Secrecy and strategy were fundamental when it comes to marketing the MCU films. After 14 years and 22 films, those two factors were crucial when it came to planning the rollout for the final installment, “Avengers: Endgame.”
Earlier this week, the publicity team behind the film’s campaign was nominated for the ICG Publicist Awards. Union Publicist, Megan Wasserman, who specialized in the international publicity who worked on the franchise from the beginning, said the success of marketing a film like “Endgame” boiled down to, “hearing needs and building relationships with publicists and talent, but also respecting the love both fans and actors and everyone involved had for the films.”
“Endgame” posed a unique challenge for Wasserman and the team because no one knew which Marvel character had been removed permanently during Thanos’ snapture. “After ‘Infinity War,’ the actors didn’t know whether they were coming back.”
The first glimpse the public was given of “Endgame” was a teaser trailer released in December. It didn’t reveal any plot details. A second trailer and character posters teased the surviving Avengers and reminded us of those who had “Fallen” in the snap with the headline “Avenge The Fallen.” But again, very few (if any) plot details on who survived.
At the first press junket for the film, empty seats were on stage for the characters who had perished in the dusting.
The strategy kept the fans on the edge of their seats. Theories were awash on forums and twitter, everyone had an opinion. After the film premiered, the studio rolled out strategic footage on the international and domestic front without spoilers.
Before the film was released, its directors, Anthony and Joe Russo posted a letter to fans asking not to spoil the film.
“It’s a mutual respect,” Wasserman says on fans refusing to spoil the film’s ending. As the theater debut rolled out around the world, the studio curated footage with care not to ruin anything for those who hadn’t seen it. “We were aware of how important this was to them,” Wasserman says. She adds, “It was also important to the actors, many of whom saw it for the first time at the world premiere.”
“For more than 10 years, we’ve asked this team to build massive publicity campaigns around movies that we really didn’t want to say a whole lot about,” President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige explained to Variety via email. “That’s not easy. It takes a tremendous amount of creativity and strategic sensibility to find and capitalize on the very best opportunities.” He adds, “Their successes are rooted in the relationships they’ve built over the years with our team, the talent and members of the press around the world. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ wasn’t just a culmination of the movies we’ve created, it was a culmination of years of hard work that ended with it becoming the biggest film of all time and it was due to this group of truly talented publicists.”
The studio not only received a nomination for their film work, they also received a nomination for their first TV series, “The Mandalorian.”
Union Publicist Darrell Borquez, who worked on the new Disney Plus show, explained the principal factors of rolling out the series were the similar, “it was all about keeping the show shrouded in secrecy.” The studio’s first episodic series had the same challenges, but somehow they managed to keep the biggest secret from the galaxy far, far away quiet. Baby Yoda became the meme-generating gift that kept on giving But did Disney know the power of Baby Yodes? “We knew,” Borquez says. “We didn’t know just how big the child would become.”
President of Marketing for Disney Studios Asad Ayaz’s key to unlocking the “Star Wars” success was all about preserving the fan experience. Plus Ayaz and Borquez collaborated closely with “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau to create the campaign.
“‘The Mandalorian’ was our first live-action ‘Star Wars’ television series and a pivotal show to launch the Disney Plus platform.” President of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy elaborates via email. “It is the new frontier and with that has come ‘great responsibility,’ as YODA would say. The success of that launch and this show could only be done with this incredibly talented publicity team inside the Walt Disney Studios.”