What Marketers Have to Learn from Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’

Inbound Marketing, Entertainment, Film

| October 03, 2016 | By Julia Rubano

What Marketers Have to Learn from Netflix's 'Stranger Things'

If you've been on the Internet at all over the course of the past two months, you've seen something about the new Netflix series Stranger Things. Seemingly straight out of the 80s, the Duffer twins’ X-Files-like thriller stars a couple of kids and the corrupt government around them. Sound simple enough? Well, it's not, and neither is the plot line, or the marketing scheme that's helped make the show the gargantuan success it is. That’s why we’re here: to break down the latest about this hit, and show you just how effective even a little marketing can be.

The hype for this show was less than impressive. But don't take that as a bad thing—all you need is a little love sometimes (hello, Stephen King), and you're bound to be topping the charts in no time. King spoke out on Twitter about the supernatural thriller, stating that it “is pure fun. A+. Don't miss it. Winona Ryder shines.” Oh, and we guess that having a star like Winona a part of your cast doesn’t hurt either. The creators also encouraged media-active cast members to build up the hype on their social media platforms—free advertisement? Yes please.

But moving on. Netflix really stepped up its game with this one, pushing Stranger Things to the top of its customer-demand list—bye, bye, Orange Is The New Black. With the release of this show, there was quite literally a new sheriff in town, and we couldn’t believe just how quickly he showed up.

The website [a]list reported that Neflix's mega successful marketing of the show is due in part to the live streaming site Twitch. What's Twitch? Yeah, we had the same question. Well, in short, it's the world's leading social video platform and community for gamers. And how exactly did Netflix put it to use? They hosted a four-hour live broadcast that ended with a mere eight minutes of the first Stranger Things episode. If that sounds simple and genius, that’s because it is. Per the collaborative site, the experience also offered an interactive experience through which fans in the Twitch chat voted on what could happen next in the episode—talk about taking the people's voice into account! A few weeks and many, many views later, Stranger Things ended up with an interest value rating of 100 on Google… a mere two weeks after its debut. If this isn’t a great example of marketing still being highly dependent on word-of-mouth, we don’t know what is. And by the way: the show hasn't stopped trending since its release nearly two months ago, on August 31st. How’s that for viral?

Not only did the people in charge of Stranger Things do exactly what we all want (they listened!!! They let the users of Twitch speak, and then they took their opinion into account, trusting that at least some of their future clientele would feel the same way), but they also played directly into our sense of nostalgia. Something that, time and again, cannot be overlooked when it comes to marketing. The show, while set in the 80s like we mentioned, manages to appeal to quite literally everyone and anyone—from those who came of age back then or were born then, all the way to kids who are about the ages of the characters (mere middle-schoolers). Talk about engaging. It's brilliant, and not only spurs conversation about the show (e.g. wow, remember when...), but it also manages to reign in a certain increased recognition by the masses, thus further encouraging conversation and—oh yeah—more word-of-mouth discussion.

A viral television show that’s only available on a streaming network? How can that have anything to do with marketing?’ naysayers may ask. Well, as you can now see: everything.

Have other ideas about Stranger Things and why it’s marketing genius? Just want to talk about the show? Let’s chat! We’re all ears.

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Can-Do Ideas is a Digital Marketing agency specializing in Inbound Marketing and Inbound Sales. We are located in New York City and Connecticut.

TOPICS: Inbound Marketing, Entertainment, Film

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