Stranger Things: Marketing Lessons from Netflix

February 14, 2019 - Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you haven’t heard of the show Stranger Things, it’s time you left that rock you’ve been living under.

As one of the top shows in streaming, the Netflix original series has amassed legions of international fans who just can’t get enough of Eleven and her friends.

How did Stranger Things become so popular?

First of all, the show is well-made and pretty entertaining but having a good show is pointless if nobody watches it. This is where marketing comes in. It was clever marketing that transformed what would’ve been just another Netflix series into a pop culture phenomenon.

Here are three things we can learn from Netflix’s marketing strategy.

Be where your audience is

It’s no surprise that Netflix relies heavily on social media to market their shows and it’s not just because they’re an ad-free platform. The streaming service knows its audience spends a lot of time on social media which is why they’ve been rolling out content on multiple social media platforms to reach them.

Snapchat is one of those platforms.

To promote the second season of the show, Netflix created a 3D World Lens on Snapchat that allowed fans to step into the world of Stranger Things via augmented reality.

Using their smartphones, fans could enter the Byers’ humble dwelling and interact with recognisable elements from the show, including the fairy lights and the hole in the wall, by tapping on them. Netflix also created a lens that allowed Snapchat users to superimpose Eleven’s iconic nosebleeds onto their selfies.

Netflix didn’t just stop at Snapchat, they also published marketing content on Facebook, Instagram and, perhaps more unconventionally, Spotify. With the “Stranger Things Mode” turned on, Spotify users were treated to an eerie visual experience when they listened to the show’s soundtracks on the platform.

Via The Verge

So what’s the lesson here?

Research, research, research. Find out where your potential customers congregate and be there – offline or online.

Localised Content

Netflix is available in nearly 200 countries and territories worldwide. Imagine the sheer amount of work and investment required to create localised marketing content.

Yet, Netflix went the extra mile to do just that.

To promote the second season of Stranger Things in Singapore, Netflix cleverly referenced the notoriety of the neighbourhood of Yishun – a local hot topic at that time – in their marketing.

Singaporeans loved it.

The local news media even picked it up so the show got free publicity.

In order to strike a chord with your target audience, it is essential to localise your marketing efforts. Like all human beings, they will appreciate your effort to speak to them in their language.

Collaboration with brands

Netflix collaborated with sneaker-retailer BAIT and Reebok to bring back Reebok’s 80’s Ex-O-Fit Clean Hi. The sneakers featured iconic Ghostbusters imagery – a reference to a scene in Stranger Things where Dustin, one of the characters, embellishes his Ex-O-Fits with Ghostbusters doodles. The limited-edition sneakers were released about a month before Season 2 dropped.

Establishing mutually-beneficial partnerships with other brands might be an unconventional way to advertise a show but it worked for Netflix. By collaborating with well-known, iconic brands like Reebok and Ghostbusters, Netflix’s Stranger Things managed to snag some of the spotlight. The sneakers got substantial amount of press coverage and so did the show’s new season.

With conventional marketing platforms becoming increasingly crowded, it’s important for brands to find new ways to reach their target audience. Netflix has proven that with an in-depth knowledge of one’s target audience and a well-planned strategy, brands can take their businesses to the next level.