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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 Varghese — 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

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“‘We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron — KP Snacks

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“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