Hollywood laughed when Ryan Reynolds tried to make an action film – until it made $783M!
Here’s the story and marketing tricks that turned this ‘Hollywood laughingstock’ to box-office sensation!
Have you ever been told that you couldn’t do something, even though you knew you were capable of it? Well, that’s exactly what happened to Ryan Reynolds, and he’s laughing all the way to the bank now.
Let’s start with some quick facts: Ryan Reynolds is an A-list celebrity with 60 million+ social media followers. He’s an actor who has earned over $2.2 billion and is also the owner of several companies, including a gin company, telecom, soccer team, and a marketing agency. He’s a true jack of all trades.
Reynolds’s obsession with the Deadpool comic began in 2004. He saw a reflection of himself in the character: quick-witted, a jokester, and with R-rated humor. He was determined to make a movie out of it to show audiences that his personality was what they wanted to see.
Unfortunately, the producers were not convinced. Reynolds pitched the movie to them 46 times over the next 11 years, but they always rejected him. They knew which movies would be a success, and an R-rated superhero movie did not fit the mold.
Reynolds refused to give up, and finally, someone leaked Deadpool test footage, and the fans demanded the movie. Fox agreed to make it, but only with the lowest budget possible – $58 million. Most action movies have a budget of twice that amount, but this was Ryan’s chance to prove that he could make a box-office hit with a low-budget.
How did he do it?
He had to make the audience emotionally connect with Deadpool, using low-cost social media and guest appearances. In his ads, he made the character confident, yet vulnerable. His plan was to use “The Pratfall Effect,” where competent people are vulnerable, making them more likable.
And it worked!
The movie made $783 million and became the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. Reynolds proved that a low-budget movie could still make it big, and he did it by creating an emotional connection with the audience.
So, how can you use Ryan’s marketing trick to build a connection with your customers?
Admit when you make a mistake: Customers don’t trust companies that hide mistakes. Showing your flaws will make you more likable.
Don’t hide your weaknesses: Instead, address them in a positive frame. Reynolds used this technique in his mobile network commercial, where customers were worried about the quality of the service because it was cheap. He had a customer say the service was great, addressing the concern in a positive way.
Use humor: Customers feel connected to companies that show a personality. Reynolds used humor to promote his gin brand by announcing it would be served on Virgin Airlines, even though he admitted he didn’t know anything about business.
In conclusion, a small marketing budget can help you beat your competitor. It forces you to create an emotional connection with the customer. Create an emotional connection, and customers will buy. Just like Ryan Reynolds did with Deadpool, you too can turn a Hollywood laughingstock into box-office gold.
Credit: Brian O’Connor & Stephanos Spyrou