How Netflix Chose to Promote OITNB with Promotional Products
Netflix is quickly risen to the top of movie rental industry. Combined with their streaming video service they have all but demolished the conventional video rental store. Their convenient pricing and easy to use website allows subscribers to watch almost every movie/television show on demand in a moment’s notice. Yet, Netflix never seems to be satisfied with their product at hand. They now have stepped into the realm of original programming. They have resurrected cult favorites like Arrested Development and The Killing and recruited big names such as Kevin Spacey and David Fincher to headline their own version of House of Cards. All their original programming is released at once, so it’s perfect for the binge-watching audience they attract. But how does Netflix get people excited about the new shows? Let’s dissect how Netflix chose to promote the second season of Orange is the New Black.
A little background on Orange is the New Black
OITNB is a comedy-drama series based on Piper Kerman’s memoir about her experiences in prison. Created by Jenji Kohan, the creator of Showtime’s Weeds, the show revolves around Piper Chapman, an upper-class woman who is sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prison for transporting a suitcase full of drugs money to her former girlfriend, who is an international drug smuggler. Now she must adjust to her new living arrangement, fellow inmates and the inside workings of the prison.
Promoting Season 2
OITNB was released in July 2013, and after receiving rave reviews from fans and critics alike the show was quickly picked up for a second season. Yet with many fans consuming the show the moment it hit their queue and burning through the entire season in such a short period of time, Netflix had their hands full when it came to attracting fans back before the new season was released on June 6.
Netflix’s first major PR stunt in anticipation of the new season was Crazy Pyes food truck that toured the country offering free pie and swirled ice cream cones. The idea inspired by Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren’s famous line “I threw my pie for you” , caught the attention of so many from cities across the country as their filled their stomachs of delicious desserts.
OITNB also hosted a fan art competition in order to get fans thinking about the show again. Here artists could submit their own original designs in hopes of being part of Netflix’s global outdoor advertising campaign for the show. This user-generated content not only got fans talking, but submissions have been used throughout all of the shows social media outlets.
The show’s social media presence has been one of the biggest catalyst’s for the shows success. Their active voice created the hashtag #OnWednesdaysWeWearOrange where fans post pics of them wearing orange or some sort of OITNB inspired swag.
Which brings us to the promos! The show offered giveaways to those who were active during their social events. The ‘fan packs’ were full of goodies inspired by the first season and caused a surge of activity from users. The social giveaways and other promotional products truly display how a business should think about promo.
— Orange Is the New… (@OITNB) June 21, 2014
— Orange Is the New… (@OITNB) June 6, 2014
Breaking Down the Swag
The amazing thing about all of the OITNB swag was how it all related to the show in one form or another. Whether the item had a direct impact on the story line, was in correlation to being in prison or enhancing your viewing experience on Netflix, they did a terrific job of connecting their swag to the show and their audience.
Shower Bag and Sandals – Communal showers aren’t typically the most sanitary, along with not knowing what some of the other girls might be carrying, its always smart to wear sandals into the shower
Temporary Tattoos – Even if you aren’t inked up when you go into prison, your most likely going to have at least one on your way out
Pull Back Roach – Roaches were a way key component for Piper early in the second season
Mascara – Just because these ladies are in prison doesn’t mean they don’t want to look good
Chicken – The chicken was a sign of hope for Piper in the first season. Look quick or you miss miss it!
Soap on a Rope – A must have in prison because we all know what happens when you drop the soap!
Coffee Mug – A very tradition promotional product, but a perfect compliment when you need a cup so you can stay up and continue to binge.
Diary Journal – When the original Piper was in prison, she needed somewhere to write down her thoughts in order to complete her memoir
Screwdriver – The screwdriver caused some drama of its own in the first season.
When thinking about how promotional products should fit in to your marketing there are some simple questions you should ask. In this case it was, is this product relevant? Is it useful? And is it entertaining? Looking through the array of swag for OITNB, I think the answer is a big YES for all three.