Adweek Podcast: What's Next for Marvel's Marketing Machine?

Engaging Gen Z and overcoming superhero fatigue

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When Avengers: Endgame surpassed Avatar as the highest grossing movie of all time in 2019, it looked like Marvel Studios was invincible.

Fast forward four years, however, and the picture looks very different.

The unfortunate mix of a pandemic, A-list actors (temporarily) hanging up their capes, and a push to streaming has resulted in superhero fatigue, with critics, audiences and industry professionals losing faith in the franchise machine.

The latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Marvels, bombed over the weekend, clocking the lowest MCU box office debut in the studio’s history.

On the latest episode of Yeah, That’s Probably an Ad, Adweek’s Europe brand editor Rebecca Stewart is joined by senior producer Al Mannarino and co-authors Joanna Robinson and Dave Gonzales, who along with Gavin Edwards recently released MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, the unauthorized, behind-the-scenes look into the franchise.

During the conversation, they discussed the Marvel marketing machine, where Marvel’s brand downturn started, and how it can retain audiences who are losing interest in superhero stories.

They also unpack recent successful marketing efforts from Marvel, including the brand partnership with McDonald’s and the Disney+ series Loki, and if a rebrand or relaunch is in Marvel Studios’ future.

Stream the new episode below, listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or find it on Spotify.