The Success of Netflix’s Stranger Things Marketing Campaign — Ithaca College PRSSA

REPOST via The Success of Netflix’s Stranger Things Marketing Campaign — Ithaca College PRSSA

After much PR and marketing buzz leading up to the release of season two of Stranger Things, the show finally became available for Netflix users to watch on October 27th. Fans were unusually eager to find out what would happen next in the Upside Down – and for good reason. Netflix managed to heighten the anticipation for the show’s next season with creative guerilla marketing tactics and unique brand partnerships. As we reflect on how successful the campaigns were, here are three lessons to learn from the show’s marketing tactics.

1. Make it interactive.

On the countdown page for the release of the second season, Netflix hid an easter egg which when clicked, flipped the screen into Upside Down mode. In this mode, everything turns dark with creepy music and eerie vines – much like it is in the show. The cursor acts as a flickering flashlight and every couple of seconds, the demogorgon pops out. Ad agency Doner L.A. also created a 1-800 number for the show. It functioned as a real corporate one would with a hold ringtone, menu directions and automated responses, allowing users to report outages or suspicious activity occurring in Hawkins. These tactics are simple yet effective. It doesn’t require much on the marketers end, but it’s a big step in the right direction for peaking consumer interest.

Netflix also partnered with Lyft shortly before the release to give fans an unforgettable ride-share experience. On October 26th and 27th, Lyft users were given the option to switch their app into ‘Stranger Things’ mode which turned the cars on the screen into waffles, string lights, trucker hats and even the logo of the show. On October 27th and 28th, users in certain cities were able to take a ride that included malfunctioning seats, flickering lights, a warped ceiling, an acting driver and an Eggo waffle. While Netflix was able to reap the rewards of giving fans something new and different to talk about, Lyft benefited as well. This leads into our next tip.

2. Get the help of other brands.

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Not only did Netflix choose to partner with Lyft, but they also decided to hone in on the show’s connection to the frozen waffle brand, Eggos. Because Netflix doesn’t offer paid placements, the Kellog Company wasn’t aware that their product would even be used in the show. But after the first season’s success, Eggo was able to use social media to their advantage by posting about the show’s waffle references.

The clothing store, Topshelf, also took to redecorating its London Oxford flagship store for one day in honor of Stranger Things. Spotify, the music streaming platform, used a subtler approach by creating playlists for each of the characters in the show, including ‘Eleven’s Breakfast Jams’ and ‘DemoGorgons Upside Downers’. When a campaign uses other brands to help out its own, it engages a much wider audience than what it would normally reach. With that being said, it is important to only use brands that make sense. The audience of that brand shouldn’t be drastically different and it helps if the tone of the brand is similar to the one being promoted as well.

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3. Use what you have.

As a retailer for the show, Target was able to dedicate an entire section of their website to promoting the new season. The page starts off with 80’s inspired, vintage looking Stranger Things swag, ranging from toys to t-shirts, but as you navigate deeper into the site, regular products such as pudding snack packs and trap keepers start popping up. It’s Target’s way of bringing back 80’s era products that connect to the show. With the help of Target, Netflix was able to give fans of all ages something to talk about by combining the nostalgia of another generation with one of this generation’s most popular TV shows.

As Stranger Things progresses through new seasons, Netflix continues to encourage those inside the field of communications to think outside the box. By turning simple ideas into well-thought out campaigns, the show has managed to set the standard for the way marketing should be utilized in the future.

Sources:

https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/23469.aspx

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/10/26/how-netflix-turned-marketing-upside-down-the-return-stranger-things

via The Success of Netflix’s Stranger Things Marketing Campaign — Ithaca College PRSSA

7 Fall Promo Ideas for Small Businesses

My favorite season is right around the corner! Fall is so close I can almost taste my mom’s homemade stuffing. For businesses, it’s a great time to empty your summer stock, draw in new customers and engage with the community. It’s also a fresh opportunity to get customers to fall in love with your small business just in time for the holidays (pun intended).

It’s always easy to throw together a seasonal sale, but I beg all of my clients to push further outside their comfort zones. As I like to say, “You have to think bigger to be bigger.” One of the most powerful target markets for small businesses exists just beyond their front door– their community (both online and local). People, by nature, tend to stick to what they know so become something they know!

If you’re a small (or medium) business owner I urge you stay away from a typical sale, and try two or more of the promotional ideas for fall I’ve come up with below:

  • Deliverables.
    • Get a small crew together to quickly bag or box a fun bundle of treats to send to two groups: neighbors and clients. Your message for clients should fall along the lines of a thank you and don’t be shy to hand write the note to add authenticity. All deliverables should include these items somewhere inside: branding and company logo, your address, website, a sincere message and an incentive for them to come into your shop. Here’s an example of a box USB Memory Direct and my team put together last year…

Halloween Candy Box 2

  • Fall inspired email blast.
    • Put together an email list of contacts you’ve collected throughout the past couple of years. Reach out to them using a fall inspired graphic with some redeemables. This can include a coupon or other incentive to remind them of your product or service and get them to walk through your doors once more. My favorite, free program I use to quickly design an easy graphic is Canva. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to put together professional grade graphic art here.

annual68th fallfestival (1)

  • Social media engagement.
    • There are more ways to engage your audience on social media than announcing sales and new products. Keeping up with the seasons and posting shareable content keeps visitors viewing your profile. Start a fun, fall social media contest that requires participants to share the contest with others. You can pick winners by random selection, select winners yourself or by putting it up to a vote via a panel of judges or followers. Get even more creative by planning a fall inspired product photo shoot. Also, asking social media followers to repost an image of yours for charity donations around thanksgiving could get your company a lot of exposure online.
  • Sponsor/host a local event.
    • Grab your best employees and hit the hay. Ask around the town and find an event you can volunteer support at this fall. You could engage with the crowds by setting up a well designed, cut-out photo booth with your company logo that festival goers will take photos of and post online. If your company is having a hard time finding things to get involved in, try approaching nearby businesses, schools or churches for a co-hosting opportunity. You could plan a local pumpkin patch, corn maze, haunted house, fall festival or charitable function.
  • Company holiday blog post or video.
    • Company blog posts or seasonal videos are a unique way to connect with current, previous and potential customers. Many do-it-yourself blog posts tend to get shared around the holiday season. Readers who share the post on their own sites are going to give you an SEO boost. If you’re willing to go the extra mile and put together a business video that stands out, you’re guaranteed to make an impact. Here are some video ideas from off the top of my head:
      1. Lip Sync a Halloween song with employees in costumes.
      2.  Re-create an iconic holiday movie scene or moment of the past year.
      3. Nostalgic holiday moments with employees, “What’s a traditional plate on your Thanksgiving table?”
      4. Create a mockumentary about that time you hired the headless horseman as a cashier.
      5. Thoughtfully plan out a helpful how-to video that customers can share on Facebook and email.
  • Redecorate your window store front.
    • I remember I worked for an adorable woman’s boutique at an outdoor shopping mall and they loved to decorate the store front for holidays and seasons. Why? BECAUSE IT WORKED. They knew their target market and drew in passing cars and people like honey to flies. Potential customers would stop in front of the window and take photos and post it on social media and walk in to see more. I highly suggest going the creative route on this one, and remember, less is more!
  • Specialty seasonal products or foods that get people talking.
    • It’s no secret that Starbucks is the king of this little marketing trick. What is your product? How can you fall-ify it? For Starbucks, they have made a home for pumpkin spice lattes. Also, M&M’s comes out with new flavors for trick-and-treat shoppers every year. Religiously enticing yearly purchasers with new products to buy. The latest seasonal offering from M&M’s has a cookies ‘n’ cream flavor and speckled shell. (Mars)

The latest seasonal offering from M&M's has a cookies 'n' cream flavor and speckled shell. (Mars)

Many of my examples have included generic fall holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, but there are so many more! So, I’ve composed a list for you of national observances and other holidays below that I have created promotional content for throughout my time as a marketing manager. Please keep in mind the list is not in no particular order.

  1. First Day of Fall
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. You’re Welcome Day
  4. Small Business Saturday
  5. Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)
  6. Black Friday
  7. Election Day
  8. Veterans Day
  9. Presidents’ Day
  10. Cyber Monday
  11. Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November)
  12. Military Family Appreciation Month (November)
  13. World Kindness Week: November 7-13
  14. National Suicide Prevention Week
  15. Hispanic Heritage Month
  16. National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Successful seasonal promotions take time to plan out thoughtfully, so don’t wait too late to begin the creative process. Luckily for you, I’ve planted the seed with this post just in time for you to prepare.

There’s a lot of money to made in the fall, but before you know it– it’s already Christmas! So, get to making your marketing plan for the season to reconnect with old customers and draw in new customers before the leaves turn orange.

Have fun,

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