Ryan Helps FOX Fix Their F**k Up: The Marketing of Deadpool

It all started with a clip of test footage. In 2011, the fully 3D animated video was leaked online and received massive attention. Of course, it starred the infamous Deadpool, cracking a few jokes and murdering a few bad guys. Fans realized this was definite proof of FOX debating whether or not to make a feature film for the “merc with a mouth.” Finally, after a few years of support and fans climbing up FOX’s ass about the idea, they made their decision.

From the beginning Ryan Reynolds was the man destined to play Deadpool on the big screen. Eventually, the director was announced to be Tim Miller. Of course, Reynolds had portrayed a version of the character before, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but it didn’t exactly become a fan favorite character. Actually, Reynolds has stated that it was the lowest point in his career. This of course, became Reynolds drive to reinvent the on-screen character that both he, and the fans, wanted.

Eventually the release date, February 12, 2016, was announced, and soon after, the eventually beloved advertising campaign began. Primarily focused around TV spots and online videos, Reynolds and Miller set out to utilize Deadpool’s most unique trait in promoting the film. This, of course, being his tendency to break the “fourth wall,” talking to the audience and constantly throwing around references from the real world. This strategy provided the filmmakers with a very powerful means to entertain their audience, even months before the movie was in theaters.

The first video they created was simply a “trailer trailer,” or a very short video, advertising the release of the full-length trailer. It featured Deadpool, using a deep, narrator-esque voice while sitting in a leather chair smoking a pipe. He addressed the audience, simply informing them of the soon-to-be, full-length trailer.

Aside from the countless, typical trailers released all over the globe, anticipating fans were giving something a little more outreaching. Leading up to the film’s release, FOX produced a couple of “international” advertisements with Reynolds. One consisted of him merely discussing the concept of “Australia Day,” while jabbing viewers with a couple stereotypical Australian jokes, overlaid with a decent Australian accent. Another took place at some sort of Mexican festival, with Deadpool running around frantically, most likely saying some funny shit in Spanish.

A more peculiar addition to the campaign was a pair of PSAs, starring Deadpool of course. In one, he goes on to explain to men how to check their testicles for signs of testicular cancer. In another, Deadpool hands the mic to a female narrator, who explains to women how to check their breasts for signs of breast cancer. This was quite a peculiar way to advertise their product, but it was entertaining and quite hilarious at times.

Whether it was through breaking the fourth wall, breaking international borders, or breaking social norms by telling people to feel themselves up for safety, the creators behind the marketing for this film did a magnificent and entertaining job. The film ended up becoming the second highest grossing, rated-R, film of all time (as of 2016). And was all-around well-received by both fans and critics.

-Josh Comer


4 thoughts on “Ryan Helps FOX Fix Their F**k Up: The Marketing of Deadpool

  1. I personally did not see all of these trailers, but it is refreshing to see this campaign challenge what has become the norm for movie trailers and movies in general. Lately, it has become about intense action and serious drama which works well, but it gets old and repetitive after a while.
    I personally have always been a fan of advertisements and campaigns that really embrace and use the humor aspect, so reading about this campaign and having seen maybe one or two of these clips before hand really got me interested in the film.
    Overall, 20th Century Fox did a fantastic job of assessing what makes this movie unique and exploiting that to their advantage with this marketing campaign. Maybe that’s the direction marketing is heading towards; being uniquely creative with a specific aspect of the product and just running with it.

  2. I definitely think keeping the marketing aligned with the crudeness of the movie helped with its success. It was a fresh take on a the superhero genre, allowing for viewers to get unfiltered comedy, something that most superhero movies lacked up until the release of Deadpool

  3. I really enjoyed this movie. I think they did I great job promoting it. Breaking the fourth wall really allows for the viewer to feel connected. Also the PSAs are great because it may reach an audience that had not before been reached. So once again I think this was very well promoted.

  4. Deadpool is my favorite “superhero” so my expectations on this movie were way higher than a normal fan. However, the ads and the copy for them settled me a little bit. It showed that they knew who Deadpool was and the kind of stuff he will do. I loved seeing the ads and the products in the stores as the movie approached.

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