Deadpool: The (tit)bits that you haven’t seen



I am what I believe is known in some circles as a Cosiophile.

I am on a lifelong quest to achieve optimum levels of cosiness; I wrap myself in blankets as if I’m a burrito, if you invite me to your house then you best believe I will bring a pair of fluffy socks with me and I will always take an oversized scarf to the cinema to use as a blanket, regardless of the time year.

I do, however, draw the line at onesies. There do have to be some boundaries, even if they are fleece-lined.

That boundary doesn’t exist for everyone though, as I was reminded when I saw a guy wearing a Deadpool onesie at the cinema last week. And I don’t mean a Deadpool suit, by the way, I really do mean a onesie; it was loose and a bit bobbly. Classic onesie.

But I get it; he was excited and he chose to express that through his sartorial choices. I chose a Ben & Jerry’s sundae.

And that onesie-wearing, sundae-scoffing excitement is thanks in no small part to the heroic marketing moves made by The Guys At Deadpool Marketing HQ (I believe they are also known as 20th Century Fox.) They went for the marathon when marketing Deadpool, beginning their campaign a year before the film was set for release. In that time they’ve unveiled billboard on top of billboard, filmed April Fools’ pranks, built up Instagram accounts, launched 12 Days of Deadpool over the festive period and wheeled out Ryan Reynolds for charmingly self-deprecating interview after charmingly self-deprecating interview and not once have they ever revealed what actually happens in the film itself.

No one going to see Deadpool in its opening week knew what to expect after they’d wedged their giant Coke in their armrest and the lights had dimmed, not even the guy in the Deadpool onesie.

In a world in which delayed gratification is just a preposterous concept dreamt up by the makers of marshmallows, it would have been much easier for The Guys At Deadpool Marketing HQ to just drip-feed us clips of the film for 6 months in the run up to the film’s release; to send Reynolds onto every chat show armed with an ‘exclusive clip’ from the film or to broadcast a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fight scene snippet on Snapchat.

Easier, sure, but it would have led to a much less rewarding experience for cinema goers who would have realised quite quickly upon leaving theaters that they had ‘seen all of the best bits in the trailers.’

Which is exactly how I felt after watching The Revenant.

The trailer for The Revenant tells you that Leonardo DiCaprio gets mauled by a bear, that he sees his son get murdered, that he gets left for dead by his…colleagues (?), that he somehow manages to cheat death, a lot, and that he embarks on a chilly vendetta in order to get even with those who wronged him. All that’s left to see in the film itself are many, many shots of Leo panting heavily through severely chapped lips and the inevitable, and by the time it rolls around very welcome, scene in which he finally offs his son’s murderer.

Oh, and the horse bit.

The Revenant, and please forgive me for using some pretty top-level marketing jargon here, shot its load too early. Luckily, it had the never-ending Leonardo DiCaprio Oscar tension to prop it up and create a buzz; without it, there would be no urgency to book tickets, join the Ben & Jerry’s queue and see the film. It was all in the trailer.

And herein lies the lesson– too many marketing emails are a Revenant, when they should be a Deadpool.

Marketers are all too quick to tell us the contents of their video before we’ve clicked through to watch, or to reveal The Point of an article before we’ve made the decision to read it, all the while forgetting that we’re jaded and judgmental and that all this gives us a chance to do is to 1) quickly decide that it’s not for us, that it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, or 2) with our intrigue quashed, save it for later.

The Guys at Deadpool Marketing HQ found the tidbits*, mainly that fight scene and a few one liners, in their film that could be packaged up and presented to potential audiences in enough different ways to sustain a year long campaign of film foreplay without once giving too much away.

Most marketers only have to sustain one email, which means finding just one tidbit; the setting of your video, a blooper that you made when recording, an intriguing phrase from the article or a link to a topical news story, and then building the copy of the email and call-to-action around that.

Doing a Deadpool requires a bit more thought and a bit more creativity, and while it doesn’t guarantee an Oscar win, it does guarantee clicks.

Also, a lot less time spent flogging, or sleeping inside, a dead horse.

And I think that’s the real win, here.




* Interesting story, it was only last week, when reading up on the finer points of the Deadpool marketing campaign, that I discovered that I have been saying tidbits wrong for my entire life. I’ve been saying titbits. Tit. Bits.

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