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The Avengers and, more broadly, the Marvel universe has dominated the box office over the last decade. 2019 marked an end of an era as Marvel released the final movie of its mega-franchise, and naturally brands found ways to piggyback off the success of the franchise. Here’s a list of the best Avengers inspired marketing campaigns in 2019.
Before we get into our favourite Avengers inspired marketing campaigns, let’s first talk about what “Piggyback” marketing is. Piggyback marketing is nothing new. It is a mutually beneficial partnership where two or more companies represent and utilize each other’s (non-competing) products in their marketing. Piggybacking is cost-effective and it helps brands break into a new market in a less intrusive way.
Axe piggybacked off the Avengers by creating their own Avengers inspired superheroes. Axe’s “Fresh-Men” consists of a diverse group of teenage boys and girls who possess’ incredible powers. These superheroes exist simultaneously in the same universe as the Avengers but have their own unique adventures.
Axe presents their heroes in classic comic fashion and has crafted full storylines that you can find on the Axe website. This campaign is a shining example of marketers expanding on the brand they are piggybacking off of. And in doing so, they bring together diverse audiences.
Google is famous for having fun with their search engine. During holidays or special events, they transform their home page to reflect current events or pop culture. In the lead up to the release of Endgame, Google decided to continue this theme with an Avengers inspired campaign. Weeks before the release, Google gave its users the power of the “Infinity Gauntlet”. Whereas the “Infinity Gauntlet” allowed the main villain of the Avengers, Thanos, the power to eliminate half of all living things in the universe. If you search “Infinity Gauntlet” on Google’s search engine, you will see an Infinity Gauntlet widget. By clicking on the widget, half of all the content on the page disintegrates, reminiscent of the movie.
This became incredibly viral and is a creative example of piggyback marketing. This campaign highlighted Google creative culture and created this unique buzz that cut through the noise surrounding the Avengers release.
Gillette got into on the action by releasing an Avengers “technology” collaboration. Marketed as a “Stark Industry” partnership, Gillette jokingly introduced a line of razors with futuristic technologies, inspired by the Avengers. Gillette’s clever stunt was so realistic, some consumers tried to purchase the fictional products. Although it was a prank, this campaign showcased Gillette’s futuristic technology.
Piggybacking relationships typically benefit and promote each other. However, MasterCard and the Avengers teamed up to achieve something greater than increasing their bottom-line, they decided to take on cancer. We love to see brands using their platform and influence to tackle something important. Cancer has negatively affected millions of Canadians and is the ultimate villain. MasterCard and Marvel’s partnership with Stand Up To Cancer highlights the real heroes: the cancer researchers, patients and survivors.
The Avengers have created a powerful brand and even as the series comes to a close, the partnerships will continue. The Avengers and Marvel phenomena are too big to slow down now, look to see more partnerships, marketing tie-in and piggybacking. Now it seems Marvel and the Avengers series have broken into almost every industry. Name a market, and you’ll likely see a brand leveraging the superhero buzz to promote their product. Much like how Mickey Mouse continues to stay in the mainstream, you’ll see the Avengers for years to come.
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