If Will Byers actually existed right now, he might find himself wondering … will buyers be drawn in by Stranger Things’ latest round of marketing gimmicks?
Maybe the real question is: who won’t be?! Stranger Things is turning the marketing world upside-down with a myriad of production partnerships.
The New Coke Comeback
First, there is the sneaky comeback of New Coke. Those of you old enough to remember this rum-cola relic probably recall that it had about zero popularity – and zero flavor – back in the day. But that is of no matter to Stranger Things and Coca-Cola marketing strategists: they’re hoping that this particular vestige of mediocrity will be able to ride a little wave of 80s nostalgia á la Upside Down to manufacture massive moula.
A limited supply of the vintage beverage will be available starting on Thursday as part of a robust promotional campaign related to the coming season of “Stranger Things,” the supernatural thriller set in the 1980s. New Coke will also appear in several episodes of the show. Representatives of both companies said no money changed hands in that product-placement deal.
Easter Eggos and Upside-Down Whoppers, Oh My!
Eggo, a significant brand in the show, has even gotten in on the action with an 80s mini-marketing makeover: The Drum relates:
First came an unexpected takeover of Eggo’s social channels last week, with posts showing Kellogg’s Eggo billboard ads, which appear to be straight out of the 1980s, making strange appearances in towns named Hawkins across Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Texas, Wisconsin and more.
Strange things are now happening on the Eggo Instagram account, which has been taken over by an ‘Easter Eggo Hunt,’ featuring ads from 1985. But each ad appears to be a little off, as if influenced by another realm, say the Upside Down.
Other chains have come out with Stranger Things-themed campaigns — from those as subtle as the Burger King upside-down whopper to Baskin Robbins creation of an entire “Scoops Ahoy” line of ice cream products and flavors. The ice cream chain even fashioned one of its locations to be an exact replica of the “Scoops Ahoy” ice cream shop featured in the latest season, and has deployed Scoops-Ahoy ice-cream boat trucks across the West Coast.
And if that wasn’t quite hardcore enough for you, H&M has also recently come out with a line of Stranger Things merch, mimicking clothing of the show’s stars or featuring graphic nods to the TV series – like this apparently Hawaiian-flower-but-actually-demagorgen-covered swimsuit. Because that was totally something we asked for…then again, few of you probably object to the inclusion of Dacre Montgomery in the product promotion.
The Key Marketing Takeaway
Marketers have to be flexible with their strategies while the world around them evolves and grows. While just a decade ago, advertising revenue from ad breaks was what made the world of television go round, Netflix has proven it doesn’t have to be that way. With no commercials on its platform, Netflix still manages to effectively gain visibility, notoriety, and viewership with its approach. For Stranger Things more specifically, it appears that a series of mutually beneficial partnerships with other companies have been very effective in garnering greater attention for all involved.