Netflix was launched over 25 years ago as a subscription service for video-on-demand and rivalled Blockbuster with its mailing service. Primarily focussed on posting films and TV shows for subscribers to watch, in recent years, it’s become a household name.
Up until 2006, the company was exclusively a postal service, but with advancements in technology, instead of falling behind, they followed customer demand and took things digital.
We’ve taken a look at Netflix’s marketing techniques and some of their most successful campaigns to take inspiration from.
Why is Netflix’s Marketing Effective?
Nowadays, it’s rare to come across a person who doesn’t have a Netflix subscription (or at least a person who makes use of the multiple account options). Since launching in 1997, Netflix has become a staple streaming service in homes across the globe.
With around 232.5 million paid subscribers at the start of this year, according to Statista, Netflix has seen an increase of 1.75 million subscribers compared to its previous quarter. Their effective marketing strategy works seamlessly because of their customer-centric approach and putting focus on content marketing.
Whether you realise it or not, Netflix is constantly gathering together data on everything you like and don’t like. Every time you watch a show, you have the opportunity to rate it, and you’ll always have a section on your homepage with “Because you watched…”. The way Netflix creates personalised viewing experiences and analyses data is all a technique to attract users to the platform and to keep them engaged.
Currently, there are 692 million Netflix viewers worldwide (an increase of 6% from last year), and by 2024 they project an increase to 725 million viewers. So, it’s clear that their marketing strategy has been extremely successful!
4 Examples of Netflix’s Marketing
We’ve highlighted some of the best examples of Netflix’s marketing strategy and why these campaigns were a hit.
Black Mirror - Streamberry
The new season of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror landed back on our screens this month and, as expected, gave us a whole new dystopian outlook on the way we use streaming services.
The first episode, titled ‘Joan is Awful’, featured a parody version of Netflix called Streamberry and plays off the all-too-real scenario of not reading the T’s and C’s as we probably should. To coincide with the release of the show, Netflix unveiled the promotional site for Streamberry, which has left many Netflix subscribers making eerie comparisons to the show.
The Streamberry site gives users the opportunity to ‘sign up’ to the platform. The sign-up consists of uploading an image of yourself which they then have the right to publish on a billboard as a way to recreate the plot of the show.
Since the start of the campaign, more and more billboards have cropped up across the UK. From Cardiff to London, other people’s “X is Awful” is gaining more and more traction. A completely spooky but also imaginative campaign!
Emily in Paris - McBaguette
There are two types of people, those who have watched Emily in Paris and those who have watched it but deny it. Starring Lily Collins, Emily in Paris focuses on an always-optimistic American trying to hit the ground running at a French marketing agency based in Paris.
Within the show, ‘Emily’ pitches a whole roster of marketing ideas. But one that really landed was the McBaguette. In the show, the French refer to fast food as “un petit plaisir” (a little treat), so with this as the inspiration, the McBaguette was born, combining Parisian’s love of bread and cheese with a notable fast-food chain.
McDonald’s then seized the opportunity to release a real version of the McBaguette, featuring a special packaging which sent fans of the show flocking to get their own.
Wednesday - The Thing
When Tim Burton’s highly-anticipated show Wednesday starring Jenna Ortega landed on Netflix, the streaming service really upped its promotional game. One of their most successful ventures was “The Thing” campaign.
If you’ve ever seen The Addams Family, you’ll know of the silent character called The Thing. To gain attention to the show, Netflix let a controllable hand loose across New York City, giving the public a jump scare or two and filming their reactions. The campaign itself garnered a whole lot of engagement, and the video got over 39 million views!
When Wednesday was officially released, the show surpassed 1.02 billion total hours viewed in just three weeks since its debut - making it one of the most-watched shows in Netflix history, so the marketing efforts clearly paid off.
Stranger Things is the highest-grossing Netflix series of all time, so it’s unsurprising that the marketing for each season has been top-tier. Stranger Things single-handedly catapulted the 1980s back into fashion in a big way.
One of their most-effective marketing strategies was how they executed bringing the upside down into the real world. Ahead of last season, various nods to Stranger Things cropped up in unexpected ways.
Bondi Beach in Australia hosted a 20ft long installation with paranormal investigators for a little extra drama, as well as 15 landmarks in 14 countries who also got involved with the campaign too. Buildings such as the Empire State Building in New York and Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malaysia projected installations for the whole city to see, and it made for a really eye-catching marketing move!
There we have it. Just a few examples of how Netflix ace their marketing strategy every single time. Think we’ve missed a campaign? Let us know!