Marketing is one of the most important aspects of a film. In the months leading up to its release, the studio puts together trailers, posters, and other materials to make the project appeal to the widest audience possible. Even when a movie is a surefire hit at the box office, stellar advertising can be the reason it goes on to break records instead of just posting decent figures. There’s no denying that film marketing has become an art form and can play a large role in how viewers perceive what’s coming through the pipeline. Here are 10 of the greatest marketing campaigns of all-time.
Thought of as a risk by 20th Century Fox, they finally rolled the dice on an R-rated Deadpool film and it exceeded even the rosiest expectations. A major assist has to be given to the film’s marketing campaign, which remained true to the Deadpool character throughout. Ryan Reynolds was a willing participant in several YouTube videos where he appeared in character, and the trailers illustrated that this wasn’t your typical superhero movie. Perfectly blending comedy and action, the Deadpool campaign was hugely successful and helped the film become the highest-grossing R-rated film ever made. It kept going all the way through the Blu-ray release, so Fox knew they had a winner.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
When Disney and Lucasfilm announced Star Wars Episode 7 would hit theaters in 2015, it was already a massive blockbuster. But once the Mouse House started revving up the promotional campaign, anticipation and hype reached a fever pitch. The trailers smartly avoided any major plot spoilers, and instead focused on the tone and nostalgia for the brand. Not every film can boast that its previews made fans tear up with joy. Add in events like Force Friday to celebrate the arrival of tie-in merchandise, and it was a magical time to follow the galaxy far, far away. Everything paid off, as Force Awakens broke just about ever box office mark.
The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan got people buzzing for his Batman sequel in the final scene of Batman Begins, revealing the Joker card. The ensuing marketing campaign for The Dark Knight sent fans into a frenzy. Using viral marketing, a website for Harvey Dent was launched, giving viewers their first look at Heath Ledger’s Joker. Easter eggs at Comic-Con 2007 and even Dominos Pizza provided fans with more reveals to drum up the hype and anticipation. It all ended with people gathering in New York and Chicago to watch a Bat signal light up to celebrate the arrival of the film, which earned unprecedented acclaim. Not to mention, the trailers were pretty great too.
J.J. Abrams is known for his infamous mystery box, where he keeps the twists and turns of his latest project under wraps until the film’s premiere. This arguably got started back on Cloverfield. The first trailer for the creature feature was a surprise attachment to the first Transformers movie in 2007, telling moviegoers that if they wanted more, they had to head to 1-18-08.com. The website told a story that ran parallel to the film’s actual narrative, setting the stage for the world without revealing any crucial details. Abrams kept the focus on the monster instead of the characters to manage expectations and Cloverfield became a hit.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel Studios had an up-and-down year in 2013 with the lukewarm reactions to Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. They needed to mix things up to reinvigorate the brand, and the Guardians of the Galaxy were the answer. Taking characters even the most devout comics reader was unaware of and turning them into movie stars is no easy task, but a catchy soundtrack and trailers showcasing pulpy space opera thrills were more than enough to get the job done. It was apparent this would be different than any previous Marvel movie, which was a welcomed development. The Guardians are now just as marketable as their Avengers counterparts, which was unthinkable only a few years ago.
After the mixed receptions of Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, the DCEU is in desperate need of a hit. Luckily the… villains are here to save the day. Ever since the first trailer premiered at Comic-Con last year, the marketing for Suicide Squad has been highly praised. Gleefully kinetic and scored by classic pop songs, the previews have done a great job of highlighting the colorful cast of characters that make up the ensemble. Most importantly, Suicide Squad looks fun, which is a refreshing departure from the darker undertones of the franchise’s previous installments. Whether it pays off in the long run remains to be seen, but people are definitely excited.