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Audio branding delivers blockbuster success

Jun 21, 2018

Deadpool, also known as the 'merc with a mouth', is notorious for his razor-sharp sarcastic voice and shattering the fourth wall. The recent release of Deadpool 2 made an estimated $301 million globally in it's first weekend, both Deadpool and Deadpool 2 hold the record for the largest opening weekends for R-rated films.  But this success wasn't just down to the movies' action and wisecracks. It was a product of an innovative marketing campaign that makes expert use of audio branding – so read on to discover how this superhero really shouted above the competition.

In a genre packed with more familiar superheroes and epic storylines, the success of the series is in part thanks to its truly ground-breaking marketing campaigns. Any fan of the movies know it's Ryan Reynolds under the mask, and it may seem like a brave decision to take one of Hollywood's most famous A-listers, cover his entire face, and rely solely on his physicality and voice. But when you understand the power audio has over an audience, both in film and in marketing, you'll see how this brilliant tactic makes Deadpool stand out from the crowd.

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The carefully choreographed mayhem Reynolds' alter-ego unleashed leading up to the release of the latest instalment is nothing short of a masterclass in pioneering marketing. In one promo, Deadpool appeared at David Beckham's front door, proclaiming over the top apologies for mocking the football star's voice in the first movie. Tie-in products proved big business, with Trolli created a candy based on Deadpool's tiny hands, and Mike's Harder recreating the character's favourite bar in three American cities. And we can't forget the nearly pitch-perfect rendition of Tomorrow from Annie he sang on the Korean TV showKing of Masked Singer. He plugged liquor, frozen food, appeared on a Thanksgiving edition of Good Housekeeping, and even took over 8,000 7-Elevens. And in typical Deadpool fashion, he addressed all the publicity during the campaign's Manchester United takeover. Standing in the Old Trafford stadium, he remarks directly to the camera, "See? When you make a sequel, you have to double-down on your promotions, or you just get buried by Infinity War." It worked.

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To top it all off, Empire Magazine marked the sequel's landmark release with the world's first voice-responsive cover. Fans clambered to get their hands on the limited editions in which Deadpool inflicts 14 unique comments and insults in response to reader's questions – a tactic that made perfect sense. When the main character's face is obscured 90% of the time, what's left? His voice. Even through a physical product known for images and printed word, their marketing team found a way to deliver the character's trademark vocal sarcasm.

When you look at all the elements separately, the campaigns might seem like a scattershot approach. Football, tequila, candy, frozen food, South Korean singing contests, and yes – even a talking magazine cover. But it's when you study their use of voice you realise they've created a constant connection across all mediums and audiences. It's hard to think of another blockbuster movie that's generated as much entertaining buzz through so many diverse channels. Not only did every corporate partner deliver their own unique campaign, expert branding meant Deadpool's unique tone and expression remained unwavering through everything. It goes to show how strong the power of voice and audio branding is in a multitude of industries.