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Want to know what made Deadpool’s marketing campaign so ridiculously good and how you can do the same for your business? Then read on…

If you haven’t heard of the Deadpool movie yet, where have you been?

It’s the long-awaited big screen debut of one of Marvel’s wildest characters; mercenary and anti-hero Wade Wilson (aka Deadpool), who possesses superhuman healing powers and is obscenely funny.

When we say long-awaited, we really do mean it: there have been stirrings of a Deadpool movie as far back as 2000.

So, with a band of eager Marvel fans to impress and a whole base of potential movie-goers to tap into, the marketing team behind this film had a fair bit of weight on their shoulders.

Luckily, they didn’t disappoint.

In the run up to today’s UK release, the marketing around the movie has proliferated every channel of engagement possible, from traditional means of advertising – TV and print ads, roadside billboards and bus banners – through to the full social whammy of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

But anyone with the budget can do mass advertising.

Not everyone can do it to the level of awesomeness that Deadpool has.

What has made this promotion so stand-out?

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Deadpool’s voice is the strongest element to this campaign and what makes it so unique.

There are a ton of superheroes, but none have as strong a voice as Deadpool’s, which presented both a challenge and an opportunity to its marketers.

If they were to be true to the Deadpool brand, the marketers couldn’t have got away with a normal, bland marketing campaign. Instead, they were let off the leash.

The result? Deadpool has been noticeably better in its marketing than most other movies.

Dark, edgy, kick-ass, funny and cynical. Every one of these facets to Deadpool’s personality and voice have been evident in the ample promotional content fed to us over the last few months.

BIG LESSON #1: Stay true to your brand’s voice because THAT is what the audience loves. If you break this, the audience won’t trust you. If you do it right, the audience will love it.

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It’s the continuous building of rapport that allowed the Deadpool campaign to truly bond with its audience.

Through the use of humour, audience-orientated content and the breaking of the fourth wall – a characteristic that sets Deadpool apart from most superheroes and allows him to speak directly to the viewers – Deadpool’s marketers hit the rapport nail firmly on the head.

Just check out a couple of the videos that have been doing the rounds online lately, starring the “Merc with the Mouth” himself and addressing us in unbridled Deadpool style…

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Here, the marketing team isolated its audience as those who live in the world of instant messaging. This audience ‘gets’ what those emojis mean and have the intellect to decipher their meaning, thus maximising connection and rapport.

This drip-feed of insanely good, rapport-building content means that anyone who’s kept up with Deadpool’s antics over the past year feels like they know his character already… even if they’ve never read the Marvel comics.

So, it seems only logical that they’d trot off to the cinema to watch their new favourite hero on the big screen, just to stay filled in, right?

Yes, Deadpool is divisive.

Some people are going to hate his language, his swagger and overall manner.

But that’s the point.

His character is LOVED in a way other superheroes aren’t thanks to his refreshing outrageousness.

So here it is…

BIG LESSON #2: Don’t be afraid to divide people by staying true and authentic.

This is a hard lesson for businesses and brands to swallow who will be reluctant to alienate any part of the potential market.

But thinking deeper rather than wider is the key to reinforcing those meaningful connections with true fans.


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Unlike every other film being marketed via the same old tired movie marketing formula, Deadpool’s marketing is seriously bold.

That’s what makes the campaign really stand out.

In fact, the Deadpool marketers flipped the norm on its head by actively mocking the schlocky Hollywood creatives we’re used to (and sick of).

One expression of this was its Valentine’s Day iteration.
A special Valentine’s-themed satirical poster and trailer were released earlier in the month, which engaged the inevitable band of guys who would love to go and see Deadpool on the weekend of its release… but are likely to be shackled in by loved-up, unavoidable Valentine’s plans instead.

Show this movie poster to your partner, on the other hand, and she won’t suspect a thing…

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That’s right, they just reimagined Deadpool as a typical smushy romance starring Ryan Reynolds as the irresistible heartthrob he usually plays, to dupe unsuspecting girlfriends into seeing the film with their other halves!

Never could Deadpool have seemed more unmissable to potential movie-goers than it did after this slightly mean, but undeniably smart move.

Here are some more times the Deadpool campaign was head-turningly bold and, on the most part, fabulously original.

This movie poster:

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Shareable content was the key to Deadpool “going viral”.

And rewarding the fans beyond exclusive online content was always going to be important.

Surprise, fan-only events didn’t just deposit goodwill among fans by over-delivering, it was perfect for publicity and social media purposes:

On one occasion, fans who were just pining for just a couple of clips from the movie were treated to a full viewing AND the chance to meet the man himself…

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All of the above demand our attention and, given that they were released over the course of a good year or so, the campaign succeeded in holding its audience’s attention for long enough to develop a relationship with them and, crucially, heighten their desire to see the movie.

People were even going gaga over seeing more of the marketing campaign.

I mean, who wants to see MORE marketing? (Apart from geeky copywriters like us…?).

So BIG LESSON #3 – be bold, have confidence in your brand and your voice and you’ll stand out.

To pull that all together, how can your marketing efforts be improved by following Deadpool’s lead?

1. Stay true to your brand voice in everything you do to be instantly recognisable and memorable

2. Establish rapport with your prospects via conversational and engaging content, even if it is divisive

3. Be bold. It’s the key to getting noticed and the foundation of long-lasting customer relationships

This lesson of sustained attention leading to a lucrative relationship is the key to effective marketing.

Learn more about how you can keep your audience hanging on your every word and ready to buy in our book, The Engagement Formula.

Are there any movies you think have done as a job at marketing themselves as Deadpool? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so go ahead and leave a comment below.

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