DC v Marvel: Digital Marketing (Poster Analysis)

November 8, 2017 11:21 pm Published by


DC v Marvel: Digital Marketing (Poster Analysis)

Ever since DCU started in 2013, there’s been a lot of media comparison (and social) between the colourfulness of Marvel and the darkness of DC live action films. This got me thinking – are the live-action movies marketed in the same way on their official posters?

This mini-report will focus on the digital poster campaigns of both the DCU and MCU. I will look at the facial expressions used on official posters, the official character posters and the average colours [R, G, B] per poster, in each universe. For consistency, I used the main poster listed at IMDB. If no face recognition was identified, I used the official character posters.

How does the system work?

For the facial recognition work, I used the Microsoft Azure Emotion engine. This engine scans each image and identifies the emotion of each image. The engine reports on seven emotions: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, neutral, sadness and surprise.

To gain the average colour per poster, I identified each pixel RBG values, averaged them per row and then per image, the output of which was then saved as a 100×100 pixel image.

Outcomes:

The chart below shows the seven emotions and the difference between DCU (2013-) and MCU (2008-). 


Although they look very similar, using a lot of natural, non-emotional facial expressions, the DCU has (surprisingly) a greater tally of happiness. As you can see on the graph below, this is main thanks to the Suicide Squad release and the mad ‘Harley Quinn’ who is beaming from ear to ear on many posters! It should also be pointed out that the DCU are still only on their 4th live action film, whereas the MCU have been going since 2008 and are now on their 15th film. This could obviously screw some of the comparisons. 



So let’s take a look at how each Universe has evolved over time …

DCU Shared Universe:

As you can see, there has been a significant increase, overall, for the neutral emotion and a significant decrease for anger. There was a clear shift for the Suicide Squad movie, whereby happiness was a clear emotion that shows a big difference between previous live action DC movies. The MOS outcomes shows a combination of anger and happiness, this demonstrates the emotions that Superman was going through, during the film, where he was unsure of how and if he would be accepted within society.


MOS shows a clear strong hold within the anger emotion. Suicide Squad’s shift of paradigm is clear within the happiness emotion and clearly is ahead of the other DC films. The sadness emotion shows significantly within the MOS movie; this could be to portray Superman’s struggle to fit in with society.

So how did this fit with the average colour per official movie poster?
The IMDb official movie poster image was used for consistency. As you can see, the average RBG colour palette used within the official movie posters resembles that of the DCU character colours. 


MCU Shared Universe:

Due to the number of live-action films that have been released by MCU. I split the analysis by phases (1, 2 and 3). Note the lack of Spidey and Deadpool … Masks don’t really help, do they?!

MCU ‘Phase 1’:

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)




MCU ‘Phase 2’:

  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Avengers (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)

MCU ‘Phase 3’:
  • Captain America (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnorak (2017)


So, what have I learnt? What are the traits?

  1. A significant number of the Superhero posters contain neutral emotions. 
  2. The MCU are lightening their poster colour palette from phase to phase.
  3. The DCU and MCU follow similar poster conventions.
  4. The theme of the movie flows within the movie poster, both in palette and emotion. 







Methodology and notes:


The methodology for this work was:

  1. Collect DCU and MCU movie posters and character posters: I collected 34 DC posters and 78 MCU character and movie posters in total for both universes. I used IMDb, Wikipedia and Google images to search for and collect URLs of the images required.
  2. Run them through the Microsoft Azure Emotion engine. The Azure emotion engine identifies the emotion of on each of the identified faces within the directory. Each emotion is a scaled score which adds to a total of 1.
  3. Analyse the results. The output allowed me to analyse the results of the emotions between the two universes and to look at how they differed.

What’s it based on?

It is important to point out that the MCU and DCU are at different stages of their development. DCU was established in 2013 releasing 5 films, whereas MCU was established in 2008 releasing 16 films.

It is important to point out that not all of the movie posters had faces within them and sometimes the Azure engine had difficulty in analysing a particular face, for example if this was partially blocked (the case with Spider-Man and Batman)

Raw Data: 

DCU

MOS (2013) – based on official IMDb poster and character posters:
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.7285965)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.003203766)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.00151040475)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.00030823113)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.000315134646)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.1531721)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.112782836)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.000111017296)

Batman V Superman (2016) – based on character posters

  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.07200711266666666)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.004617211533333334)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.000938820886)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.0009334228558666667)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.0007823946811666666)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.9015043779999999)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.0020433572833333333)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.01717331001133333)
Suicide Squad (2016) – based on character posters
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.16292957770152108)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.005511640084333334)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.003338721232884445)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.0028708993074066675)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.25178530968205043)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.5294461070888888)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.037294659670188884)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.006823081293911111)

Wonder Woman (2017) – based on character posters

  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.064695346007)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.003555219623666667)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.00086106239159)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.0014623022192999998)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.006323794728333332)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.9043232031666667)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.004650184086666666)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.014128893250666666) 

Justice League (2017) – based on character posters

  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.02455206000652)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.005617426481)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.001307321763762)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.000494031207248)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.0003337489698)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.9569326854)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.0034300570294)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.0073326712643)
MCU

MCU ‘Phase 1’:

Iron Man (2008) – based on official posters
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.1645079568)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.13719870013500002)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.007520320699999999)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.00137719295)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 7.110049445e-05)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.6746383905)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.011368752)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.003317573785)
Iron Man 2 (2010) – based on official poster and character posters. 
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.03753639874739999)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.0388549161388)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.00074976498604)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.00017349347052)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.0018796740252)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.9137876232)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.0054142667560000005)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.0016038519155000003)
Thor (2011)  – based on official poster and character posters. 
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.01215369756)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.0027866284449999997)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.000288019101594)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 4.0466217175e-06)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.0001151630601975)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.98355674325)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.0010290222335)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 6.668449625e-05)
Captain America (2011)- based on official poster and character posters. 
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.00011930313685)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.0006300243975)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 8.661964512e-06)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 1.723139935e-05)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.00014471014659999998)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.9654113314999999)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.03344829971725)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.0002204504974)
The Avengers (2012)

  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.14088207848750003)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.009089693820750002)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.00235791240865)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.010357846721062498)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 5.90241793875e-05)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.778225435)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.03789888851249999)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.021129125803387497)

MCU ‘Phase 2’:

Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.17771927001566667)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.019802456343666668)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.0026876020000000003)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 9.070264036666667e-06)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.00021566927166666666)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.7276108876666667)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.07161099366666666)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.00034404169090000003)
Thor (2013)
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.12317499505)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.018050113058333334)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.004676605840166667)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.0013005264816666666)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.06254123525971667)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.7744461308333334)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.0028400891548333337)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.012970288814499999)
Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.11765671489931595)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.008304776577611429)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.004913846594562338)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.00048030859894922863)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.0009066665400642857)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.8302459799999999)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.034491300120285714)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.0030003987534971423)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.10810645551666664)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.10041939448166666)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.007315819554999999)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.010507434722999998)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.06347032317733332)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.6218783965)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.06557786703716666)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.022724303225000003)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.045398855846249996)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.003939998472499999)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.0029468911324999998)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.030334148900000003)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.0013419976197500002)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.71529441175)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.12613795595)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.074605733925)
Ant-Man (2015)
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.022749724805000007)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.017221654644)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.005538079211033334)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.00010420096643333334)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.0005536559887166667)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.8959139948333333)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.057198491206333336)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.0007201825316666667)

(No Deadpool / Spider-Man – emotions?!, connected to MCU?)

MCU ‘Phase 3’:


Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.138478532)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.06106496)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.0136140557)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.0003651742)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.00128408754)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.7314296)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.0523001626)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.001463441)
Doctor Strange (2016)
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.034947427842499997)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.00398906767825)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.001059185037625)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.0007798003724874999)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.089730643746335)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.83067211425)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.021265206342500002)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.01755655494375)
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.10546872203027999)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.002092250278)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.000599005655094)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.0003159028716284)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.000709469027776)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.8807011851999998)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.0086517656974)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.00146170978776)
Thor: Ragnorak (2017)

  • (‘anger: ‘, 0.07108101698540001)
  • (‘contempt: ‘, 0.003907079553000001)
  • (‘disgust: ‘, 0.00072612322768)
  • (‘fear: ‘, 0.0001927311483)
  • (‘happiness: ‘, 0.036858727589554004)
  • (‘neutral: ‘, 0.8343314442)
  • (‘sadness: ‘, 0.05238753342)
  • (‘surprise: ‘, 0.0005153555758)

References:

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This post was written by noxford

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