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Marketing Lessons From Suicide Squad’s Success

Marketing Lessons From Suicide Squad’s Success

Last night David Ayer, writer and producer for Suicide Squad, announced via Twitter that the movie has grossed more than $600 million worldwide since it’s debut on August 5. While the comic book-turned-movie may not be your cup of tea, this is important news for marketers. Why? Because it’s the perfect case study for how employ the “use the whole buffalo” marketing strategy.


If you’re not familiar with that term, I suggest you go pickup a copy of Mark Schaefer’s Social Media Explained immediately. In it he describes how when Native Americans killed a buffalo, they didn’t just eat it. They use the bones for tools and the pelts for warmth. They already put in the hard work of hunting the buffalo, so why not use it all?


This same theory goes for marketing. If you’re going to put in the effort to create an infographic/ad/video, use it in every way you can. Case and point: DC Comics latest movie about the Suicide Squad. Taking a comic that already existed, the conglomerate has made billions on TV shows (Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, etc.) and movies (hello, Batman anyone?)

From all of these mediums and installments come merchandising. This we all know. But, add in the comic conventions like Comic Con in San Diego and Awesome Con in Washington with their tickets sales, merchandising sales, costume sales prior for guests to wear to the conference, meet-and-greet passes with the stars, and the onslaught of media coverage and, well, you get the idea. They took a comic (ok more like 20+ comic characters) that already existed and distributed them across new mediums to increase the reach and impact of a work they already had in the can.


Here’s a few shots from the Awesome Con convention in DC this summer as prime example of the impact your campaign can have:

How you can apply this logic

Every brand can parlay this logic into their current marketing strategy, whether you’re on every social media channel or only a few. (And really, you should only be on a couple until your business is big enough to support a full time social media manager, and even then not all channels are right for everyone. Learn more here.)


The point though, is that you just need to think a little differently. Gathering stats for a client report? Ask the client if you can use that info, with or without their name, as a case study for your company. That’s a new web page right there, plus a blog post to promote it, social media graphics to drive traffic to the blog post, and maybe even a video testimonial with stats running across the screen. See where I’m going with this? It’s all about thinking a little bigger.


So next time you find yourself spending a lot of time and/or energy on a particular deliverable, ask yourself: are there more ways I could be using this?


Want more customized insights into how to employ this strategy for your particular brand? Branding and social media strategy is my jam. Request a quote today! 


Photos: Tony Brown/Imijination Photography

Channing Muller is an award winning marketing & public relations consultant and the principal of DCM Communications. She works with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses with refined marketing strategies developed through one-on-one and group consulting, customized marketing programs and public relations. She has been named a "25 Young Event Pro to Watch" by Special Events magazine and "40 Under 40" by Connect Meetings. Channing is an avid runner, lover of labrador retrievers, good food, delicious drinks, and an advocate for the American Heart Association. Follow her on Instagram @ChanningMuller.

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