The critics agree! The marketing for Deadpool is sensational!
In all of my years in entertainment marketing and publicity for the studios, I have never seen anything like it. Even Disney, the finest thoroughbred on the racetrack, has been outpaced. The marketing for the Twentieth Century Fox film Deadpool is beyond rad. Savvy to the eleventh degree. The hammer hits the nail. In our one world of media, the only folks who are unaware of Deadpool may be a few North Koreans and a coupla lost tribes of the Amazon. Given this grand adventure in promotion, what attributes of the Deadpool campaign can you apply to your business?
With a box office bustin' record, the Deadpool campaign will be studied for years to come. As you ponder this phenomenon, take note of the fluidity of advertising and promotion across all platforms. The madness of their method applies to you.
A Fresh Change is Always Good
In our current global economic depression, the marketing budget is always the first to be compromised. Most businesses will rely on the rerun: Use the same Yellow Page ad. Send last year's newsletter. Renew the coupon booklet. Join Instagram!
Today's consumer is media and content savvy. If they haven't seen it before, they like to think they have. The success of the Deadpool campaign is, quite simply, its freshness. The Marvel Comic Universe is getting musty and possibly boring. Now that we've gotten to know them so well, Tony Stark and the Cap just aren't that interesting. And along came Deadpool...
Humor in Marketing
Fire dancers are careful craftsman. They don't want to get burned. They are painstakingly diligent for their own safety. And so should the marketer who utilizes humor. The landfill of failed ad campaigns is littered with bad gags, crude comedy, off-color jokes and inappropriate laughs.
Using comedy in your marketing message is as treacherous as it is potentially profitable. There is no faster way to win, or lose, an audience and a client base.
That said, leap blindly into the creative conception of a campaign. Search every avenue. Explore every laugh. Look at comedy, high and low, from the bathroom joke to drawing room wit. Exhaust yourself. Lay it all out. Create blindly and, most importantly, edit appropriately.
In the creation of comedy, there are no rules. Just ask Hollywood, where the undersea graveyard is full of sunken sitcoms. Big ad agencies claim to have the rule, a method and the creative talent. That's why they earn the big bucks, but the reality is far different than the perception. More than likely, your nephew in Junior High may hold the creative inspiration to your winning campaign.
Chances are that you are goofing off right now and reading this article at work. An entertaining internet search will find profit-producing examples of success and cringe-worthy failures. A study of these marketing examples is a great way to kill time and analyze the difference between the happy heroes and the dull dead of the battlefield. Should your boss catch you, link this article and call it research.
The chassis of the Deadpool racecar is nothing new. But the bodywork is Kandy-Kolored, Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.
I feel like a tool. I am embarrassed to write, "Use the Holidays and local anniversaries as a marketing device!" That's Marketing 101. But marketing for the Holidays is a trusty Old School Rule for a reason. Deadpool has used the holidays in a very predicable way to brilliant effect. "Push your envelope" and I really mean it.
Does Mother's Day bring a sentimental tear to your eye? It did to Fox Marketing. In celebration of the holiday, we see a doctor's head in scrubs and mask and a woman's legs in a gynecological stirrup. Deadpool holds a newborn baby in one hand while giving a 'thumbs up' with the other. One caption to the viral greeting reads, "#Deadpool always delivers. Even on Mother's Day." Captain America would never dare think it!
Valentines Day. The Twelve Days of Deadpool (Christmas). Australia Day. Halloween. Chinese New Year. Deadpool hit 'em all. Make sure your boss isn't looking and Google them.
What meaning or message of a national or local holiday best compliments your business? How can your company adopt and exploit the holiday message? If stumped, what holiday can you create?
I have long championed the use of Promotional Partners. Financially, expansively and aggressively, the method is a great way to go.
Deadpool has produced several public service announcements for very worthwhile causes. These short films have raised awareness for the early detection of breast cancer in women and testicular cancer for young men.
Some cynics may perceive the Deadpool public largess as nothing but a cheap shot to talk about boobs and man berries. I prefer to view the action as a righteous service to the common good.
Fox, a media company of many platforms and products, did not hesitate to glad-hand Deadpool with many of their properties. As well as those of a few competitors. Any springboard will do.
What related professions in your locality should you partner with? Which group, charity or association? What events can you create, produce and cost together? Who's customer list would you like to court and woo?
This Is Not The Time To Repeat Yourself
Today's market is hyper-aware and selfish with their attention. We want to understand everything we need to know in a very quick glance. Don't waste my time is the mantra for our decade. Marketing is essentially telling the same message in a new way. Now, we just need to do it faster.
Deadpool has successfully hammered the message home while never repeating itself. There has been a slow advancement of new information, imagery and material. Don't be dull. When you design one ad for your business, produce two others by switching out the key elements of a photo and headline. Flip the layout. It will not cost you much more and your clients won't get bored.
Deadpool is personality driven. All marketing has been devoted to the superheroes' quirks, wit, foibles and his motor mouth. Can personality drive your business? Generally, the answer is "Yes." Customers like to know who they are giving their money to.
How much personality do we want to see from our dentists and lawyers? Once you have exhausted your creative capacity, edit and analyze. Laugh not, but even the dull can be highly marketable. The business owner, his wife, a chief mechanic or office manager can play a marketing role that reinforces the integrity of the profession and your business.
A business owner does not have to dress up in a funny costume. But you might try.
Great things can happen when we think counter-intuitively. Fox has produced a series of hilarious ads that reconceive Deadpool as a dreamy romantic chick flick. What young woman can resist the image of Deadpool, lounging on a bearskin rug in front of a glowing fireplace? What older woman cannot laugh at the homage to Burt Reynold's 1974 Playgirl Magazine centerfold? The work is brilliant, noticeable and worthy of a share.
If love has left your life, Deadpool has an ad aimed at the lonely cat lover. Who can say no to a cute pussy? Creating comedic advertising is like throwing spaghetti on the wall, etc., et al. Think and be expansive.
Take the marketing message that you have been selling for the last decade and flip it. Turn it inside out. What did you get? Could it appeal to a new customer?
The Creative Process for Humor
Find a quiet forest glen, an empty barstool or your local university safe space. Quiet your mind. And, think outside of the box. To the razor's edge of your professional decency. Just like Deadpool.
Appropriate is the Keyword
The potential rewards of a humorous strategy make the effort worthy of the risk. Once a laugh-riot campaign idea has been nurtured, embellished, polished and refined, the savvy marketer must dash back to the starting line.
No matter how small your business, use a focus group. Put your Aunt Polly, a street thug, a few of your customers, a rabbi and a priest into a room, present your campaign and then listen.