Deadpool gets semi-serious with #WorldCancerDay PSAs: Touch Yourself Tonight

4 Feb 2016

Deadpool wants you to touch yourself tonight... because he cares about your health. Image: 20th Century Fox

In a rare, semi-serious turn, the team behind Deadpool’s marketing has released a pair of videos instructing viewers on how to check for some of the world’s most common cancers – breast and testicular cancers.

First off, whoever is behind the Deadpool marketing campaign deserves one hell of a raise. The trailers, the viral emoji ads, the creation of actual Deadpool emoji, Ryan Reynolds’ stellar Halloween stunt, and now a couple of genuinely serious PSAs delivered with what has become the movie’s trademarked dark humour – all pitched to create maximum exposure for the movie.

It’s everywhere.

The true genius is in doing just enough to go viral without tipping over into the blitzkrieg of franchises like Star Wars.

These latest videos – which feature Ryan Reynolds reprising his role as Deadpool/Wade Wilson and encouraging viewers to touch themselves – were both released in the lead up to World Cancer Day.

The first – filmed in collaboration with testicular cancer charity Ballboys and released last week – shows men how to check their testicles for the tell-tale signs of cancer, and testicle and masturbation-related puns feature heavily.

The second – for breast cancer checks – was released over the weekend. It pulls the punches a little, reigning in Deadpool’s potty mouth and recruiting an off-screen, calming voice to narrate the procedure, leading us to wonder if perhaps the marketing team thought women wouldn’t be as impressed with the usual filth.

This unfortunately has the feel of a last minute addition to the campaign but, by pairing the useful guide with Deadpool’s sardonic intro, it’s still a welcome one.

The choice to have a superhero spouting cancer advice may seem like a strange one – it’s far from a standard marketing strategy – but it makes sense in this case. The soon to be released origin story, Deadpool, lays out a backstory for Wade Wilson that centres on a cancer diagnosis.

Sadly, the rest of us can’t expect a shadowy organisation to swoop in and make us invulnerable if we’re ever diagnosed with cancer. For us, all that’s left is regular checks.

Listen to Deadpool. Touch yourself tonight.

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Kirsty Tobin was careers editor at Silicon Republic