10 Most Ridiculous Movie Marketing Campaigns

Deadpool was absurd in the best way possible.

Deadpool Poster

Quality - or lack thereof - can only take a movie so far, and without a potent marketing campaign, even the best film will struggle to make a dent with audiences.

And so it's little surprise that studios will often resort to unconventional, attention-grabbing techniques to get eyes on their movies, resorting to blatant publicity stunts, shameless mud-slinging at other movies, and getting dementedly creative simply to light up social media chatter.

With more movies than ever being released every year, capturing a slice of the audience "mindshare" has never been more difficult, and so it follows that studios have had to let their freak flag fly in order to stand out in a sea of movies competing for the same piece of the pie.

These 10 films, from major critical and commercial successes to unfathomable duds, all resorted to the most unconventional means to promote themselves.

In some cases the bold strategy paid off tremendously with box office glory, while in others it sadly did little to bring audiences to the cinema...

10. Newspaper Machines With Audio Devices (Which Were Mistaken For Bombs) - Mission: Impossible III

Deadpool Poster

Perhaps the single best-known aspect of the Mission: Impossible franchise - apart from Tom Cruise running, that is - is the classic "this message will self-destruct" shtick, which Paramount ambitiously - if foolishly - leaned into with a marketing stunt for the third film.

Paramount commissioned marketing firm Allied Advertising to fit 4,500 LA newspaper vending machines with devices which would play the series' distinctive theme tune whenever someone opened the machine to collect a newspaper.

Unfortunately, in a number of locations people understandably mistook the devices for bombs, resulting in one machine being blown up the bomb squad.

Elsewhere, a Veterans Affairs Medical Center had to be evacuated for 90 minutes after someone called in a bomb scare for a nearby vending machine.

Ultimately the US attorney's office planned to sue Paramount, Allied Advertising, and the Los Angeles Times for conspiring to pull off the stunt, though the matter was eventually settled out of court for $75,000.

Regardless of the botched stunt, Mission: Impossible III grossed a respectable $398.5 million worldwide.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.