By Jasmine Grillmeier
In addition to being a big success at the box office, Deadpool’s marketing leading up to the February 12, 2016 release was a huge hit.
To introduce the world to Deadpool, the movie’s first marketing stunt revealed the outrageous anti-hero in his truest form. “The first on-camera appearance by Reynolds as Deadpool came during an April Fool’s interview on the entertainment show “Extra,” stated CNBC. “The spot ended with Deadpool knocking out host Mario Lopez after he insisted the movie couldn’t succeed with an R-rating.” (DiChristopher, 2016). Not surprisingly the video went viral, garnering more than 1 million views to date.
Other viral-friendly videos, promotions and messages were promoted throughout the nearly year-long campaign. The following image was the first message posted on both Facebook and Twitter on March 27, 2015, poking fun with a pop culture reference.
The campaign “went into overdrive in the week leading up to Christmas, beginning their so-called “12 Days of Deadpool” with a daily series of viral-friendly marketing tidbits that led up to the reveal of the second theatrical trailer on Christmas Day” (Mendelson, 2016). Some of the content released included downloadable emojis, an “annotated” script page, and a spoof on Home Alone.
“The last six weeks or so [of the campaign] has followed suit, with Ryan Reynolds’s wise-cracking anti-hero taking the spotlight with (among other things) satirical posters selling the film as a romantic drama, public service announcements for testicular cancer and breast cancer, a Super Bowl ad for Hyundai featuring a deluge of Ryan Reynolds clones for female-gaze consumption” (Mendelson, 2016), showing the varying and obscure facets of the campaign. And that’s not all the efforts employed by the marketing team. As stated by Wired, the marketing team promoting Deadpool even created fake clickbait gags on Facebook such as, “43 Secrets the Internet Will Never Tell You About Kittens” (Ellis, 2016).
This campaign was clearly a success after seeing Deadpool’s record-breaking numbers. As stated by Forbes, “Deadpool just scored the biggest R-rated opening weekend all time. With a $132.7 million Friday-to-Sunday frame. […] It is the first R-rated opening to cross the $100m+ mark, the biggest February debut, the 8th-biggest non-summer debut of all time, and the 17th-biggest opening weekend in history” (Mendelson, 2016). The statistics before this opening were great as well. “In the weeks before it was released, the Internet conversation swirling around “Deadpool” was 98 percent positive, according to comScore’s PreAct” (DiChristopher, 2016). The online conversations were also large in number. “About two weeks before its release, “Deadpool” was regularly drumming up 10,000 to 20,000 tweets, running just behind “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens,” according to BoxOffice.com” (DiChristopher, 2016).
So why was the social media campaign such a success? As said by Forbes, “The character’s offbeat, occasionally obnoxious, R-rated personality allowed Fox to have quite a bit of fun with marketing tropes, with viral-friendly videos and posters that were all-too-easy to share and comment upon via social media” (Mendelson, 2016). Furthermore it spread awareness. “This ‘no limits’ style of marketing is clearly generating a lot of social media buzz, with people who had no previous interest in the film admitting that they now can’t wait to see it” (Joseph, 2016). The lead actor, Ryan Reynolds, was also key in the campaign’s success. As confirmed by CNBC, “Since he joined Instagram last May, Reynolds has mostly dedicated his feed to “Deadpool” and its viral campaign” (DiChristopher, 2016).
As seen by the success of this cheeky and funny campaign, there isn’t anything I would improve upon. The marketers behind Deadpool created extremely shareable content that facilitated conversation among fans as well as many who had never heard of the anti-hero or the movie before, which in my book is an extremely smart #socialwin.
DiChristopher, T. (2016, February 14). Deadpool’s secret weapon: A viral social media campaign. CNBC. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/07/deadpools-secret-weapon-a-viral-social-media-campaign.html
Ellis, E. (2016, February 10). The Most Absurd Deadpool Marketing: From Tinder to Obscene Emoji. Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2016/02/deadpool-marketing/
Extratv. (2015, April 1). Is ‘Deadpool’ going to be PG-13? Ryan Reynolds Weighs In [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5TB0pKLj0Y
Joseph, S. (2016, February 10). How the Deadpool movie was overshadowed by its marketing. Retrieved from http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/02/10/how-deadpool-movie-was-overshadowed-its-marketing
Mendelson, S. (2016, February 15). ‘Deadpool’ Box Office: It’s A Record-Crushing $300 Million Worldwide Weekend Debut. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2016/02/15/deadpool-box-office-its-a-record-crushing-132m-3-day150m-4-day-opening-weekend/#37c16bc46720
Mendelson, S. (2016, February 4). How the Viral ‘Deadpool’l Marketing Campaign Has Left the Movie Hidden. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2016/02/04/deadpool-marketing-hides-the-movie-with-social-media-friendly-content/#5a5a54715e70
The Daily Superhero. (2015, December 15). 12 Days of Deadpool Tracker – Updated Daily! Retrieved from http://www.dailysuperhero.com/2015/12/12-days-of-deadpool-tracker-updated.html