What do Edward Scissorhands and Celine Dion have in common? No, it’s not the fact they’ve both made me cry. It’s the fact they’re both featured in Deadpool’s marketing campaign. You might be wondering what these two have to do with Marvel’s anti-hero blockbuster? Well, that’s what makes this campaign so great.
The movie has already received rave reviews, and its marketing campaign deserves the same. They’ve managed to create a powerful blend of co-branding and content that doesn’t just rehash existing assets – it actually adds to it and enhances the movie experience. The result? Quite possibly the most successful social media campaign in history. I’m going to attempt to quantify what made Deadpool such a killer social campaign.
It’s nothing new. There have been superheroes on cereal boxes for over 20 years. But what makes Deadpool so special is knowing the right brands, and the right ways to make the promotion matter.
Teaming up with 7-Eleven, Deadpool has created a number of unique products that feature the “merc with a mouth”. The most interesting of which is with Trolli and 7-Eleven, who have created candy in the shape of tiny hands. This call-back to a hilarious moment in the first film gives fans the sort of meta-content they know and love. 7-Eleven backed up this promotion with mockumentary video content shared on social, and an AR experience that you can only experience by going in-store.
Deadpool has also teamed up with V energy drinks in Australia, Espolon Tequila, and Mike’s Hard Cider creating similarly twisted takes on their traditional advertising. The combined effect is a shared benefit for both parties. Ideas that get people talking about your product, as much as people are talking about Deadpool.
2. The power of celebrity.
It’s not about who the celebrity is, it’s about how you use them.
A music video from Celine Dion, featuring Deadpool dancing passionately on stage, 23 million views.
Deadpool turning up in a throwaway piece of content from Hugh Jackman in his hotel room, 4.5 million views.
Deadpool apologising to David Beckham for a joke made in the first movie, 19 million views.
In the era of reality TV and social media, we love to think of celebrities as people just like us. These content pieces wonderfully show that it’s possible to be famous, and have a sense of humour. The content breaks our expectations of what we normally see online, and Deadpool is what makes it all possible.
3. The pure unexpected.
You’re walking through a Walmart and come across an aisle end of DVDs. As you look closer you see Deadpool inserted into the cover of every single one. It’s something so unexpected you can’t help but take a picture and share it online. It’s something you’ve never seen before, so why wouldn’t you?
It wasn’t long before the stunt was getting millions of hits on Reddit and Facebook. People tagging friends. People excited to buy a DVD of Edward Scissorhands with Deadpool instead of Depp. This is a perfect example of creating content for the audience of your audience. Give your fans something they’re excited to share with a friend and you’ll never need to spend a cent on media.
Ultimately, what makes this campaign great is an incredible understanding of what their audience is looking for online. They love irreverence and parody. They love seeing products they know and love transformed into something new. They love being in on the joke, and feeling part of a larger community. Deadpool has managed to pull all of these together with a character that is designed for grabbing attention.
Matt Newman is a Content Creative at BCM