As leaves begin to change colors, and the air starts getting crisp, there is nothing better than a delicious cup of coffee to warm you up on chilly Autumn days. And as any Gilmore Girls fan knows, there is nothing better than coffee from Luke’s Diner.
On November 25, Netflix will be releasing its long-awaited revival of the beloved show, and in preparation, as well as to celebrate the 16th anniversary of Gilmore Girl’s pilot episode – Netflix transformed coffee shops around the country into the popular Star’s Hollow Diner. From 7:00 a.m. to noon on October 5, baristas dressed in flannels and backwards baseball hats were giving out free coffee, complete with quotations from the show on the cup, custom “Luke’s” sleeves, and even some special surprises for a few lucky customers.
Gilmore Girls’ revival isn’t the first time Netflix has developed an innovative marketing campaign. What started out as a DVD-to-customer company has quickly advanced into the world’s largest streaming network, having found massive amounts of success in its creation and advertising of original content.
To publicize the newest season of hit show House of Cards, Netflix created a campaign website – fu2016.com – promoting the show’s main character, Frank Underwood, for president. Visitors to the site could customize icons, saying “F U” to whatever they want.
Then there was the time The New York Times ran a 1,500-word feature about female incarceration in the United States – only it wasn’t just an in-depth journalistic piece, it was actually a branded, native advertisement promoting the newest season of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black (source). Yet this was only one – albeit extremely successful – component of the campaign. Later that same week, Netflix sent out a “Crazy Pyes” food truck around New York City to give out free pies and ice cream cones in homage to Uzo Aduba’s fan-favorite character, Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren. (source)
So what can we learn from Netflix’s marketing strategy?
First of all, original content may just be the key to success in a saturated market; the recent success of Netflix’s Stranger Things further illustrates the benefits to creating exclusive content, especially when there are quite a few other streaming platforms competing for consumers.
While original content Netflix appeals to niche audiences, Netflix successfully target mainstream audiences, using interactive and innovative executions to draw the attention of current users and new subscribers alike.
Also, it is vital to understand what your consumers want and how to adapt to their behaviors. Research has found that Millennials don’t respond to advertisements the same way Generation X or Baby Boomers did. Building a community around a brand has become the best way to try and lure Gen Y’s as consumers, and there is no better way than through authentic, experiential marketing. (source)