Here’s the Story Behind Deadpool’s Incredible Blu-ray Takeover at Walmart

Fox Home Entertainment asked itself, 'What would Deadpool do?'

Fox Home Entertainment
Headshot of David Griner

When a display of Blu-rays, with each covered photobombed by Deadpool, popped up this week at Walmarts across the country, we had more questions that we had answers.

Who had created this amazing in-store activation, and how did such a sweeping takeover—entailing new, customized cover sleeves for The Terminator, Predator, Office Space, Fight Club and many more—come about?

Well, now we know. The short answer is that it was a collaboration between the in-house teams at Fox Home Entertainment and Los Angeles creative agency Neuron Syndicate, which designed the covers.

For more on the in-store stunt’s origin story, check out our interview below with Julia Howe, EVP and co-head of worldwide marketing for Fox Home Entertainment:

Adweek: What was the origin of this packaging stunt? Were there concerns it might be a bit too ambitious to pull off?
Julia Howe, Fox Home Entertainment: We asked ourselves, if Deadpool wanted to self-promote himself at retail, how would he do it? The character is a treasure trove of pop culture references, so it just seemed like the logical solution. In terms of ambition, since Deadpool’s initial release, the marketing bar has constantly been raised. In essence, concern really doesn’t factor in because we don’t have a choice.

How did you select which movies to give the Deadpool treatment to? Were there some that just didn’t work due to subject matter or cover art style?
Selection is a pretty organic process that included commercial viability, current placement in-store, tone and what seemed clever and made us laugh. Those films also needed to be iconic to a degree and have recognizable art. You kind of have to ask yourself, “Is this a film that the Deadpool character would egotistically see himself as the star?”

Who designed the covers? Was there an agency behind all this, or was it in-house teams?
It all starts with our in-house creative, brand and retail marketing teams to come up with the opportunity, and then we pull in our experienced and trusted partners to pull off the execution, and in this case that was L.A.-based Neuron Syndicate.

What was the approval process like for something like this? Did anyone involved in the older movies need to be involved, or is it solely at Fox Home Entertainment’s discretion?

The real difficulty in this really lies with coming up with the right set of titles and honing the creative—once we got that right, it was an easy concept to sell in.

How have sales been on these Deadpool-wrapped Blu-rays? Based on reactions we’ve seen, it seems like they’d be hot collector’s items.
They’ve just set this week in Walmart’s across the country, so it’s early to tell, but we’ve never had a Blu-ray or DVD package trend on Reddit, so we’re certainly hopeful!

Any future plans or thoughts on building off this idea? Or is the lesson something broader, like keeping your in-store displays in mind when doing creative planning?
Retail is a fantastic place to be in front of tens of millions of consumers every week, and we’re incredibly passionate about making sure our movies stand out on the shelf.

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."