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Netflix Daredevil: Another Example of Marvel-ous Brand Marketing

Updated on April 14, 2015
Netflix: Daredevil | April 10, 2015
Netflix: Daredevil | April 10, 2015

Over the past 15 years, Marvel Entertainment has built a track record of success on the big screen, which has translated into an unparalleled brand experience for hardcore and casual fans. By introducing audiences to a continually growing alternate universe that inhabits larger than life heroism and villainy. In 2013, Marvel expanded its branded storytelling to the small screen with the release of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and at the time of writing Marvel has recently released its third television show – Daredevil.

Unlike its televised predecessors, Daredevil is for mature audiences and doesn’t offer any of the tongue-in-cheek happy endings most would expect from Marvel. The show has a darker tone intended to reflect the attitude of the people of New York City, after the events that happened in Marvel’s 2012 film The Avengers. Daredevil is a crime drama which answers the question: What are the normal people doing, while the super heroes and villains are destroying the city?

After binge-watching the first season two things stand out to me:

  • I have never seen anything from Marvel Television that is this morally complex.
  • This show does a good job of representing the Marvel brand with a TV-MA rating.

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Daredevil is only the beginning. Marvel’s deal with Netflix has afforded them the opportunity to depict more “street level” heroes with projects in the works for Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Projects designed to expand on the grittier brand of storytelling happening in concert with the over-arching Avengers storyline, which will eventually lead to a “street level” team-up dubbed, The Defenders.

“Look, it all exists in the same universe. As it is now, in the same way that our films started out as self-contained and then by the time we got to The Avengers, it became more practical for Captain America to do a little crossover into Thor 2 and for Bruce Banner to appear at the end of Iron Man 3. We have to earn that. The audience needs to understand who all of these characters are and what the world is before you then start co-mingling in terms of where it’s going.”Jeff Loeb Marvel Head of Television

Most brands use storytelling as a one dimensional monologue to influence customers and potential customers. By contrast, Marvel is multi-faceted and collaborative: harnessing the ability to release unrelated products like Guardians of The Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier successful in the same year. Similar comparisons can be made of Agent Carter and Daredevil – the two television show released to date in 2015 – whereas one is uplifting and family friendly, while the latter is gritty and mature.

Not every brand is Marvel.

It’s one thing to paint a multi-leveled picture for your customers if you’re a household name, with a Fortune 500 marketing budget, and an iconic parent company in Disney. How can you practice scaled down Marvel-ous brand marketing if you’re a small company with a limited budget?

By determining what your brand stands for and who it stands with.

Most companies will never be able to tell a story on the level of a multimedia juggernaut (no pun intended) like Marvel, but if you work with your community to craft stories, you may quickly find yourself gaining influence in multiple areas of opportunity.

“This means gathering tales from customers about how your brand has become a part of their true-life experiences…” – David Berkowitz, CMO with Manhattan branding consultancy MRY.


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