Netflix is great for distribution and its original productions are the talk of the town. But strong digital marketing campaigns are required to stand out from the wealth of content. There are promotional challenges around a single release date – rather than a weekly broadcast – but there are also a great many advantages. The key, for us, is to have a talent-driven campaign that draws as much as possible from the show itself.
Focus on talent
We have worked directly with Netflix to develop a marketing strategy driven by involved talent’s social media profiles. This is who the audience cares about and connects with. We did this for The Fix with Jimmy Carr, for example, and for Travels with my Father. There we used Jack and Michael Whitehall’s accounts as driving force. It is rarely possible to keep a buzz going with just top-down messaging – conversations are the key to building ongoing engagement.
We make sure that all the accounts follow the same strategy and schedule. But buzzing conversations also come from fresh, unexpected content. To add a quirky dimension to Travels with my Father, and to give us a chance to drive the conversation into different angles, we created social media profiles for Winston, Jack’s Luk Thep doll, who speaks only in emojis. Non-human characters are not only fun, they play to different rules, which helps us cast a wider net. This way, all the accounts could support each others’ posts and generate more buzz. We’re always open to a bit of fun and love anything that’s outside the box.
Outside the box
Our close working relationship with Netflix and familiarity with the Netflix multiverse allows us to think in cross-pollination. With Jack Whitehall’s At Large, for example, we tapped into the conversation around other successful Netflix shows and bounced off them. Jack regularly posted jokingly about Stranger Things and we put him, playfully, into other Netflix shows’ posters. Connecting audiences in a fun way is often successful, as long as it is done creatively.
Netflix is not in the habit of releasing viewing figures, so success is not easily measured. However, we see Winston-the-Doll’s growing following as proof that it’s going well. Of course, Netflix’s commissioning of Seasons Two and Three of Travels with my Father was welcome, too.