EXCLUSIVE: Already having broken pre-sale ticket records, Avengers: Endgame has smashed through another milestone before it squashes all box office benchmarks starting Thursday, April 25: The Anthony and Joe Russo-directed feature is far and away the biggest marketing promotional campaign in Marvel Studios history at well over an estimated $200M.
This beats the media value of previous Marvel global promo partner pushes for Avengers: Infinity War (at $150M-plus,), Spider-Man: Homecoming ($140M) and last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 ($80M).
Touting a record 10 custom ad-supported spots, this year’s group of Avengers global ad partners are hitting key audiences that traditional media can’t buy.
“As our fan universe expands with new characters and stories, so has our audience,” said Mindy Hamilton, SVP of Partnership Marketing at the Walt Disney Company. “We’ve grown beyond our target audience of traditional fanboys; now it’s millennials, it’s teens, it’s multicultural and families. We look for partnerships that honor and celebrate in each of these.
For any brand looking to solidify itself on shelves or break through to a new audience, partnering with Marvel is a dream: Industry estimates say those consumer packaged brands that ally themselves with the MCU can see on average a 50% spike in sales for a specific product line that they’re promoting over a quarterly basis. In a conversation with Hanes two years ago for its promo on Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Deadline learned that 31% of all Marvel fans are apt to buy Hanes, hence partnering with the MCU was a nice fit for the underwear company.
“Marvel fans when you first meet them can’t wait to share with you their experience and fanship for our films and characters,” Hamilton said. “That fanship transfers into becoming brand ambassadors, which translates into sales and affinity for our partners.”
While a number of those brands pushing Endgame have worked with Marvel before, the studio isn’t simply about doing business with established companies but also providing a spotlight to burgeoning ones as well. Such was the case with Stand Up to Cancer, which began working with Marvel last year on Infinity War. It was the nonprofit’s first theatrical promo partnership, which consisted of a national PSA starring Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth making a powerful call to action. This month Stand Up to Cancer joins Mastercard for a new PSA featuring cancer survivors and the Endgame actors. The spot will air across TV, print, digital and out-of-home networks.
When it comes to box office tracking on MCU pics, the standard line from analysts about the demographics of potential moviegoers is that they’re “strong across the broad with everyone” but “men are a little heavier than females.” That said, Marvel sought to surge potential female teen and millennial audiences on Endgame by collaborating with Ulta Beauty for the first time on an exclusive Avengers-themed cosmetics collection. The line is composed of a 15-shade eye shadow palette, highlighter palette, four lip glosses, four matte liquid lipsticks and three cosmetics bags that will shield this arsenal of beauty must-haves. The makeup line sold out during the first weekend at several Ulta Beauty stores.
“Sometimes partners are new to the promotional arena or new to a specific category,” Hamilton said. “We’re always looking for the brand with the right DNA connection, and it gets our fans excited when they pop up in their daily life.”
After partnering with the MCU on Homecoming, Audi returns and this time, it’s showcasing its all-electric vehicles: Audi e-tron Sportback concept and Audi e-tron GT. The prestige German automobile manufacturer brought a level of intrigue to its Endgame promo, exciting fans about a potential plot reveal regarding the fate of Tony Stark and Rocket Raccoon. Audi dropped a video back in December with its head of design Marc Lichte and Robert Downey Jr., who spoke about Stark driving an Audi e-tron GT in the sequel. This indicated to fans that somehow he’ll wind up on Earth after being marooned on a planet following a huge blowout with Thanos in Infinity War.
Audi also reported that it created an in-car virtual-reality experience for backseat passengers called Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run. In the VR short, the Audi e-tron functions as the GOTG ship manned by Rocket. Every movement of the car is reflected in the experience in real time. If the car turns a tight corner, the player curves around an opposing spaceship in virtual reality. If the Audi e-tron accelerates, the ship in the experience does the same. Check out the video below:
Audi also is releasing a digital video that follows Brie Larson as Captain Marvel and her re-introduction to society after years away from Earth, whereby she learns about who the Avengers and this purple guy Thanos are and what is occurring in food and fashion. Also starring in the video is the Audi e-tron SUV, which hits the streets this spring.
“Together, McDonald’s and Marvel will join forces by Calling All Heroes and their families to convene at McDonald’s restaurants for a heroic Happy Meal family experience,” Kenny Mitchell, VP Brand Content and Engagement at McDonald’s USA, said about its Marvel promo that starts Tuesday, April 23. “At McDonald’s, families are the ultimate team, and our new campaign showcases how everyday heroes come together and bring out the best in each other. We’re excited to help customers celebrate Avengers: Endgame through this memorable family moment.”
There are 24 exclusive Avengers toys up for grabs, and the ad experience will extend over to the McDonald’s mobile app, where families can unlock seven virtual Avengers and also get an exclusive behind-the-scenes video from the movie.
Here’s an exclusive spot from McDonald’s:
Teaming up for its third MCU partnership, insurance company Geico has delivered a humorous Endgame campaign where the Geico Gecko finds out what it truly means to wield the extraordinary power of the iconic Infinity Gauntlet. The ad kicked off on April 8.
Coca-Cola has implemented arguably one of its largest movie campaigns in recent years, going across 57 countries with a custom ad spot and custom-created cans from pop artist Tom Whalen.
Google‘s creative for Endgame explores what would happen if the world’s most helpful phone was launched into a universe in need of a little assistance. The campaign highlights how Google Pixel phones, like the Avengers, come in handy in tough situations. Additionally, Google is bringing the Avengers to the fingertips of Pixel users with its exclusive augmented-reality “Playmoji” stickers of the heroes
“Our fans are opinion makers, auto enthusiasts, always connected and early adopters of all kinds of technology,” Hamilton said. “Not surprising, as tech and innovation are central to our characters and storylines.”
With General Mills aboard, moviegoers can get a $13 movie ticket to Endgame when they purchase three participating Big G Cereals and Yoplait products, always helpful for those who wish to see the Avengers finalke one more time. Custom designed packaging includes Avengers characters on Go-Gurt tubes and a collectable cutout posters on the back of Big G cereals including Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Hertz launched a national TV ad campaign with a cameo made by Captain Marvel and Iron Man about the seamless “no drama” experience customers enjoy when they rent a car from Hertz. The spot airs from April 8 through the end of May.
Like Infinity War last April, Ziploc is back with a line of custom-designed sandwich bags. There’s also an OPPO Mobile campaign in 15 countries including Southeast Asia and Africa who’ll be releasing an Avenger’s inspired F11 Pro mobile phone and phone case. The marketing includes event activations, TV campaigns, and giveaways in the activating territories.
Stamford, CT-based Synchrony Financial also is a returning promo partner to the MCU on Endgame, having worked with the studio on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2., Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War. Previous Marvel cross-promotions include the launch of a Marvel Mastercard with cashback rewards. With Endgame, the financial institution has a “Save Like a Hero” campaign to encourage healthy financial habits like future-first goal setting.
Endgame officially starts previews on Thursday, April 25, and projections already have the pic eclipsing Infinity War‘s domestic opening of $257.6M, which is the biggest three-day of all time. Many B.O. analysts also see the pic rivaling the overseas opening of Infinity War, which was $382.8M, the second-best offshore start ever behind Universal’s The Fate of the Furious ($443.1M in 2017).
“This particular film has been 10 years in the making,” Hamilton said, “one that we made sure would have the best in class when in it came to brands and would help us tell this story.”