The next superhero movie to hit theaters is imminent, but unlike characters such as Iron Man, Wolverine, Black Widow or Captain America, its star is anything but usual.
Deadpool stars one of those second-tier Marvel heroes with a big following but who’s lesser known to non-comics fans. Unlike most superheroes, though, Deadpool’s whole schtick is that he’s a wise-cracking goof, almost more of a comedian than a hero. “The Merc with the Mouth” doesn’t just have something witty to say when he punches a bad guy in the face — he takes pride in turning fighting baddies into a standup performance.
The angle toward being funny will likely help Deadpool stand apart from other superhero fare, including joke-heavy movies like Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, if the movie’s anything like it’s marketing, it’s going to be very different from what Marvel movie fans are used to seeing.
In the run-up to the film’s February release, 20th Century Fox has been placing some head-scratching, clever ads to build awareness of the film. As reported by AdWeek with the photo above, The first, created with emoji (Skull-poop-letter L, or Dead-Poo-L, get it?), was definitely hard to parse — but it fully captured the kind of thing Deadpool himself would create for an ad.
The latest billboard for the film plays off a particular aspect of the movie: Deadpool’s (real name Wade Wilson, played by Ryan Reynolds) relationship with fellow superhero Copycat (real name Vanessa Carlysle, played by Morena Baccarin). The image (and a fan-made trailer to go with it) portrays the movie as a tear-jerker romance; another off-beat joke that perfectly captures Deadpool’s personality.
With videos hitting the Internet like Deadpool’s Australia Day well-wishes that make fun of his appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and other fun trailers on Twitter, 20th Century Fox is using Deadpool to break the fourth wall in a way that makes perfect sense for his character. Embracing what Deadpool is like is influencing the movie’s advertising, and that’s helping it to stand apart from other, similar projects. With DC and Marvel firing on all cylinders with their own superhero movies, out-of-the-box thinking that shows off why Deadpool is such an interesting character is a perfect way to excite viewers for the film.
The ad work for Deadpool isn’t just selling a superhero movie — it’s obviously intimately familiar with what makes its subject matter fun. Allowing the character of Deadpool not only to take center stage, but to lead its marketing efforts, is a great way for 20th Century Fox to turnDeadpool into an event and extend the movie to make even the advertising part of the fun.