Deadpool 2 Marketing Case Study

At Slice, we always say that “different is better than better.” If we had to guess, we’d say the marketing team behind Deadpool 2 agreed. The movie franchise is best known for its bolder, brasher take on a superhero story, so it’s no surprise that they stepped outside the box when it came to marketing the sequel.

Whether your own brand is cutting edge or conservative, it’s easy to find inspiration from their creative campaign elements:

1. Newsjacking

What is Newsjacking? It’s the process of aligning yourself with popular news or events so that you are trending alongside them, making it a great way to add buzz to your brand.

How Deadpool did It: In true Thanksgiving spirit, Deadpool graced the cover of “Good Housekeeping’s” holiday issue. The gag issue had action-packed tutorials on how to carve a turkey along with cheeky recipes for clam dip and spiced nuts. It also included a note from Deadpool himself and a picture of all the film’s characters having Thanksgiving dinner together.  

How you can do it: Start by creating a calendar of events and holidays that you know your audience would be excited about and think proactively about including yourself in the buzz. For example, a company that’s created a “coffee-of-the-month” subscription should anticipate holiday gift guides before they come out rather than being surprised by not being featured in the Father’s Day recommendations.

2. Get Involved

As the owner of your business, you are the most authentic spokesperson for your brand. By being an active partner with your PR agency, they can help you present yourself in the best possible way.

How Deadpool did it: Even though Ryan Reynolds is a big star, he was very involved in the promotion of Deadpool 2. While it’s fairly common to go on a international press tour, Reynolds really went the extra mile. If singing “Tomorrow” from the movie Annie dressed as a unicorn on a South Korean TV show doesn’t show dedication, we don’t know what does.

How you can do it: Take your passion for your brand and express it in ways that will get your audience just as excited. Drybar founder Alli Webb regularly stars in the company’s promo videos, and the University of Illinois even found that when CEOs tweet, it helps investor relations. Be the face of your own brand because people want to hear what you have to say.

3. Know What Makes You Unique

It’s important to identify and focus on what makes your brand unique. What separates you from your competitors, and why should it influence your audience’s buying decisions?

How Deadpool did it: One of the things that people love about Deadpool is his over-the-top sense of humor. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, the Deadpool team embraced the character’s personality and refrained from watering it down for promotional content.

How you can do it: When you figure out what separates you from your competitors, people will come to you because you can give them what other brands cannot. Is your product manufactured in America? Do you hold certifications that your competitors do not? These are the things worth bragging about.

4. Collaboration

They say if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.

How Deadpool did it: To promote his film, Ryan Reynolds teamed up with an enviable list celebrities. He worked with David Beckham, Hugh Jackman, and even Celine Dion who performed a theme song for the film. Of course, we don’t all have access to A-list celebrities. The movie’s marketing team also worked with Walmart on limited edition DVD covers, replacing popular film stars with Deadpool’s image. The result caught customers’ attention while staying true to Deadpool’s sense of humor.

How you can do it: Collaborate with influencers, the media, and even other businesses – any non-competitors with whom you share a target market. Let’s say your business is located in a neighborhood that celebrates “First Friday,” but you’re located off the most-trafficked strip. By collaborating with your neighbors to make a bigger splash, your open house can draw a larger crowd of locals.

5. Social Responsibility

By giving back to your community, you can build social capital and earn respect.  

How Deadpool did it: Working with F Cancer, an organization dedicated to fighting cancer, Deadpool hosted a raffle for a one-of-a-kind pink superhero suit. Proceeds from this would then go to, you guessed it, breast cancer research. The stunt was doubly appropriate considering main character Wade Wilson had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in the first film.   

How you can do it: Many consumers, especially savvy millennials, want to support businesses that make a difference in the world. Find a cause that is dear to you and create support for that cause as a brand. As Deadpool proved, this is the most effective when your cause is related to your brand. For example, you could be a hotel that partners with a charity that wants to end homelessness.

It may come as a surprise, but there’s a lot to learn about attention-grabbing marketing from “the Merc with a mouth.” Getting people to pay attention is the first step to greater brand awareness, so do as Deadpool does and you might find some fame of your own. Learn more about creating your marketing strategy today and contact us today to request a proposal. 

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