Disney’s ad game for Avengers: Endgame

By all estimates, Avengers: Endgame is set to be the top-grossing movie of all time, with analysts estimating up to $900 million in global ticket sales for its opening weekend alone. Audiences clearly can’t wait to see Endgame, which premiers on April 26th and marks the culmination of a series of 21 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ticket presale records have already been broken – along with ticket sellers’ websites. With new trailers and advance clips receiving breathless coverage from hordes of fan sites, the movie would seem to market itself. And indeed, as seen in Kantar’s analysis, while the studio has made a decent investment on advertising it hasn’t gone overboard.

$13.6 million spent on TV advertising

According to Kantar’s analysis, through April 21 a total of $13.6 million was spent promoting Avengers: Endgame on TV. By comparison, a week prior to release it had spent $11.1 million marketing Thor: Ragnarok, a film with a much lower profile. After an initial promotion during the Super Bowl, ad spending essentially ceased until the week of March 18th, a little over two months before the movie’s premiere. This promotional period is again comparable to the strategy used for Thor: Ragnarok, and also conveniently left some time for Disney’s Captain Marvel to enjoy the spotlight; that movie debuted on March 8.

Spending started strong then dipped considerably, excluding a peak on the week of April 1 when ticket presales began. Advertising then slowed to a crawl the following week, likely in order to avoid stoking fallout from anxious ticket buyers who were thwarted by well-publicized glitches on the Fandango and AMC sites. However, it ramped up again on the week of April 15th – the week before the premiere – and is likely to spike this week.

Network TV made up more than half of spend, or $7.4 million. The TV medium of course is a good fit for movie trailers, and it’s also clear that movie studios rely strongly on the mass audiences network TV offers.

Taking the long view

In addition to standard :15 and :30 ads, Disney also used some :60 ads. These long form ads seemed intended to stoke interest in ticket presales, as they aired almost exclusively on April 2 – the day presales went live. The one-minute ads were primarily placed on talk shows, including The Today Show, James Corden’s Late Late Show and Late Night with Seth Myers.


Overall, Disney’s paid advertising push for Avengers: Endgame is fairly modest given that the film has been estimated to cost $475 million, making it the most expensive movie of all time. However, with the amount of earned media coverage and social buzz the movie has gained, its box office is unlikely to suffer and the movie will undoubtedly live up to its superhero-sized ambitions.

While the rest of the nation rushes to theaters to watch Endgame, we at Kantar’s Media division will continue to keep our eyes on the ads. Click here to connect with us and learn more about our ad intelligence services.

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