Whether you’re a hardcore comic book aficionado or simply a casual movie goer, Deadpool from 20th Century Fox, has to be high on the list of your all time favourite superheroes. Much of the love for the foul-mouthed anti-hero is in no small part down to the role of Ryan Reynolds, and the recently released Deadpool 2 has also proved to be a hit with critics and fans alike, grossing $318,488,214 as of September 30th of this year. Due to the popularity of the film, a successful release of the DVD was always on the cards but comms agency Premier had something much more impressive in mind.
Fans of Deadpool were able to visit a special Blockbuster store in Shoreditch which was temporarily set up for two days for the release of the movie – limited-edition copies of the film were then housed in special-edition VHS-style boxes and those who brought along their old Blockbuster membership cards were able to pick up a copy of Deadpool 2 for free. The special release proved to be a huge success but what exactly was it about the event that made fans flock to the makeshift Blockbuster store in east London?
A Potted History of Blockbuster
Those old enough to remember when Blockbuster was around will already be reminiscing about “the good old days” at the sheer mention of the name. Before the internet, Blockbuster was the place to go on a Friday night after work and pick up the VHS (yes, people used to actually use them) of a film that you were desperate to watch. Whether you were getting a few friends round, trying to woo a first date or simply wanted to relax with a few beers after a tough day, Blockbuster provided a welcome departure from the mundane routine of everyday life and walking through the doors was equivalent to entering a digital sweet shop; incidentally, they also offered a plethora of tasty snacks and drinks in order to complement your film watching experience.
Although one solitary store still exists in the U.S., the company officially ceased trading back in 2013 and plenty of debate has ensued as to exactly why this happened. Some argued that the emergence of the internet killed the chain off, whilst others argue that the company did it to themselves. Whichever side of the fence you sit on with regards to the Blockbuster fiasco, it’s fair to say that the company definitely shot themselves in the foot when, as reported by online casino Betway, they rejected a deal where they would part with $50 million for media service newbie Netflix in order to help launch their new DVD-by-mail service – Blockbuster had an annual revenue of close to $6 billion back in the 1990s and is now virtually defunct, whilst Netflix is thriving with a market value of around $152 billion. Of course, they do say that hindsight is 20/20 but, even so, there’s a good chance that someone who used to work for Blockbuster is out there sobbing into their microwave meal whilst ironically watching a Netflix special.
Good Nostalgia Is Hard To Find
It’s important to remember, first of all, that the marketing campaign behind the first Deadpool movie was both elaborate and impressive – from the advert featuring the poo emoji, to the Celine Dion music video and duplicitous but genius Valentine’s Day trailer, Premier made sure that you wouldn’t be forgetting Ryan Reynolds and his red spandex in a hurry. With all of this in mind, the idea relating to the release of the Deadpool 2 DVD had to be both outrageous and bold and the pop-up Blockbuster store represented both in equal measure.
For a start, the idea of buying a DVD from any sort of shop is a pretty novel concept – ordering online has never been easier and sites such as Amazon do next-day delivery, so waiting is a thing of the past. In addition to this, it’s now possible to purchase a film, download it and start watching within a matter of minutes so there’s no real need to ever leave the couch. However, the fact that Deadpool proved such a big hit with the older demographic due to its adult humour meant that the Blockbuster pop-up shop was automatically targeting those who were old enough to remember the halcyon days of the chain and as a result, Premier and 20th Century Fox Entertainment were onto a winner from the off.
Marketing Done Right
If the team behind the pop-up Blockbuster concept didn’t get a significant pay rise, then they need to seek employment elsewhere. Whilst many avid film enthusiasts were saddened by the departure of Blockbuster, the introduction of services such as Netflix has certainly softened the blow and you could be forgiven for forgetting that Blockbuster was ever a thing. However, the introduction of the temporary pop-up store no doubt resonated with people and the national attention that it garnered meant that people who weren’t present at the release were still targeted.
With the success that Deadpool 2 enjoyed at the box office, the team behind the film could have been forgiven for resting on their laurels, taking the cash and running with it. However, the fact that Premier and 20th Century Fox went the extra mile is indicative of marketing done right and two companies operating at the top of their game. Who knows where Blockbuster would be now if they had those kinds of people in charge back when they had the entertainment industry eating out of the palm of their hands?