Avengers: Endgame Is Marketing Itself All Wrong (And It's Working)

The marketing campaign for Avengers: Endgame is in full swing, but Marvel is not truly showing what the movie will contain - and it's working. Marvel Studios launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 and in the decade of movies since, they've been building towards Earth's Mightiest Heroes finally fighting Thanos. As proven at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the first encounter did not go the way of the heroes as they couldn't stop half of the universe's population from disappearing.

This failure has radically shaken the surviving heroes to their cores, and when audiences get to see them again in Avengers: Endgame, they will still be struggling to accept what happened. These are the Avengers after all, and all of the lives lost will not be easily forgotten, especially by them. Based on everything we know about the movie's actual plot, they'll be attempting in some way to bring back the heroes who died in Infinity War and fix their post-Decimation world. This could be done by the Avengers time traveling, finding out the victims aren't actually dead, or some wilder explanations - and the marketing for Avengers: Endgame isn't being helping solve the puzzle.

Related: Avengers: Endgame Super Bowl TV Spot Breakdown

The first trailer for Endgame arrived late last year and surprised many with a doom and gloom feel that focused completely on the characters. Now, Marvel's released a new Super Bowl TV spot that revealed plenty of new footage, but also isn't as revealing as past marketing campaigns have been. They do still have a movie to sell at the end of the day, but they're taking a completely different approach with Avengers: Endgame than what they've done for any of their prior films. So far, this strategy is working.

What Avengers: Endgame's Marketing Is Doing Differently

Black Widow and Captain America in Avengers Endgame

One of the biggest changes Marvel has made to Avengers: Endgame's marketing strategy when compared to past films is what they are showing, or more surprisingly, what they aren't. Marvel is going completely against the grain of blockbuster thinking and marketing by not showing any of the spectacle. They've not been shy in the past of using the action set pieces of their films to sell audiences on the latest MCU installment, and the Avengers franchise is no different.

The trailers for The Avengers leaned heavily on all the crossover action and weren't afraid to show moments from the final fight against the Chitauri, including some that were even very spoilery. Avengers: Age of Ultron did the same thing, with the Hulkbuster vs Hulk fight, in particular, being a center piece of the campaign. Even looking at Infinity War, Marvel was not afraid to give away almost every action set piece to get audiences excited. So far, there's been no action shots in the marketing for Avengers: Endgame though.

Related: Marvel Is Releasing Captain Marvel Too Close To Avengers: Endgame

Marvel's doubled down on their no-action marketing approach and are breaking tradition again by refraining to show the "money shot" of the team assembled. The very first trailer for The Avengers showed the now-iconic 360 degree shot of the Avengers assembled on the streets of New York; the first trailer for Age of Ultron showed the shot of the team leaping across the screen from the beginning of the film; and Marvel even filmed a fake scene for the marketing of Infinity War to drum up more excitement.

With no action, Marvel has opted to instead sell Avengers: Endgame completely on the characters. Audiences have come to know and love many MCU characters over the last decade, but this is still a tad surprising method to take. Marvel is basically attempting to generate just as much interest in Endgame that they did with past films by showing Captain America (Chris Evans) crying and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) near death, instead of them ready to avenge.

Why Endgame's Trailers Have Been So Different

Tony Stark in ship closeup in Avengers Endgame

This different strategy is not a mistake either, but instead a deliberate continuation by Marvel Studios to show what happened after the snap. The majority of Infinity War feels like a standard MCU blockbuster with plenty of action and jokes, but the latter stopped by the end of the movie. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo will likely have worked in some quips throughout Endgame - just look at the appearance of Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) at the end of the first Endgame trailer - but they may not be as prominent as past MCU films. If this is the case, these trailers are gearing audiences up for a more somber tone than they're used to.

As much as Marvel wants to sell Avengers: Endgame with this darker tone, there will still be plenty of action set pieces. The simplest explanation for why Marvel is not showing any of them in the marketing is that they're trying to protect spoilers. The hero shot alone could be the biggest spoiler of them all, if it is the much discussed "every character" scene. Whenever and however the Avengers get their next shot at Thanos could be a spoiler too if they're battling throughout time. Marvel's yet to outright confirm the time travel elements of Endgame's story, but if this is the plot of the movie, then this would limit what they can show in terms of the fights.

Not showing any of the action, the hero shot, or any real plot points effectively means that Marvel is partially marketing Endgame the wrong way - at least by blockbuster terms. Just look at any recent blockbuster's marketing campaign and you see adventure, spectacle, the plot, and typically teases of the end. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has said that Endgame marketing won't show past first 20 minutes, which would be unusual for one of the biggest blockbusters of all-time. The marketing will instead just be showing the set up to the conclusion of MCU's Phase 3. Despite all of these details remaining hidden, the hype for Avengers: Endgame continues to build on the back of the marketing - proving that this strategy, despite being unconventional, is working.

Page 2 of 2: Why Endgame's Marketing Is For The Best

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Key Release Dates
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
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