Deadpool is the chimichanga-craving Marvel Comics superhero or we can even say “antihero”. He is a masked mutant who has clearly been introduced to piss off entire proceeding with his sarcasm, sly (and not so sly) comments and various other ridiculous ways that only Deadpool can think of. The main motive of the movie was to combine a fantastic superhero movie and a hilarious comedy movie together. Deadpool was imaged as “Merc with a Mouth”, as he is very talkative in nature and has the tendency to go overboard with his puns and running gags.
The marketing of Deadpool has been tremendous and some even deemed it to be too-much. Deadpool was rated “R”- thus there was a limit on the audience. Consequently, Fox had to take a risk in investing huge amount of money in the marketing of this movie. Deadpool relied a lot on social media. This movie was the proof that social media marketing can bring in a lot of success for any film.
The marketing mostly revolved around introducing the character “Deadpool” which was played by Ryan Reynolds. They distributed a plethora of content without revealing any plot of the movie.
20th Century Fox had put on a tremendous non-traditional marketing plan for the movie. Digital marketing techniques along with out-of-the-box strategies mirrored the bizarre nature of the anti-hero the studio was looking to promote.
Some of the best marketing strategies of Deadpool can be summarized under the following heads:
“Holiday marketing” was one of the most successful campaigns that “Deadpool” ran through. The main idea was to promote the movie through viral videos and other holiday hijinks. It started with April Fool’s Day, and went on till Halloween, where the studio published a video on Ryan Reynold’s own YouTube channel. That video got a whole lot famous and was very helpful in low-cost marketing of a high-budget movie.
Valentine’s Day Billboard:
A few days before Valentine’s Day, Deadpool came up with a very romantic and clichéd billboard. They succeeded in creating a buzz among the people about the movie and this was one of the best marketing strategy that they had.
12 Days of Deadpool:
Another the major marketing campaigns in the holiday marketing was the campaign named “12 Days of Deadpool”. It ranged from December 14 till Christmas (December 25th), and every day had a unique content. This kept the fans engaged and curious about the movie on a daily basis. The flow of content ultimately led the trailer of the movie. The content was published by attaining Partnership’s with many firms like Entertainment Magazine, People Magazine, Deviant Art, and others. Help of GIFs, new movie posters and branded emojis were taken which ultimately pushed the trend levels to a new height.
“How Deadpool Spent Haloween” Video
This 1.5 minutes video went viral on the social media. The humor element was still the best part of this video. The video showed Deadpool with a couple of kids dressed as X-Men characters. This video tried to break the wall on how it had been wronged by the 20th century Fox. It also showed that Deadpool was yet to become a culture in the coming times.
Region Focussed Marketing:
The globe consists of various regional differences and the movie’s marketing team decided to focus its marketing initiatives focussed in on more specific audiences to cope up with this issue. This helped people relate more to their marketing campaigns. In one epic example, we see Deadpool wishing the Chinese audience a happy “Chinese New Year” through a video. This video came out despite the movie being banned in China over censorship issues, thus acknowledging the love from the Chinese audience. Similar video was released for Australia Day.
Outside the Box Marketing:
What sets the marketing of this blockbuster from other films is how the marketing reflects the protagonist of the film. The marketing content mostly consisted of promotion that was aimed at an audience that had a short attention span and has a dark and a raunchy sense of humour. The dark comedic was aided with violence, and a typical super hero story.
Several marketing ideas were taken up that had never been seen before. Like they ran several live promotions over the course of the Super Bowl. In another example Ryan Reynolds took over a taco truck to serve chimichangas, which the character “Deadpool” loves.
Some of the Outside of the Box Marketing campaigns taken up by the studio are shown below:
Fantastic 4 Extended Trailer
In spite of Fantastic 4 being a disappointment, Deadpool marketers hijacked the trailer of their fellow heroes and came up with the concept of a trailer for a trailer. They wanted absolutely no boundaries for Deadpool and this strategy suited the character to a great extent.
Who doesn’t like surprises? Deadpool marketers rewarded their fans by offering them a surprise screening. They advertised it as a fan get together where they would be shown some of the movie clips and given some gifts.
Deadpool fans got a glimpse of the character when the marketers deliberately released a video clip that showed how entertaining the character was! The responses that were given to this was overwhelming for the 20th Century Fox. The footage was hilarious and extremely entertaining. It showed everything that any person would be expecting from the character – violence, wall breaking, sarcastic and clever remarks.
The makers came up with a trailer at IMAX. Although this trailer was of a short duration of 30 seconds, it gave the viewers a feel of everything that is there in the movie, i.e. the humor, action, the genre and most importantly, the superhero Deadpool itself. This generated a lot of curiosity amongst the audience, since this was not a typical superhero movie and Deadpool has been highly regarded as one of the best in his comics.
The famous Skull-Poop-L billboard that the studio came up with was a hilariously striking move. This brought out the humor element of the movie. Although this humor was not understood by a larger audience, the makers still decided to go with it because it brought out the humor element very well. It also had the words, Wait ‘Til You Get a Load of Me which was adopted from the 1989 Batman Film. The Skull in this ad indicated dead, the poop meant poo and adding an L made it DEADPOOL. What brilliance!
This image shows the Skull and the pool emoticons to indicate Dead and Poo and lastly ends it using the letter L to signify “Dead-poo-l” ie “Deadpool”.
Also Deadpool marketers made an attempt to capture social media with pictures that seem to be coming straight from Deadpool i.e. if Deadpool had an account, he would have posted such pictures. The Instagram handle was flooded with pictures such as Deadpool delivering a baby, bathroom pictures, bearskin rugs etc. These images captured the mind of the fans. The most appealing element of these images was once again, the use of humor!
The subscribers received a newsletter from Deadpool giving the season’s greetings and a hope of meeting them soon.
Sarcastic Movie Script
This annotated movie script by Deadpool was another such attempt that brought out the sarcasm and character of the character. The script was as below:
We bet everyone agrees that the marketing team behind Deadpool certainly is worth praising and deserves an award. The marketing campaign certainly got everyone excited about the upcoming movie. And it is certainly backed with the fact that Deadpool had the biggest opening weekend score for any R-Rated movie.
There are a lot of things that can be learnt from the Deadpool marketing campaigns. Firstly, you have to absolutely know your audience. Another thing is to “Promote. Promote. Promote.” And try something new in your campaigns. It is also stating the fact that humour is remembered more by the audience. Something that made you laugh will make you excited and you will look forward to see it. The marketing team of Deadpool was upto it and ensure that the trailers were humorous and maintained a momentum around the film.
The film played to its strength and the marketing did not deviate from the core strength of the movie. All in all the marketing of this film was tremendous, and left everyone in awe. There is something for everyone to learn from these campaigns.