How do you turn an irreverent, almost superhero with a reputation for vulgar language and questionable actions into a box office success? With an aggressive, guerilla-style social media marketing campaign of course.
Various terms have been thrown out in an attempt to categorize the incredibly effective strategy to make the unknown comic book hero, Deadpool, a household name.
The challenge in promoting Deadpool lies mainly in the character's personality and behavior. There isn't a crude joke he hasn't made nor an obscene gesture he won't display. For this reason, Deadpool received an R-rating, unheard of for a Marvel film that relies heavily on younger children who worship superheroes. But the R-rating was crucial for maintaining the spirit of the character. If Deadpool wasn't uncouth and offensive, he wouldn't be the character that his fans have come to know and love.
No matter your opinion on vulgarity, there's no doubt that Deadpool has changed the movie marketing game. According to CNBC, "The ratio of people who click 'thumbs up' on movie trailers and clips usually clocks in at .02 to .06, according to social media-focused online magazine MoviePilot, and a reading of 0.6 to 0.7 is considered better. By comparison, the ratio for 'Deadpool' is a whopping 1.04." This click-ratio translated into a history breaking $132.4M weekend premiere for an R-rated movie, and the movie projected to continue pulling in big numbers.
Here are some tactics implemented by Deadpool's marketing team that you can institute with your own social media campaign to hopefully break some of your own records.
1. Find the less obvious demographic
Movies often sell themselves as having something for everyone. Deadpool took a similar approach with a few strategically placed billboards with carefully chosen imagery and mood lighting that turned the movie from a violent, male-centric movie to a love story seemingly worthy of "chick flick" status. If you know that your business or product has the potential to reach a previously untapped niche, look into the opportunities available and see if you can find a new audience to interact with that will benefit from your product or services.
2. Choose an out of the box partnership
Much like finding a less obvious demographic, Deadpool chose a few less than obvious partnerships to increase awareness. The minds behind Deadpool's social campaign had the character partner with the UK charity, Ballboys, to create an informational video on self checking for testicular and breast cancer filled with innuendo to add a light-hearted touch to a serious topic. Look for opportunities to lend your brand power to a useful, if unpredictable brand. If you can create an informational tool, perhaps with a touch of humor, you'll expand your following and become associated with a positive cause.
3. Embody your brand
Ryan Reynold's participation in this movie has been a major key to its success. Reynolds has been attached to the script since 2004 and acted as its main advocate ever since. Reynolds specifically joined Twitter and Instagram to bring more attention to the film and posts almost exclusively about the film. You can take a similar approach and make sure that you represent your brand on and off the job. This doesn't mean that your social media feed has to be solely made up of posts related to your work, but you keep in mind that everything you post reflects back on your brand and the work you do.
4. Become clickable
The creators behind the Deadpool campaign didn't stick to all white hat tactics. The main instance of this is the Deadpool clickbait pages. Essentially, they have a page that will generate click-worthy titles that will entice readers to click the link. For the most part, these clickbait opportunities have been fairly well-received by Deadpool fans because they anticipate cheekiness from the character. While it's not recommended to use any trickery with your campaign, you should make sure to include titles that will entice readers and hopefully increase your page sessions.
5. Make sure your bombardment is high quality
Unless you're willing to commit to producing high-quality content, this type of strategy isn't for you. If what you're producing is lackluster, your audience will associate your posts with spam and will likely mark them as such. On the flip side, if you include content that is visually appealing and stays true to your message, people are likely to begin looking forward to your next post and may even seek out your other pages to see what you're sharing
6. Maintain your promotion
Even after the movie released and received massive amounts of buzz for the record breaking premiere, Reynolds didn't drop the ball and continued interacting with the Marvel universe. After a Twitter conversation broke out about Chris Evan's (Captain America) liking Deadpool, Reynolds chimed in that he was #teamcap. This, however, didn't fly with Robert Downey Jr., the actor known for his portrayal of Ironman, which led to an entertaining Twitter feud breaking out.
Once you've completed your launch, don't forget to maintain those relationships you built during the promotional period. Engage in conversations that are happening around your product or service. Be quick to answer any questions or respond to any tweets or other social posts you're tagged in.
While the Deadpool campaign capitalized on humor and shock-value, it's important to know that these stunts won't work for every brand. If you stay true to your brand, but think of innovative content and partnerships you're sure to take your marketing strategy from average to super