Deadpool 2 is now in theaters, and to herald its arrival, its marketing team has clearly pulled out all the stops. The stunts for Deadpool two years ago were wild enough, with wacky mock rom-com posters, a fake Tinder profile, and more. Now, the team has outdone itself with promotion for the sequel.
The Deadpool franchise is an eclectic mashup of genres and a meta-parody of the superhero genre, so the very weird tone set by its marketing stunts matches its product perfectly. I majored in marketing in college, and I was once on the brink of working for an ad agency, so I have to give props to this team. In a world dominated by behemoths like Avengers: Infinity War, which is still in theaters, a scrappier brand like Deadpool has to be good at this kind of creative marketing.
Here’s a more-or-less comprehensive rundown of all the crazy ads and stunts that Fox has rolled out in the lead-up to Deadpool 2’s release. (We’ve excluded Ryan Reynolds’ countless tweets.)
First, here’s one of the more convincing romantic comedy posters advertising the initial Deadpool release on February 14th, 2016.
Deadpool 2 started its promotional materials early, as far back as this Bob Ross clip from late 2017:
At Thanksgiving, Deadpool showed us his homemaking skills:
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) November 9, 2017
Then, in December, Deadpool released a clip of him learning Portuguese and advertising free tattoo designs in time for Brazil’s annual Comic Con Experience.
On February 7th, a more earnest Deadpool 2 teaser dropped, with actual clips from the movie and glimpses of the action. But just before you think things are getting super serious and heated, Deadpool hits pause, noting that Cable is just wearing a green sock on his arm. He takes matters into his own hands, bringing the Cable action figure out to play house and replace parts of the trailer.
If that wasn’t enough, get a load of the description box for this teaser:
“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.”
Then around Valentine’s Day, Deadpool 2 dropped several romantic cards, all with jokes tying back to the characters. The text is, of course, in Comic Sans.
For Easter, Deadpool got cozy with a golden egg. Also around this time, he released his own coloring book for the fake holiday National Crayon Day. Deadpool fans who are part of his fan club could receive the coloring pages via email, which the superhero encourages you to color and send back to him. He may or may not hang them up on his wall!
Another celebration that Deadpool interrupted: Hugh Jackman’s birthday message to his wife, as seen in this clip from Twitter. (Also note the song, which is some nice foreshadowing for another stunt to come.)
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) April 27, 2018
Both Deadpool movies are R-rated, so it makes sense that the hero advertises some more adult products. His brand of choice: Espolòn, a Mexican tequila company, which gives Deadpool the perfect chance to insult Ryan Reynolds, who recently bought a gin company.
Let’s not forget the amazing music video Céline Dion put out on May 3rd, which features some poignant scenes from the movie, as well as Deadpool dancing in heels and posing provocatively. “We need to take you down to a 5, 5 and a half. Phone it in,” Deadpool tells Céline. “Beat it, Spider-Man,” she retorts. In some ways, the collaboration might have happened because Céline, like Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool, is Canadian, as Reynolds told the USA Today. In a behind-the-scenes clip, Reynolds says that a hologram Céline performed in the “Ashes” music video because the real Céline has a restraining order against him.
Last week, Deadpool 2 announced a branding deal with Trolli Candy to make an edible candy version of Deadpool’s tiny hand. A poster claimed that the new line of “Tiny Hands” snacks have “delicate curves” and are “intensely satisfying” being “firm, yet, soft.” It was definitely not the last of Deadpool’s brand sponsorships: he also teamed up with Loot Crate, 7-Eleven, and Mike’s Harder beer, but this was one of the more inventive.
Also from last week, 20th Century Fox released a YouTube video of David Beckham rewatching the part of the original Deadpool where he gets insulted: “You ever hear David Beckham speak? It’s like he mouth-sexed a can of helium.” Deadpool texts him kissy emoji and begs forgiveness. It’s as if this franchise is generating its own fan videos and spoofs, removing the need for yaoi fan fiction.
Not satisfied to simply tweet about Deadpool on every possible occasion, Ryan Reynolds also went on South Korean television to make a surprise appearance on singing competition show King of Mask Singer as… a sparkly unicorn. In a shimmery cape and mask, he sang an eerily pathos-laden cover of “Tomorrow,” from the musical Annie. His reveal afterward was, understandably, a showstopper.
Then, a fake LinkedIn page popped up for Peter, a recruit with absolutely zero superpowers whom Deadpool hires for the X-Force anyway. (He also has a Twitter account.) Peter’s LinkedIn page lists him as an X-Force recruit since April, and a sales manager for Excalibur for 20 years before that. It also boasts a LinkedIn article that Peter wrote himself, published two days ago, with a photo of his wife, her shirtless personal trainer, and Peter. If Peter returns for the X-Force film, I want to hear more about his quirky marriage life and his obsession with bees.
The hype has even invaded the DVD racks in Walmart, where the Deadpool marketing team replaced famous titles like The Terminator or Assassin’s Creed. Deadpool declares obnoxiously but quite in character, “My face is on all these movies that I’m not in! #mustbedreaming”
guys look at the movie rack at walmart! brett just sent me the photo. the promo for deadpool is unbelievable pic.twitter.com/eDSL05MLbg
— semi-stable centenarian ⭐️ (@rainbowslinky) May 15, 2018
Deadpool 2 is in theaters now. At this point, you can just think of the film as a nearly two-hour elaborate marketing stunt for Ryan Reynolds.