How The Boys and Gen V Have Perfected Superhero Marketing

How The Boys and Gen V Have Perfected Superhero Marketing


Summary

  • The Boys‘ marketing extends the show’s parody-based satire, featuring clips and scenes not seen on the show and hinting at future plot points and characters.
  • The marketing videos take jabs at major real-life companies, highlighting the excessive greed and irrational pointlessness of their existence.
  • Unlike other franchises, The Boys‘ marketing successfully uses interconnected marketing to criticize modern capitalism and create a satirical tone.


In the age of “superhero fatigue” – or whatever you wish to call it – Prime Video’s The Boys has adamantly avoided falling into the same trappings as other major superhero-based franchises. A lot of this comes down to the show’s topic and themes, a cutting critique of the stereotypes and reality of superheroes and the current social and political climate in America, as well as the excellent writing, directing, and performances by everyone involved. However, another influential yet often overlooked aspect of The Boys’ breakaway success is its marketing.

Debuting on the streaming service in 2019 and adapting the excellent graphic novel of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boys instantly presented itself as a stand-out product in an increasingly over-saturated genre. The show pulls no punches in its parody-based satire of the genre and capitalist America, and this darkly humorous tone extends to its incredible marketing campaigns as well.


The Boys’ Parody Extends Through Its Marketing

Have you watched all three seasons of The Boys, the animated The Boys Presents: Diabolical, and the recent spin-off Gen V, and thought, it’s just not enough? Then the ‘Vought International’ YouTube channel is the holy grail for you. As well as being the premiere destination for the newest trailers, the channel also features monthly shorts and clips set within The Boys‘ universe.

Some of the clips shown are extended versions of those seen within the shows, like the Godolkin University induction video shown in Gen V, or longer clips from the seemingly endless number of movies starring the heroes of The Seven, like a full trailer for The Deep’s Not Without My Dolphin. The channel also features numerous clips and scenes not previously seen on the franchise’s shows. These range widely in tone and style, from Vought Quarterly Earnings videos starring Ashley Barrett (Colby Minifie) to 10-minute long interviews on the Vought-controlled fictional talk show “Seven on 7 with Cameron Coleman.”

Related: The Boys and Gen V: Ranking the Characters by Power

As well as acting as fun clips and bonus features for The Boys fans, the videos on the channel also frequently hint at future plot points and characters in the respective shows. Following the dramatic ending of The Boys‘s third season, the channel was flooded with parody corporate infomercials from Vought defending Homelander’s actions, disgracing characters like Starlight, and producing a full In Memorium for Queen Maeve, suggesting that the company will pretend the escaped hero died in the explosion in Vought Tower. The videos uploaded on the channel are compulsory viewing for major fans of the franchise as they pave the way and establish the landscape of future seasons of one of the best Superhero shows put to screen.

In a time when the Actor’s strikes are only just ending, and many major franchises – like the MCU – have seen unprecedented losses due to underwhelming marketing because of the strikes, The Boys in-universe clips have given the franchise another leg-up against the franchises it is parodying.

The Boys’ Marketing Is as Cynical as the Show

Alongside its witty character-based comedy, much of The Boys‘ humor comes from the show’s cynical critique of modern capitalism in America and how its money-sucking veins have seeped their way into almost every facet of American life, especially citizens’ safety. If there’s one term you rarely hear in a superhero story, it’s the term payment. As shining beacons of hope and goodness, superheroes fight crime and save lives out of a selfless love for humanity. The Boys take that sentiment and run it over with a 100-ton truck. Every Vought-backed superhero is obsessed with getting better contracts, sponsorship deals, and those all-important approval points (whatever a point actually means).

Related: The Boys Showrunner Offers Season Four Release Update Following the Finale of Gen V

This idealistic standing bleeds all over their online marketing as well. As well as recapping past events and laying the foundations for future seasons and storylines, The Boys‘ online marketing is another way the producers can take jabs at the modern capitalist landscape. Alongside the fake trailers for a near-endless number of superhero movies, the marketing videos take frequent jabs at major real-life companies, like Twitter, Spotify, and even Prime Video, using parody equivalents to highlight the excessive greed and irrational pointlessness of their existence.

Other franchises have attempted this style of interconnected marketing. However, none have achieved the same results as The Boys. The most recent, and questionable, is Marvel Studios releasing the Scott Lang memoir: ‘Look Out for the Little Guy’ shown in the dreadful Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania as a real book. Marvel Studios released a similar style trailer for the book, starring Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd. However, with the current state of the MCU – and the critical slating Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania received – this attempt at meta-marketing felt more like a desperate cash grab than a satirical joke.

Stream The Boys on Prime Video

The Boys

Release Date
July 26, 2019

Cast
Karl Urban, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Colby Minifie, Aya Cash

Main Genre
Superhero

Genres
Superhero, Action, Sci-Fi



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