Challenge

Deadpool electrified a genre, breaking box office records with a kick-ass story, a bad-ass hero, and enough ass-accentuating spandex to make moviegoers blush, but the Home Entertainment success of Deadpool is due to imaginative original content that was unequivocally Deadpool – in the voice of Deadpool himself. Leveraging the character’s persona in strategically tailored media, our campaign captured the irreverent spirit of the film; making fans feel as if they were actually hearing from the “Merc with a Mouth.” Creating initiatives that weren’t just tailored for fans, but were created by Deadpool himself made Deadpool the #1 Marvel release ever!

Deadpool opened to a $132MM box office, becoming the biggest R-rated opening in history, so Fox was eager to replicate this red spandex magic. Home Entertainment is a soft — some might say dying — market. Studios return fewer profits each year due to piracy and other entertainment choices. It’s hard to get people excited for what Deadpool might call “sloppy seconds” – DVDs, Blu-rays and Digital downloads. To generate momentum we needed something better than before: a throbbing, rock-solid example of Deadpool’s outrageous and filthy humor. Something sexy, surprising, and mind-blowingly exciting.

Besides world peace and the adoption of Carless Whisper by George Michael as our national anthem, our objective was simple— drive home entertainment sales and become the #1 selling Marvel title to date.

Insight

Tracking from the theatrical release, and Nielsen movie theater exit polls, showed that part of Deadpool’s unique appeal was his fourth wall-breaking relationship with the audience. By bringing audiences in on the joke, Deadpool became more accessible than the average superhero adaptation. To convince audiences to embrace the Home Entertainment release, we needed to play off of and expand upon this community-based, inside joke feel; supported with tactically strong media movements.

We had to ask one question: What Would Deadpool Do? Channeling Deadpool’s voice, we leveraged our greatest ASS-et, and turned the media campaign over to the character. All media touchpoints were considered through the WWDD lens – if it wasn’t true to the base, lewd, self-deprecating personality, it didn’t make the plan. What happened next was groundbreaking, insanely fun content that promoted digital, DVD/Blu-ray sales, engaged audiences, and gave our superhero one massive ego stroke. (That’s what she said).

Idea

But how do you translate a lewd, masked, character into a media plan? And who do you reach to help share the story?

Putting on our best red spandex hats – er masks – we channeled Deadpool, and research, to identify our target. With consumers switching to streaming services, our potential Home Entertainment consumer base was eroding; down 7% YOY according to the DEG.  To make Deadpool the #1 selling title, we needed to enlist a larger audience. After all, size does matter.

We turned to the #1 growing activity on the internet. No- not porn—social media, and the 224MM individuals in the US posting, swiping and liking. How’s that for a stimulating target size?

With pranks, stunts, and a ton of well-placed dirty jokes, we aimed to bait social media users everywhere, in order to reconnect with fans, drive chatter, and turn that chatter into Home Entertainment gold $$$ – Cha-ching.

Execution

Our social strategy was simple, create what people want to share, and be mobile centric. With funny, thumb-stopping, and shareworthy fodder, we:

  • Took over iTunes store and inserted Deadpool into the main pages of other movies; X-Men films, Alien 3, Taken, and Batman were photobombed by Deadpool, who encouraged visitors to ditch those lame titles and pick him – an industry first
  • Conducted a Facebook Livestream panel discussion with over 1 million fans
  • Got Reddit to change its signature image to Deadpool – a first for the site
  • Encouraged purchasing a “hard” copy of the film with “Deadpole,” an elaborate parody of male enhancement ads
  • Used Snapchat to give fans an inside look into Deadpool’s daily ventures. Our story chronicled (with hilarious detail) everything Deadpool does, hitting the gym, getting groceries, and of course the occasional bathroom break
  • Got Deadpool to appear in his own Honest Trailer

ROI

While the campaign was humorous, the results were serious. Deadpool is Fox’s best-selling Digital HD title EVER, and the # 1 selling Marvel title EVER. How’s that for a “dying industry”?

We received massive coverage with stories appearing on E!, THR, CNET, Huffington Post, MSN, AOL, Uproxx, Perez Hilton, Moviepilot, Slashfilm, Nerdist, BroBible, and more.

Oh, and then there’s all the records broken:

  • Most Pre-Ordered Fox title on iTunes and Amazon.com
  • Fastest selling superhero Digital HD ever, with 1M transactions in its debut week
  • #1 Marvel Digital HD to date
  • Fox’s best performing Digital HD title to date
200MM

earned impressions

53MM

impressions on Snapchat

18MM

online views of "Deadpole," 2nd most-viewed Facebook video EVER!

13.5MM

views of the Honest Trailer