the growth of owned IP inside of the ComplexCon ecosystem, such as selling the in-house hot sauce from the hit show Hot Ones inside of the First We Feast vertical. While that vertical has largely been a feature attraction inside of ComplexCon, it has become so popular that Complex has announced the launch of First We Feast Fest in 2020, an “expansion of the First We Feast universe that…will bring a curation of the most exciting restaurants and chefs from across the country, collaborations, your favorite food celebrities, music, and more.”


Media companies can take note of what Complex has been able to achieve by listening to their audience and giving them more of what they want. A willingness to do something new to amplify their vision and build for the long-term has enabled Complex to develop a live event strategy that has become a unique business on its own while fortifying their position as both a dynamic media company and a leader in youth culture.


Have questions about your live event strategy? Get in touch!

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