The Success of Netflix’s Stranger Things Marketing Campaign

Read about the tactics used by Netflix to promote season two of Strangers Things.

By: Tori King


After much PR and marketing buzz leading up to the release of season two of Stranger Things, the show finally became available for Netflix users to watch on October 27th. Fans were unusually eager to find out what would happen next in the Upside Down – and for good reason. Netflix managed to heighten the anticipation for the show’s next season with creative guerilla marketing tactics and unique brand partnerships. As we reflect on how successful the campaigns were, here are three lessons to learn from the show’s marketing tactics.

1. Make it interactive.

On the countdown page for the release of the second season, Netflix hid an easter egg which when clicked, flipped the screen into Upside Down mode. In this mode, everything turns dark with creepy music and eerie vines – much like it is in the show. The cursor acts as a flickering flashlight and every couple of seconds, the demogorgon pops out. Ad agency Doner L.A. also created a 1-800 number for the show. It functioned as a real corporate one would with a hold ringtone, menu directions and automated responses, allowing users to report outages or suspicious activity occurring in Hawkins. These tactics are simple yet effective. It doesn’t require much on the marketers end, but it’s a big step in the right direction for peaking consumer interest.

Netflix also partnered with Lyft shortly before the release to give fans an unforgettable ride-share experience. On October 26th and 27th, Lyft users were given the option to switch their app into ‘Stranger Things’ mode which turned the cars on the screen into waffles, string lights, trucker hats and even the logo of the show. On October 27th and 28th, users in certain cities were able to take a ride that included malfunctioning seats, flickering lights, a warped ceiling, an acting driver and an Eggo waffle. While Netflix was able to reap the rewards of giving fans something new and different to talk about, Lyft benefited as well. This leads into our next tip.

2. Get the help of other brands.


Not only did Netflix choose to partner with Lyft, but they also decided to hone in on the show’s connection to the frozen waffle brand, Eggos. Because Netflix doesn’t offer paid placements, the Kellog Company wasn’t aware that their product would even be used in the show. But after the first season’s success, Eggo was able to use social media to their advantage by posting about the show’s waffle references.

The clothing store, Topshelf, also took to redecorating its London Oxford flagship store for one day in honor of Stranger Things. Spotify, the music streaming platform, used a subtler approach by creating playlists for each of the characters in the show, including ‘Eleven’s Breakfast Jams’ and ‘DemoGorgons Upside Downers’. When a campaign uses other brands to help out its own, it engages a much wider audience than what it would normally reach. With that being said, it is important to only use brands that make sense. The audience of that brand shouldn’t be drastically different and it helps if the tone of the brand is similar to the one being promoted as well.


3. Use what you have.

As a retailer for the show, Target was able to dedicate an entire section of their website to promoting the new season. The page starts off with 80’s inspired, vintage looking Stranger Things swag, ranging from toys to t-shirts, but as you navigate deeper into the site, regular products such as pudding snack packs and trap keepers start popping up. It’s Target’s way of bringing back 80’s era products that connect to the show. With the help of Target, Netflix was able to give fans of all ages something to talk about by combining the nostalgia of another generation with one of this generation’s most popular TV shows.

As Stranger Things progresses through new seasons, Netflix continues to encourage those inside the field of communications to think outside the box. By turning simple ideas into well-thought out campaigns, the show has managed to set the standard for the way marketing should be utilized in the future.


My PR Internship in LA

Read about the internship experience of blogger, Amanda Emmer, who is currently studying in Los Angeles as part of the ICLA program!

By: Amanda Emmer

As a senior this year, I am proud to say how far I’ve come. I am very grateful for my four years at Ithaca College. Ithaca has taught me a lot and provided me the skills I will need soon for the real world. I am also grateful to have studied this semester in Los Angeles, California. For those of you who don’t know, the Park School offers programs for students to study in LA, London or New York. I decided to pursue the LA Program because I was interested in learning about the entertainment industry, specifically in TV.

Choosing to come to LA was scary at first. I didn’t know too many people out here and wasn’t sure how my experience was going to be. After a couple months of exploring the area, I lost that feeling of nervousness. I hiked to the Hollywood Sign, toured the Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA), traveled to Santa Monica, visited the Long Beach Aquarium and more.


When I signed up for the LA Program, I had to find an internship. The program helps you find the internship that is in the realm of what you want to do in the future. After applying to many companies, I ended up interning at Turner Broadcasting TBS/TNT Company. I am mainly the TBS PR intern but at times, I help with the TNT related tasks. My supervisors are in charge of public relations for different areas. The different areas in the department are Events and Awards, TBS, TNT and General. Each supervisor is also in charge of public relations for different TV shows.

Amanda2During my internship, I have been able to apply what I learned in my classes to my job. I also learned a lot through PRSSA and my other internships. For example, I update the pressroom with images and media releases, like I learned about in classes like Public Relations and Writing for PR. I also review the PR campaigns that have been done in the past. Yet, I have learned many tasks that my classes haven’t taught me. This includes putting together press clips, contacting celebrity representatives, utilizing IMBDPRO and editing itineraries for celebrities. I have enjoyed working for a TV network because I have also learned so much about the networks’ current shows, cast members and producers.

Before coming to LA, I knew I wanted to pursue public relations. What I didn’t know is how much I would love being a PR intern in the entertainment industry. Studying in LA gave me the opportunity to not only see what life is like out west, but also how the work culture is. Throughout my internship, I have learned that public relations is a very demanding but rewarding job. My internship is a hands-on experience and taught me if there is something you want to learn, you have to ask for it. No one is just going to hand you tasks. You have to prove how dedicated and ready you are to take on new challenges. When there is nothing to do, you either make work for yourself or ask around the department.

Networking in LA was also an important part of my internship. It’s always important to show that you care by asking your supervisor questions. I had the opportunity to get to know everyone in my department and ask them about their careers. I was able to talk to people not only in public relations, but also in different departments. It is important to know the other departments in a company because the more you know outside your department, the better knowledge you will have about the company.

Overall, I am happy that I studied in LA. I would encourage anyone interested in this field to get involved with as many internships and experiences outside the classroom as possible. I would also encourage anyone thinking about pursing PR in the entertainment industry to spend a semester in the ICLA program. This city is filled with many opportunities for not only film, but also public relations. Taking risks and going outside your comfort zone will help you long term in your career.

Marketing and PR Ideas for Halloween

Read about the promotional opportunities that the Halloween season can offer to any company looking to spice up its social media platforms!

By: Amy Friedlander

Holidays can be the perfect way to lighten up and refresh a company’s social media account. Halloween, especially, is a very playful holiday that has the potential for many different opportunities on professional social media accounts that are otherwise less lighthearted. It is estimated that Halloween produces the most social media coverage and interest out of any holiday and generates the second highest consumer spending, amounting to $9.1 billion, right behind Christmas. By implementing creative tactics, businesses from all areas can make connections to Halloween to escalate their social media presence and PR/marketing messages.

Below are 5 ways to incorporate Halloween themes into a promotional opportunity.

1. Create online tutorials and DIYs that incorporate your company’s products.

This would be especially useful for makeup and clothing stores. For example, Sephora could post short video clips outlining ways to turn yourself into a fairy, using a particular glittery eye shadow sold exclusively at Sephora. Forever 21 could post “5 last minute costume ideas” that incorporate inexpensive pieces of clothing sold on their website or in stores. For example, they could have Rosie the Riveter shown on their website with a link to a red bandana and a denim button-down shirt.

2. Design a contest that has a specific connection to your business.

If you are in the food industry, come up with a contest that involves Halloween inspired foods or treats. You could even make a contest amongst employees to see who could bake or cook the best Halloween food and post the winning creations on your social media platforms. The company could even have customers help judge the contest to increase interaction, which will add a personalized feature. A company could host a competition that is open to the public to increase its word-of-mouth and social media presence. One idea could be to create a contest to see who could make the most creative Halloween logo using the company’s current logo for a cash prize. This will create free advertising through the increased viewership of the logo.


3. Hand out branded promotional products.

One way to spread company awareness could be to give out promotional products using the company’s logo. Your logo can be printed on various Halloween items ranging from candy bar wrappers, flash lights, trick-o-treat bags, sweatshirts, and much more. Dispersing free promotional products at the time of a purchase can go a long way in promoting a brand. For instance, if you hand out a free flashlight at the time of purchase, someone may be more inclined to return knowing that they were given a free item when they made a purchase.

4. Decorate your office to be Halloween themed.

This is a great way for a company to get creative! Companies that require customers to come into the store could transform the storefront into a haunted house or a Halloween extravaganza. They could promote this set-up on social media and use hashtags to spread the visuals around Instagram and Twitter.


5. Create a Halloween event.

Companies can host events that are Halloween-themed to generate interest during the weeks leading up to the holiday. Companies in the culinary industry could host a cooking class event for any age that teaches the customer how to make Halloween-inspired treats. They could make witch fingers out of pretzel rods, ghosts out of Milano cookies, eyeballs out of olives, and many more fun treats that could be for young children or even adults who want to recreate these foods if they host their own party. A wine and design company could even have Halloween scenes as the painting templates for the classes that they hold, and a nail company could have Halloween designed nail art lessons for customers.

There are so many creative ways to incorporate Halloween, or any festive holiday into a company’s business to generate interest and increase revenue leading up to the holiday. With a little creativity and innovation, any company can strategically play off of a holiday to spin their every-day business into a special promotion or event.