How the Unusual Marketing of ‘WANDAVISION’ Could Turn Off Potential Viewers
WandaVision’s marketing is a little different than it probably would have been had the show been released at a time when there wasn’t a pandemic going on. But the core stuff – namely, trailers and TV spots – has been rolled out in a pretty typical manner (based on the admittedly few precedents we have from Disney+ headlining shows, at least). We won’t know how well it’s working until the show actually premieres, but there’s a lot to look over in the meantime.
WandaVision was shot mainly on soundstages and it has been said that Marvel Studios is even more invested than usual in preventing spoilers about it from getting out. And that sentiment has carried over to the trailers; unlike most MCU projects, WandaVision’s trailer isn’t really providing any plot details. Fans who have been following the development of the series have been able to understand what’s going on in most of the scenes that have been shown (the sitcom eras changing, S.W.O.R.D. trying to infiltrate, etc.) but for the general public seeing these ads during football or on Facebook, I have to imagine all of this is pretty confusing.
Most of the marketing materials for WandaVision have focused on the changing eras of the sitcom world and songs that evoke feelings of nostalgia for many people but also may add to the sense of unease and mystery when played over some of the clips where things feel a bit…off, which seems to fit the tone of the project perfectly. There’s been a little bit of action and references to other Marvel projects teased, but not much. This has most likely been done not only to avoid spoilers, but also to prepare viewers for the difference in tone and style for much of the series. Those who have already seen the show’s first three episodes have commented that they firmly focus on the sitcom aspect rather than the fast-paced action typical of an MCU project. We’ve been told that’s coming as well, and the trailers have shown a little bit of it, but it’s definitely not something that’s going to be part of every episode.
Marvel has put out a new TV spot or clip reel for WandaVision seemingly every day for the past month or so, but a lot of them are recycled footage of the same few clips. That’s admittedly pretty typical for marketing, but the trouble may come with the mix of showcasing a whole new style without telling viewers much about the story to hook them in. We’ve mostly just been shown bits of footage that show off Wanda and Vision in their outfits through the various decades with the same few vague audio clips.
If this was an Avengers movie they could probably get away with this method no problem because the name alone creates massive hype. But this is a show about two previously side-characters in a style that may be jarring to a lot of Marvel fans. Those who follow Marvel updates know that all of this is going to lead into future projects like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but a lot of the general audience does not. If they could find a way to hint at this being big for the direction of the MCU while still preparing audiences for a new sort of setting with the sitcom stuff, that would have probably been the ideal way to go about it. But perhaps those on the fence about WandaVision will be more likely to give this series the benefit of the doubt considering there hasn’t been any new MCU content at all in the past year and a half. We’ll see how audiences respond to WandaVision when new episodes stream Fridays on Disney+ starting January 15.