The Infinity Saga has reached its crescendo in Avengers: Endgame. In just the first week, the movie has become the eighth highest grossing film of all time. Let’s look at how Marvel’s marketing strategy has contributed to the success of the movie.
The 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Avengers: Endgame was released on April 26, 2019. The film grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide in just the first week. Marvel Studios spent over $200 million on its marketing campaign to promote the movie, and it is apparent that the efforts have successfully panned out.
We drew out four key lessons from Marvel’s marketing strategy that propelled Avengers: Endgame to such enormous success.
Lesson #1: Keep Widening Your User Base
The promotional budget for Avengers: Endgame was $50 million more than that of Avengers: Infinity War ($150 million). The marketing campaign for Avengers: Endgame has been the most expensive promotional campaign in the history of Marvel Studios. But despite the evident guaranteed success for the Endgame, why did Marvel choose to spend so much money in promoting the film?
The answer is, to expand its horizons by reaching out to broader demographics. As reported by Deadline, Marvel rolled out ten custom ad-supported spots, enabling them to connect with an audience that traditional media isn’t generally capable of.
Marvel Studios tied up with brands such as GEICO, Coca-Cola, OPPO, Google, Hertz, Audi, and Stand Up to Cancer, to name a few. As affirmed by Mindy Hamilton (SVP, Global Partnerships and Marketing – Marvel Entertainment), the purpose was to not appeal just to the traditional Marvel fanboys, but millennials, teens, multicultural audiences and families as well.
Lesson #2: Pre-buzz: Don’t Give Out Too Much Information
The Marvel fan base was abuzz as Marvel released the Avengers: Endgame trailer in December 2018. While the trailer was met with rave reviews, it was remarkably different compared to that of Avengers: Infinity War, or any MCU movie for that matter.
Marvel went against the grain and released a trailer that focused on characters than revealing the movie plot or showing extravagant action sequences.
As the trailer gave away very little information, it led to fans anticipating what would happen in the movie and left them wanting more. Marvel played the same card again with the second trailer released in March 2019.
Lesson #3: Strike an Emotional Chord
Your content or ads make the most impact when they appeal to the primal emotions of your audience. The second trailer shows Iron Man and Captain America getting nostalgic, and how the remaining members of The Avengers are starting again.
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion that can evoke a cascade of other emotions, and Marvel has managed to do exactly that through their marketing efforts. For avid MCU fans, the trailer is certainly an emotional rollercoaster as the journey that started over a decade ago comes to a close.
Lesson #4: Social Media and Influencer Marketing
Social media is still a massive outreach platform to connect with a wider audience base. Marvel Entertainmentand Avengers collectively have over 43 million followers on Instagram. Both accounts kick-started the movie promotion on social media one month before the scheduled movie release date. Both shared four similar posts portraying all the characters from the Avengers with the caption 1 Month. #AvengersEndgame.
Screenshot of Marvel’s Instagram Posts Leading Up to the Movie Release
Notice that all the characters alive have color renders whereas characters that were neutralized by Thanos have monochrome renders.
Marvel also stuck with the hashtag #AvengersEndgame consistently throughout the marketing campaign.
Influencer marketing is also an effective outreach medium to amplify your reach on social media. In such cases, you don’t need to involve external influencers since the film itself has a star-studded cast. The Russo Brothers, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner among others promoted the movie through their social media channels.
The cast also tweeted the movie trailer with Whatever it takes as the caption prevalent in the trailer.
Whatever it takes. Watch the brand-new trailer for #AvengersEndgame, in theaters April 26. pic.twitter.com/Irsq173RP2
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) March 14, 2019
Takeaway for Marketers
Of course, Marvel has poured in a lot of money in promoting the movie. While not every brand can manage to allocate such an extravagant budget to marketing, the lessons outlined in this article can be replicated on different scales depending on your budget and resources.
We are certainly curious to know how you would go about implementing these strategies into your marketing activities. Let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook. We’re listening!