Along with the show’s 13.7 million other viewers, I have fallen victim to the 80’s nostalgic magic that is Stranger Things. With a phenomenal plot, exquisite score, and near-perfect set and costume design, the show is easy to fall in love with. Even if it weren’t, however, the brilliant multi-channel marketing campaigns would be enough to ensnare even the most media-resistant consumer. Aside from aggressive social media campaigns that span across nearly every platform, large-scale publicity stunts, and witty billboards, Netflix has also artfully paired with era-appropriate brands to create brilliant simplistic tv spots. These nostalgic ads appeal help to bridge the age gap in marketing by appealing not only to those who remember the throwback references, but also the modern-day hipster market with an appreciation for vintage flair.
The most notable of these ads aired during the 2017 Super Bowl and featured a throwback Eggo commercial that quickly cut to a teaser trailer for the upcoming Stranger Things 2 release. See the commercial featured below:
This commercial was essentially the perfect strategic move to please both existing viewers and catch the attention of those who might become viewers in the future. Stranger Things was initially marketed to and accepted by it’s Season 1 fanbase by buildup at Comic-Con and promo spots at the beginning of other Netflix shows. Those who know and love the show remember that Eleven, the show’s heroine, becomes enamored with the frozen waffle brand in the first season to the point of shoplifting them from a local grocer in a moment of desperation. This love affair between Eleven and Eggo waffles continues throughout the rest of the season, therefore, making fans eager for the release of season 2 an easy target for such an ad partnership. Aside from existing fans, this also was a good move to expand their fan base. Not only is a Super Bowl spot the most expensive and coveted ad placement in tv marketing, but it is an audience the show may not have otherwise reached. While of course, there are many well-rounded human beings with a wide variety of entertainment tastes, sports fans were not in their original target market or fanbase. Much like within the ‘news information bubble,’ where viewers only read news that already appeals to their existing viewpoints, many people stay within their comfort zone when searching for new entertainment they might enjoy. Therefore, this ad spot was an excellent choice for the network to attempt to appeal to new viewers. Finally, the partnership with Eggo in general was a wise move. Not only did it open the pathway for other forms of co-branding like on social media platforms like Twitter, but it gave the show the opportunity to fund such a campaign. While Eggo has maintained that all product placement in the show was organic, the company did help fund the bill to get the show placement during a large-scale event like the Super Bowl. This is irreplaceable product placement and undoubtedly helped to continue the rapid growth of committed viewers.