Lessons from Avengers: use cinema and plan long-term campaigns

What taking the morning off to watch Avengers: Endgame can teach you about advertising.

So, Campaign was looking for a clever, lighthearted and witty take on what the industry could learn from Avengers: Endgame and, as the cleverest, most lighthearted, wittiest and – some would say, most importantly – first executive they found who took Friday morning off work to go to see it, the ball has naturally landed in my court. Oh, stop it. You’re making me blush.

Anyway. I’m not going to get all elegiac about what a massive year this is for us nerds (Star Wars? Fought! Thrones? Sat on! Avengers? Avenged! Sob!); I’m going to pile straight into it. Nobody wants to see a beardy geek cry.

So – lesson the first!

Perhaps an obvious one, but it turns out people still go to the cinema. Not that enough media buyers or creative agencies seem to have realised that. A billion dollars' worth of "we have chosen to be here" eyeballs and, at the Imax in Waterloo where I watched it, there were four ads, each of them rubbish. Not a great Vision (which is both clever and funny, because he’s an Avenger) of our industry.

Lesson the second!

It doesn’t matter if some bits of your campaign are shit, as long as most of it is fucking amazing. Avengers: Age of Ultron was dreadful, but nobody cares, because Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Infinity War happened. Think of that next time you’re about to can a campaign because the ad you made in a bit of a rush to keep the lights on through the summer doesn’t do all the jobs you need it to do. Plan long-term (22 films!), believe in your plan and execute it. If it’s good enough (and has Robert Downey Jr being cool in it), people will stick with you.

Lesson the third!

The girls are winning. And it’s glorious. This is the closest I’ll come to a spoiler, but there’s a moment in Endgame that is so gloriously Beychella that it made me wish my son Stan was a girl, so I could be one of those dads who sent tweets about their little girls punching the air. Sure, there’s a strong (nerd/spoiler alert) argument that Captain Marvel didn’t need any help because, you know, she’s Captain Marvel. But the cinema cheered and so did I (I didn’t clap; I have my limits) and, for just a moment, the world felt like it was going to be OK.

And that, I think, is where I’ll leave it. I don’t want to get too social justice warrior about it, but there’s a lot of shit going on in the world at the moment (don’t forget to vote, kids!) and, on Friday morning, I sat and watched a gloriously diverse gang of misfits and oddities save it – and the universe to boot. There’s a message in that, I reckon.

Oh, and explosions. People love explosions. Let’s have more of them.

Dan Cullen-Shute is chief executive and co-founder of Creature

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