Deadpool, 20th Century Fox's 'merc with a mouth' has been mouthing off a lot in a ubiquitous marketing campaign targeting a broad spectrum of viewers while tying into almost conceivable event over the last year with often lewd and self-aware humour.
It ran work through Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother's Day, ComicCon, released awful Valentine's Day cards, and even marked non-day, National Crayon Day with a Deadpool themed colouring book. Furthermore, Deadpool was rejected from The Avengers just ahead of the launch of Infinity War and also interrupted a heartfelt birthday message from Hugh Jackman to his wife.
Scarcely a week past where the masked merc didn't swagger into a space, event or media property he has no business occupying, all part of an unconventional marketing campaign that sparked the following question from The Guardian, 'is this the most annoying marketing campaign ever?'.
Deadpool 2 hopes to breach the original movie's $783.1m at the global box office barrier, an especially notable achievement with it carrying an R-rating, and being produced for just $58m. It will do so continuing its strategy of fourth-wall breaking, meta-marketing that shows very little content from the showreel. It may not be able to pretend it is a romance with a Valentine's Day launch again however.
There are three standout efforts that came out late into the campaign. In the first one, Deadpool discovers the repercussions of tangling with English football legend David Beckham. The merc made a rude, throw-away reference to Beckham's voice in the first movie, and this is gag is referenced. In the video, Beckham watches - and rewatches - the insult before Deadpool appears at the door to express his deepest apologies.
It's worth noting that Deadpool worked with Beckham's old club, Manchester United to publicise the first movie. It saw United legends like Wayne Rooney hitting overpowered penalties at the anti-hero.
And as this article was being written, the brand's partnership with Manchester United bore fruit. Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Luke Shaw, Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata all got in on the action.
The next standout example is a bespoke music video and single created with Canadian singer Celine Dion. In it Deadpool complemented the epic ballad with a ballet performance in high heels.
At the end, he urged Dion to dial her performance down from 11 to five for the Deadpool sequel. It also gave Dion the opportunity to try out the following pun, claiming her fans would be "laughing their ashes off".
The Deadpool 2 campaign kicked off in earnest with a teaser released during the cinematic run of Logan (March 2017).
In it, Deadpool parodied Superman’s phonebooth costume change – albeit at a much slower pace that saw him appear fatally late to the scene of a mugging. This boasted a Ben and Jerry's product placement, showing how ripe the property is for product placement.
The studio has treated marketing content with as much reverence and thought as the movie itself, keeping on the writing crew to develop each skit. The first trailer again teased a tiny amount of footage and instead had the merc reenact scenes from the movie using toys.
Next was a Bob Ross parody called Wet on Wet. A homage to the PBS artist and his 'happy trees', the slot serves as an excuse to make cocaine and paint-eating jokes, interspersed with a slither (10 seconds) of scenes from the movie. At the end, a Thanksgiving portrait featuring the cast is unveiled with the sign off 'Hugs not drugs'.
On the YouTube video, Fox also pasted in an almost nonsensical bio about the video, a keen eye for attention.
"After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover."
On the social media side, an account has been created for 'normal guy' character Peter. In the movie, he is an average Joe who saw the ad and is stoked to be on Team Deadpool - and he wants you to know about it.
This account has drilled up some surreal behind-the-scenes and some cutting commentary on the dangers poised by swans.
In typical Peter fashion, the character even boasts a LinkedIn account. His bio describes him as follows.
"I've been in sales for over 20 years. When collaborating with senior executives to establish and execute a sales goal for the region, I have a proven record of success using data driven initiatives and incorporating ground-breaking regional strategies to best reach consumers.
Also, I love bees! I'm an amateur apiarist who loves talkin' hive. :)"
He's recently left a long-lasting role at a cutlery firm.
Knowing Deadpool the character may have a bigger role to play than is being revealed by the marketing.
The movie has its share of brand partners, a blockbuster superhero movie does not come cheap. At least traditional ones don't.
At this stage in Deadpool's life, it is hard to tell what is a paid-for promotion or an earnest shout out for the likes of a chimichanga. Due to his fourth-wall breaking nature Deadpool is likely to throw in a product placement without the blink of an eye.
The most noticeable partnership is with Espolòn Tequila. Deadpool became the brand's creative director and rolled out some risque art and designs.
Espolòn Tequila is proud (and a little scared) to announce that #Deadpool is our new Creative Director. Stay tuned over the next several weeks as he takes over our social channels to reveal our 2018 ad campaign! Help us all. @Deadpoolmovie #Espolon https://t.co/9Mx0cAi1Dr pic.twitter.com/3MUHAeNGw6 — ESPOLÒN Tequila (@EspolonTequila) April 24, 2018
Here are the first, second and third entries from that campaign. This partnership also saw Deadpool take a swing at Ryan Reynolds who has just recently bought into a Gin company. You can see some of Deadpool's creative direction for the brand here.
Another partnership is with mike's HARDER Lemonade. This will feature product placement, new packaging, an advertising push and a consumer competition.
A comprehensive low-down of partners is available here. These include Vancouver, Lootcrate, 7 Eleven and Trolli.
Walmart also stole the show. It had Deadpool take over all of its in-store Blu-Rays. The stunt, like the merc's marketing has been omnipresent and irrepressible.
Like all good stunts, it kicked off in the darkness of Reddit.
Finally, Imax has released an eye-catching one of a kind movie poster marking the movie. The unicorn, which is synonymous with Deadpool at this point, made an appearance.
There yet another out of home advertising campaign, this time around the creative leverages the poo emoji to maximum effect.
Deadpool 2 is released in the UK 16 May.
Below is the final (official) trailer for the movie.