Netflix - Marvel’s The Punisher
“The Truth Must Be Taken” Campaign
To reposition a notoriously brutal anti-hero, this integrated campaign engaged the IP’s existing core fanbase early and often to help expand viewership to newer, broader audiences around the globe.
global launch campaign
- campaign strategy
- creative strategy
- a/v creative & production
- spots & trailers
- key art
In launching The Punisher, the challenge was making this potentially polarizing, gun-loving antihero appealing to new audiences while maintaining political sensitivity, and at the same time remaining authentically true to the original IP so as not to alienate core fans.
We saw it as a strategic misstep to present Frank Castle as just another badass superhero, or to focus simply on his thirst for brutal revenge. Instead, we wanted to use the campaign to add context to his rage, while serving as a dark mirror to our own world where many of us feel manipulated by our leaders and institutions.
The campaign - led by our tagline “The Truth Must Be Taken” – intentionally leans into the cues of a conspiracy thriller in order to motivate Frank’s savage actions while also opening the door to new and broader “opportunity” audiences.
Tactics focused on engaging the character’s core fanbase early. Enabling fans to discover hidden assets and decipher subtle symbolism led to amplified social dialogue that served to raise awareness among a wider audience.
Avoiding expected super-hero tropes, the key art leveraged black and white portraiture and a heavy use of redaction to signal a surprisingly mature direction for this Marvel character.
We kicked off the campaign by cryptically dropping this custom-shot teaser after the end-credits of “The Defenders” season finale. knowing that the fans who’d discover it would then amplify it out through social channels.
"REFLECTIONS CHARACTER SERIES"
This custom video series features the show’s main characters confronting their own images in a shattering mirror. Each character reacts in uniquely revealing ways to the exploding shards of glass that contain visual easter-eggs and subtle plot clues that drove social dialogue among anticipatory fans.
Closer to launch, this show-footage trailer was designed to help convert the broader conspiracy-thriller audience while reassuring core Punisher fans that this new iteration was as brutally bad-ass as ever.
LIMITED EDITION COMIC BOOK
We further engaged core comic book fans by working with Netflix to design the official limited edition “The Punisher” Marvel comic book cover, to illustrate to fans that we were here to do right by Frank Castle’s roots and violent antihero origin.
With assets like these, and the series’ key art, motion billboards, and social posts, we used stylistic representations of the themes of deception, mistrust, and the rage of loss as connective threads to draw new viewers in to the universe of The Punisher, while teasing out the breadcrumbs to tantalize core fans.
The campaign garnered nearly 2M views across social media and successfully brought existing Marvel fans to the hit show, as well as new viewers and first-time subscribers to the Netflix service, all leading to a quick renewal for Season 2. But perhaps as impressively, also helped to keep the property clear of the many cultural and political firestorms that were raging during The Punisher’s campaign.
MARVEL'S THE PUNISHER SEASON 2 LAUNCH CAMPAIGN
A selection of assets from our Season 2 launch campaign