Marketing Done Right (The Deadpool Way)

Okay so anyone who knows me will know that I love pop culture. I gobble up comics, tv shows, movies, cosplay, conventions, and just about anything nerdy I can get my hands on. If you too share this passion, then you no doubt will have an idea about Deadpool. Whether by previous knowledge of the comics or the insanely clever marketing campaign, Marvel’s Deadpool was arguably one of the most highly-anticipated films of the year. Why? Maybe because the character has been a fan favourite for years, or because of its R-rating. While I think these factor in, I do believe the marketing campaign had something to do with it.

Even if you don’t have your finger on the pulse of pop culture, you probably heard about this movie. And yes, some may have just caught glimpses of a tv spot, or overheard someone talking about it, but chances are you saw some of the ridiculously brilliant schemes the marketing team had in store for us.

From the title character laying on a bearskin rug to creating a Tinder profile, the marketing strategists took advantage of the film’s family-unfriendly nature to create something that got their target audience excited.


The above ad kicked off the real campaign, showing the world Deadpool as he was meant to be and not a pale, mouthless, laser-eyed mutant with sword hands. This was followed by a couple trailers (some less… conventional than others) which showed off the character in all his glory.

The committee continued to deliver with a billboard that fans loved. By using a couple emojis and a single letter, fans caught the meaning and it spread like wildfire.


 The billboard reads as “Dead-poo-L”. A clever play on words using increasingly popular emojis.

They also did a Twelve Days of Deadpool advent calendar around Christmas in which they shared videos, posters, GIFs, and more to throw fans into full-throttle.

And it just keeps going. There are tons of videos that the studio released of various subject matters to promote the film (peppered with innuendos, of course), posters, and more. Another huge benefit was Ryan Reynolds’ social media presence. He used his own Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to share tidbits and garner hype on behalf of the movie. If you’ve watched any of his Deadpool interviews, he often makes a point of saying just how important this film is to him and that it get the Merc with a Mouth right.

So what should we as designers gather from such a campaign? To me, it’s the importance of knowing your target audience. Had the studio went for the usual PG-13 style film and marketing, the movie would not have been the success that it is. Instead, they took a risk on making an over-the-top campaign for an over-the-top movie with an over-the-top anti-hero. And I couldn’t be happier.

Did you see Deadpool? What did you think of the campaign leading up to the film’s release? Did it persuade you to see it? Let me know in the comments!


P.S. Here are some links fully describing the film’s marketing success and how it challenged the usual conventions:


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