7 Netflix Campaigns That Show The Brand’s Marketing Prowess

Have you ever given in to the online buzz surrounding a Netflix show or a movie only to end up a fan yourself? You think you’ll just watch one episode only to stay awake and watch the whole season overnight. You’re not alone! We’ve all been there! Blame it on that interactive billboard you saw on your way to work. Or that irresistible experiential marketing campaign Netflix manages to pull off for several of its shows and movies. 

So, we can easily say that Netflix knows how to leverage the domino effect of hype. It is a brand that knows how to tap into the untapped reserves of social media influence to steer toward popularity. All of this makes Netflix a worthy source of marketing inspiration. Don’t you agree? 

It has a lot to do with the overall strategy and the well-rounded approach that Netflix has when it comes to marketing. To simplify things, let’s talk about some of the well-known Netflix campaigns that created a lot of online chatter that fueled the popularity of content. These are campaigns that helped propel various shows and movies to the top position in OTT viewing. 

7 Netflix campaigns to prove that a little creativity changes everything 

1. The street furniture advertising for Altered Carbon 

Emotions often define whether a marketing campaign hits or flops. The rule of thumb marketers follow when it comes to emotions is to find the right ones that align with the product or service or brand being promoted. If you look at all the emotions that are commonly used in ads, “creeping someone out” is the least likely to have a spot. 

However, this was the core emotion in one of the most popular Netflix campaigns. And it actually helped the brand. Take a look at what people had to say about the campaign and you’ll understand what we mean. 

The above ad was set up at the West Hollywood bus stop as a part of the promotion for the Netflix show, Altered Carbon. With all the popularity garnered, the show ranked at the 97.4th percentile within the drama genres in the US. 

After all, as you wait for your bus if you notice a nearly-alive mannequin like this one, won’t you be intrigued? Won’t you wait to click a picture and share it on your social media page? Or at least talk about it to your friends and family? Now that’s exactly what helps in the media business – word-of-mouth marketing. And Netflix managed to achieve this through this campaign. 

Additionally, people who encounter ads like this one are also more likely to try and find out about the show being promoted. Or even watch the show to know what the buzz is about. 

Audience attention ✅

Media coverage ✅

Online popularity ✅ 

Now isn’t that the perfect response for a campaign? 

2. The Thing campaign was guerilla marketing at its finest 

Guerilla marketing is unconventional. It bends the rules and sometimes breaks them altogether. But it gets the job done – it opens the doors to virality. And that’s what Netflix employed in the promotion of its popular show, Wednesday.  

Several Netflix campaigns were planned and executed for promoting the show but one of the most popular among them was The Thing campaign in New York. 

A hand crawling all by itself in the streets of New York? Now, that’s not an everyday spectacle, is it? The stunt Netflix pulled off was brilliant in many ways:

  • It had one goal – to grab people’s attention. Without a doubt, it did. 
  • People started interacting with The Thing. When this happens, you are imprinting your brand in their minds. 

The video shows the real-time reactions of people and they are good! Stirring up excitement has always been Netflix’s style and The Thing campaign is the perfect example. 

Kimp Tip: Shows come and go but campaigns like these are remembered for a really long time. So, when you come up with an ad that excites your audience, your campaign converts. The key is to give your customers something tangible to remember your brand by. 

Even if you cannot create a robotic arm to carry your message to the streets, you can still make creative use of billboards, bus stop signs, street furniture, and a host of other things to achieve this. The idea, the placement and the purpose together make a difference. 

Need help to execute your creative ideas? Sign up for a Kimp subscription and see a mockup of your design to visualize the impact it creates in a real-world scenario. 

3. Emily in Paris McBaguette – the power of brand collaborations 

No matter how big or small a brand is, collaborations matter, period! These could be small-scale influencer collaborations or large-scale brand collaborations. But there’s a lot to gain when a brand decides to include collaboration in its marketing. The media business is not new to brand collaborations. And McDonald’s is definitely not new to it. Think Happy Meal Toys! 

Netflix joined hands with McDonald’s as a part of promoting its popular show, Emily in Paris. 

The promotion of the McBaguette appears in season 3 of the show as a part of the storyline. And on McDonald’s side of the collaboration, the Baguette ’It Bag’ from the show was made available to fans as a reward for a competition conducted. Additionally, McDonald’s also introduced exclusive menu items for the stores in France along the theme of the show. 

Campaigns like these fetch balanced rewards for both brands involved and that’s what happened with this McDonald’s Netflix collaboration as well. 

Kimp Tip: To make brand collaborations work, you need to have a strong branding strategy in place. In other words, your brand identity should be so strong that by observing a few signature elements in the ad, customers must be able to recognize your brand. 

Netflix campaigns that involve brand collaborations are a hit almost always because Netflix strongly brands every single show or movie it promotes. In this case, if you notice the packaging used for the McBaguette, the pastels, and the overall lively theme are instant reminders of the theme of Emily in Paris. 

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4. Stranger Things x Lyft – a new twist to experiential marketing 

Stranger Things has been one of the most iconic TV shows in recent times. The efforts that went into promoting this show have a strong role to play in this. One of the most notable Netflix campaigns to promote the show has been the Lyft and Netflix collaboration. 

The campaign is also an example of weaving experiential campaigns seamlessly into everyday experiences to make the whole thing enjoyable and memorable. As a part of this collaboration, Lyft offered something called “Strange Mode” to its riders. This helped them get an eerie sampler of Stranger Things in the real world. 

Positioning the campaign just around Halloween was another great touch. 

The need for such out-of-the-box ideas is that brands like Netflix have diverse demographics to target. And with shows like Stranger Things where the brand has to target the younger audience, things are even tougher. 

Millennials and GenZers are bombarded with ads and they hate being sold to. Therefore, the key is to step away from traditional advertising and create an experience that’s hard to forget. 

Netflix campaigns like this one end up sparking a lot of conversations both offline and on social media. And conversations bring in the conversions the brand needs. 

5. When Squid Game took over the Sydney Harbor 

If you haven’t already noticed, Netflix campaigns have been about nurturing a culture rather than just promoting the content. It enables its audience to take the promoted show or movie more seriously. In other words, it concocts the perfect recipe to create fans and not just viewers. 

A good example is the Sydney Harbor campaign to promote Netflix’s most-watched show, Squid Game. As a part of this campaign, Netflix installed a giant Squid Game doll from the very famous “red light, green light” game featured in the show at the Sydney Harbor. 

The installation attracted a throng of eager fans who rushed to click pictures with the doll and share about it on social media. Fans also arrived wearing Squid Game costumes to celebrate the show. 

To keep things interesting, the laser-eyed doll was interactive with the signature head rotation embedded into the setup. Only this time, it didn’t shoot when motion was detected 😉

For fans who watched the show and know the doll too well, the setup was a chance to take them closer to their favorite show. For those who were not aware of the show, the setup was a tool to evoke curiosity. In short, interactive outdoor experiences like this one help in acquiring new customers as well as retaining existing ones. 

6. Pat McGrath Bridgerton Range – celebrity/influencer endorsements 

Influencer marketing is the social media version of celebrity endorsements. Several social media influencers even have bigger following than several Hollywood celebrities. So, working with people outside of the media business, people who have commendable influence over niche markets can be a huge plus for brands. 

Several Netflix campaigns have involved celebrity endorsements. One of the recent ones that grabbed eyeballs is when Netflix collaborated with the most influential makeup artist, Pat McGrath to promote its show, Bridgerton. 

To delight the fans, an exclusive makeup collection was launched in the Bridgerton theme. From the use of regal symbols to sophisticated packaging, the range of beauty products was fully customized for the theme. Endorsements like these build on the hype around the content being promoted and it worked exactly that way for Netflix. 

In fact, there were other opulent steps that Netflix took to establish the theme in the real world including the #regencycore TikTok trend. Working with a makeup artist with strong social media influence, sparking a viral social media trend – a great start to building fame on social media, don’t you think?

7. Black Mirror Season 6 bus-stop campaign – the strength in simplicity 

Brands like Netflix have a strong position in the market and a huge marketing budget to execute the most sensational campaign ideas. But that does not mean simpler ads don’t work. Take the Black Mirror Season 6 campaign from Netflix, for example. It shows that even big brands take the road to simplicity sometimes. 

Take a look at the below bus stop poster for Black Mirror. 

Yes, the design is simple. But what makes the ad particularly intriguing is the copy. 

Fans might understand the references instantly. But for others, Black Mirror is a show that talks about the satirical aspects of modern society. Several episodes are about “societies falling apart”. After Season 5, the pandemic happened and the makers of the show were not ready to come up with another season when the world was already in a state of near-dystopia. 

So, the reference here about the 6th Season going live is a representation of the doom that existed during the pandemic times. The ad collectively empathized with fans and therefore people connected with the ad easily. And a lot of them spoke about it on social media. That’s a great way to keep the show alive when the future is not very clear at the moment. 

From a marketing and ad design perspective, the above ad shows how contextual placement and a relatable copy can make a huge difference. 

Inspired by these Netflix campaigns? Design yours with Kimp 

While we only spoke about one campaign for each show or movie promoted, remember that Netflix has an omnichannel approach for most of its campaigns. 

If there’s an outdoor campaign, you are sure to see a video or image about it on social media. Or if there’s a social media campaign, you are likely to read about it in the newspapers in the print ads. 

In addition to being a source of inspiration for campaign ideas, Netflix is also proof that a diversified marketing approach pays off. You need to identify where your customers are and reach them there. 

If some of your customers only read newspapers or only take the bus to work, you need to reach them through street furniture ads, newspaper ads, and other localized strategies. If one portion of your target audience is only reachable through social media, you need to have a strong social media advertising strategy in place. 

Nevertheless, remember that a major chunk of your audience tends to be on both traditional platforms and digital ones. So, the key is to diversify your approach and yet customize the experience. To optimize the ads and deliver consistent experiences throughout. 

All this becomes so much simpler when you have a designated design team to execute all your ad designs be it print or digital, static or motion graphics. What’s the easiest way to get this?

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