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Stranger Things have happened in marketing 

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Stranger Things have happened in marketing 

American science fiction-horror-action web television series, Stranger Things, first burst onto our screens in July 2016, and it’s proven to be totally addictive, rapidly growing a cult following

With viewing figures averaging a whopping 8.8million per episode, audiences haven’t been the only ones to sit up and take notice. The series has also captured the imagination of marketing teams, who have been quick to spot an opportunity.

Whether it’s the iconic 80s fashion and music, or the intriguing guise of ‘The Upside Down’ brands have been inspired to do, well, stranger things than they normally might! And by stranger, we mean some super creative, out of the box thinking.

The result being that the Netflix hit has been a catalyst for some of the standout campaigns and promotions we’ve seen this year – and with the arrival of Season 3, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

How Stranger Things has turned marketing on its head

Traditionally, brands would get involved with a new release by plugging it on their product and running some kind of ‘money can’t buy’ giveaway.
For Stranger Things, while the activity has been driven to an extent by Netflix actively seeking out strategic brand partners, we are seeing teams get uber creative with their tie-ins and newshacking efforts.

  • At one end of the scale, we’ve seen products from the show making a comeback, like Kellogg’s Eggo waffles (a favourite of the show’s main character 11), complete with a packaging design the same as those sold in 1985.
  • The sweet treats continue with the ice cream boffins at Baskin-Robbins launching exclusive ice cream flavours and products tied to the show, along with recreating the ‘Scoops Ahoy’ ice cream shop.
  • And picking up on the 80’s fashion trends that are so memorable in the show, Nike has dug deep in its archives to create a collection of retro clothing and sneakers.

But that’s nothing, compared to the creativity of these three brands, who have really turned marketing on its head.

Top 3 Stranger Things campaigns

3. Coca-Cola – Coca-Cola has created a Palace Arcade, just like the one seen in the TV show, complete with 1980s video games and a secret “upside-down” world that’s only accessible to those with a good knowledge of the show, who are then given a limited edition upside down can.

2. Ikea – How would you like to get that 1980’s horror style in your own home, by recreating Joyce Byers’ living room from Stranger Things? Well now you can, thanks to Ikea. This awesome idea was just one of a range of famous living rooms the furniture giant has helped customers recreate in its catalogue.

1. Lego- But undoubtedly the champion of Stranger Things marketing is Lego! They’ve introduced a themed Lego set that can literally be flipped upside down to expose the evil version of the Byers’ iconic house, where many of the show’s key moments have played out. It comes complete with a retro TV advert to boot.

Pressing play on creativity

It remains to be seen whether other programmes and films will ever be able to top the creative ideas that Stranger Things has inspired. The production team had a plan and openly went out there to make it happen through a series of strategic tie-ins, and the end result has been spectacular.

On a smaller scale, we saw the same thing starting to happen with Games of Thrones, so let’s hope the play button has officially been pressed on all-out, nostalgic, visual and experiential marketing creativity!

“The guys at Alive understand the complexities of our business which means we don’t need to explain the detail of every project or design piece – they’re already on it, which keeps things moving and delivers the results we need.”

Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha — Tata Consultancy Services

“So glad that we chose Alive to create our new website. As well as taking the time to get the visual side of our requirement right, they worked with us to understand us, our business and our clients and reflect this across the site. We loved their flexible approach, which, coupled with the right level of challenge has replaced our old, clunky site with one we can be proud of. ”

Victoria Ford — Perago

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q