Why Deadpool’s Edgy Marketing Campaign Worked So Well, According To Ryan Reynolds


Deadpool's marketing campaign worked to perfection. Not only did its edgy, humorous and surprisingly honest presentation of the masked vigilante erase the bad-will that X-Men Origins: Wolverine's incarnation of Deadpool created, but it proved that the origin story for the character would be true to the source material. Each new piece of marketing also created a genuine buzz for the blockbuster, too. Ryan Reynolds has now explained that he believes it contributed immeasurably to Deadpool's monster success because they were able to fully utilize it and show that Wade Wilson is a lovable miscreant.

Ryan Reynolds spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about Deadpool's mesmerising marketing campaign before the Clio Key Art Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday night, where the film is nominated for best integrated marketing campaign. Reynolds admitted that he'd never taken such a hands-on approach to this side of the movie business before. However, he didn't do it alone, as he contributed ideas at all hours of the morning, and always found there was someone to answer his call. Reynolds explained:

I've never taken ownership like this before. I could email Marc or anyone on his team at three in the morning with pitches and ideas, and somehow a response would come back within 10 or 15 minutes. ... Deadpool is probably the most unpolished superhero out there, and it gave us this almost unfair advantage. We used this opportunity over and over because we had a character that is a total misfit and fucking rascal.

Ryan Reynolds still won't admit whether he was the one who leaked the test footage of him as Deadpool, which caused such a positive online response that 20th Century Fox were basically forced to proceed with the production -- even though they then only gave the blockbuster the miniscule amount of $60 million to make it. But Reynolds did at least confirm that he was the one who came up with the idea of Deadpool going trick-or-treating with real kids, which was shot on his iPhone:

Meanwhile, Fox were just as stingy when it came to the amount they were willing to spend on Deadpool's marketing campaign. This meant that a more strategic campaign was launched. So rather than spending a copious amount on the poop emoji billboards, they only bought a handful and then crossed their fingers that it would go viral. It did, and, as Reynolds puts it, this advert soon "hijacked the internet."

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There were many other moments of ingenious marketing from the Deadpool team, including Ryan Reynolds recreating Burt Reynolds' famous Playboy pose on a fur rug and Deadpool himself killing Mario Lopez...or at least seriously injuring him. Clearly it worked a treat, because Deadpool went on to gross $782.6 million to become the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. The question is, how will they top it while marketing Deadpool 2?

Gregory Wakeman