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As a kid growing up in the ’80s, sporting my Jams and Swatch watch while cruising around the neighborhood on my Mongoose BMX, I fell in love with stranger things in the first few minutes of episode one. The phenomenon that is now stranger things It couldn’t be a better time for us marketers. With the second season now seen by more 16 million fans the franchise has successfully merged the marketing modern with a simplicity that made the ’80s as endearing a decade as Eggo waffles.
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So, let’s tune into this curated list of 11 (obviously!) ways that stranger things has made us marketers rethink how to engage audiences:
1. Tell goodbye to the generation gap
The show has bridged the generation gap in a way most brands can’t quite fathom. stranger things has those of us who grew up in the ’80s sitting right next to the millennials and centennials as we binge-watch and then regroup to discuss. stranger things harnesses the cultural nostalgia of multiple generations, creating a new form of connective tissue that It’s not just for “80s nerds.”
2. Be proactively reactive
when it came out ET in 1982, Reese’s Pieces got an unexpected alien plug. But since social media didn’t exist back then, the Mark he had no choice but to sit back and ride the wave. On the other hand, when stranger things gave Eggo a big free plugin during this year’s Super Bowl, instead of just taking the mention, Eggo was smart enough to participate in the conversation and, even more proactively, created a new conversation by launching smart tactics. own, like a spoiler alert popup blocker and a interactive microsite .
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3. Think “Open API”
Similar to how the tech space created an open API for developers, stranger things He has opened the door for brands to get on the train. While there’s a clear difference between licensed partnerships and simple content references, many brands were able to build on the hype leading up to season two to create new relevance, from fast-casual restaurant chains like panda express promoting a supernatural kind of love for orange chicken until canine influencer Doug the Pug launches Stranger Pugs 2. The moral here is to always think with an open mind.
Four. working together adds up
Traditionally, the legal department is the Demogorgon for marketers; we think of pressing and they of protecting. Netflix, which streams stranger thingsproved itself legal and that marketing can work together to build buzz when its legal team issued a super creative letter of cease and desist asking a Chicago bar to close an unauthorized pop-up using program references. It’s a great lesson in how brands can work across departments to execute a master narrative.
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5. Customize your healing
With data driving how we personalize everything from content to experiences, simple curation is no longer enough. With the release of the second season of stranger things, Spotify gave consumers that opportunity by combining their musical taste with their favorite character from stranger things to offer curated playlists. As marketers, we must continue to find innovative ways to personalize experiences and create easily shareable activations.
6. Virtual reality is reality
The technology Trending allows a brand to draw consumers from the outside in (or, in this case, the other way around) and is a surefire way to generate winning conversations. stranger things threw a virtual reality video of 360 degrees that has more than 2 million visits. It allows viewers to place themselves in one of the show’s most famous settings. The lesson learned here is that not all VR/AR experiences have to be expensive (fans can access this content using something as simple as Google Cardboard ).
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7. gamification is gold
stranger things it has also integrated gaming tactics and gamification to increase its cool factor and incorporate the unexpected into fan interactions. Tactics like the hidden easter egg that turns the page of a Netflix user complement a digital activation that the brand did with the live streaming site twitch and a downloadable video game. We live in a culture that is all about racking up points, topping the leaderboard, and earning badges. Brands looking to gamify their storytelling will win, especially with coveted millennials.
8. Take the experience to the next level
stranger things turned on-demand transportation into a full-fledged experience during Comic-Con this fall when it took over the streets of New York City. Attendees were able to request free rides in paranormal trikes hosted by look-alikes of fan favorite Dustin Henderson, who handed out gifts of stranger things. To rally the press around the activation, a fleet of tours took place outside the program Today Y Good Morning Americasomething we always recommend our clients do to maximize ROI on stunt spend.
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9. Get over your life away from home
Executions outside the home are a great way to attract media attention. stranger things created a mysteriously placed billboard for Hawkins Power & Light in New York and Los Angeles, and made it interactive with a functional 1-800 number. Initially, callers heard menu prompts and music on hold, which led to the topic of stranger things and clues about the second season. Surprise runs and away-from-home treats are a fantastic alternative channel to consider when you don’t have above-the-line dollars to spend.
10. Say hello to parallel stories
While hidden camera stunts are not the all new The team of stranger things tapped into consumers’ thirst for more information by creating a YouTube playlist called Hawkins Monitored. This playlist allows viewers to spy on the residents of Hawkins using hidden cameras that reveal deeper insight into their favorite characters. Brands that look beyond linear storytelling and side stories can forge even deeper connections and build long-term loyalty with their audiences.
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eleven. Make the end your next beginning
While you want to leave brand fans clamoring for more, don’t lose sight of the fact that we live in a binge-eating world. Feed your targets’ desire for bonuses and added value by thinking about your content strategy before you start creating. Beyond Stranger Things offers fans the chance to further explore the show through compelling commentary from the director, cast and show creators, the Duffer Brothers. After all, if you’re not connected to the story behind the story these days, do you really know much?
Sure, the ’80s were a much simpler time. Brands didn’t need to consider an ever-evolving digital landscape, social media influencers, or the fact that every consumer with a smartphone can be a creator in their own right. In the ’80s, the to-order culture meant Domino’s pizza was delivered within an hour or free. And our experience economy was at the skating rink or the arcade. But, as complicated as it is to navigate marketing today, stranger things has shown that sometimes looking back (or the other way around) can make a world of difference when it comes to nailing a narrative that interests consumers.
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11 Supernatural Ways ‘Stranger Things’ Has Turned Marketing Upside Down