Each year the Shorty Awards are held in New York to honour the best of social media and influencer marketing.  A short while ago the 9th Annual Awards were held – quite a feat in itself for such a young industry. However, they clearly showcase highly effective and innovative social media and influencer promotions, including the ‘Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool’ campaign.

There are two competitions at the Shorty Awards: an Influencer competition and a Brands & Organizations competition. In the case of influencers, 12 influencers are nominated for each category through a combination of votes from the public and scores from the Real Time Academy. The Brands & Organisations category has a more formal entry process.

The Shorty Awards has evolved with social media, adding new awards each year, adapting to new trends and social media platforms as they become popular.


How the Shorty Awards Work

One whole section of the awards pays homage to the Influencer and Celebrity Brand Partnership. The winning partnerships do appear to focus more on celebrities than influencers known from social media. This is probably because they tend to feature bigger brands with deeper pockets. However, we predict the awards to evolve in the future by utilising more social media influencers.

One feature of many larger influencer marketing campaigns is that they tend to use multiple channels. The Shorty Awards recognises this by including a Multi-Platform Campaign award, along with many platform-specific awards.


Ryan Reynolds is DeadpoolRyan Reynolds is Deadpool

The winner of the Multi-Platform Campaign at this year’s 9th Shorty Awards was the Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool campaign. This highlights just how important influencer marketing is to the movie industry nowadays.

Where Fox Home Entertainment (the film studio) had a real advantage over many brands is that they had access to the perfect influencer for this campaign – Ryan Reynolds. Why is he the perfect influencer? As any fan of the film (or comic series) will know, Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool, himself.

As the movie’s lead actor, Ryan Reynolds continued his dedication to the character well after the cameras stopped rolling. The studio employed him as an influencer to promote the movie online to the character’s many fans, as well as to his personal fan base.

This was a case of a celebrity being the best possible influencer for the role, rather than being hired simply because he was a celebrity.


What Ryan Reynolds Did as an Influencer Marketer

On April Fool’s Day 2016, Ryan announced a (fake) “VHS and LaserDisc” release of the film on his social channels. He succeeded in fooling a few fans too, as they started the search for their long disposed of VHS players.  Before long the film (presumably on DVD, BluRay and downloads) became Fox’s top pre-ordered title ever.

Ryan continued to post material relating to Deadpool and even shared fan art. The studio had him participating in events like a Global Media & Fan Day, where he hosted a panel of his co-stars and producers.

He made himself available on his Facebook Livestream to interact with the film’s fans and answered many of their questions. He received over 1 million views of his Livestream.

Fox created an original Snapchat lens that transformed fans into Deadpool. Instead of being “Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool”, for a while it effectively became “You are Deadpool!” Fans loved sharing their Deadpool lens pics so much that they had 30 million views in the first 24 hours.

Fox made a video starring Ryan as Deadpool parodying an erectile dysfunction commercial. Ryan shared this on his Facebook page, gaining an incredible 15 million views, making it the second most-shared video on Facebook ever.

The studio set up a @Deadpoolmovie Twitter handle. Initially, the official Twitter account had few followers. Then Ryan used his own Twitter account to promote the official account and managed to get some of his fellow Hollywood actors from the X-universe (the universe featuring the X-Men if you know your comics), to help him out with the promotion.


Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool


Lessons Learned

The ‘Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool’ campaign certainly demonstrates the effectiveness of influencer marketing for the entertainment industry. Alright, it certainly helped that the film studio was able to employ the ultimate influencer for the campaign. However, there have been many other successful entertainment and film campaigns using influencers who are known from social media. These include “The Perfect Match,” where Codeblack Films released a game show starring popular influencers on Instagram. The makers of the LEGO Batman Movie chose to promote it during this year’s Super Bowl weekend using a select group of mum bloggers, alongside reality-show celebrities and young adult pop stars.

The key lesson is that influencer marketing will appeal to your target audience and the influencers fan base. If their fans love the message they see, they will spread it far and wide.

We’ve been involved with entertainment-focused campaigns here at PMYB. One highly successful campaign was for Apple Music at the 2017 Brit Awards, where we were able to provide huge social amplification for the awards.

Because of the huge numbers generated by the Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool campaign, there’s no surprise that the Shorty Awards chose to commemorate it.


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