If observers looked closely at the placards being held by protesters and picketers outside of San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, they likely noticed signs with some curious messages: "The Beast Rises," "There Is Only Damien" and "From Flames Damien Will Rise," among others.
Religious picketers head to the event every year to share the gospel — something that has sparked debate and reactions in the past, but they weren't the ones putting these odd messages on display this year.
Instead, the seemingly pro-Satan placards came from marketers for A&E's "Damien," a scripted show about the Antichrist that is based on 1976 film "The Omen."
Looking to capitalize off of the typical protests that unfold outside the venue, the marketing team decided to join the Christian picketers in launching a faux protest aimed entirely at promoting the show.
Welcome to Day 2 of #SDCC where staged protests for new A&E television series are the norm. #Damienpic.twitter.com/qwh33klgu6— Steve Feitl (@SteveFeitl) July 9, 2015
Love the fact that #damien is hanging with the holy rollers outside #sdccpic.twitter.com/neO6JtmT73— Erica Chan (@Cambear) July 9, 2015
Very amused by DAMIEN marketing picketers at #SDCCpic.twitter.com/TgGiDSDTTv— Sam Zimmerman (@samdzimmerman) July 9, 2015
So, people showed up in shirts and with signs touting "Damien," as they stood among religious protesters who had biblically themed placards that read, "Receive Salvation Through Jesus" and "Faith in Jesus Saves," with the Hollywood Reporter calling the marketing plan "very unusual."
In addition to staging a fake protest with the signs, a street team handed out pins, stickers and pamphlets. The leaflets warned recipients that "the end of days is near" and that atrocities are all around us — messages that are typically seen coming from religious people.
"Atrocities fill our airwaves. Atrocities crowd out the Internet," the pamphlet read, going on to advertise the A&E show on the last page. "Atrocities stain our history."
It's unclear how the religious people who gathered outside the event reacted to the marketing plan.
San Diego Comic Con runs through the weekend.