Netflix’s “Stranger Things” has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the mid-80s, it echoes the trends and styles of small town America. It’s also a marketing phenom with dozens of product placements and tie-ins.
You can order a Domino’s pizza on the Stranger Things Dominos app extension. Or maybe you would rather eat Eggos, or 3D Doritos out of a Stranger Things-themed bag. Get dressed to go out wearing Nike and Adidas shoes. Drive a Cadillac or Chevrolet. And eat at Burger King or Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Season 4 continues the marketing momentum. The marketing tie-ins for 100 brands of cars, drinks, food, and more equaled more than $15 million in advertising value. It’s not just the time on the screen that brands value. Billions of media impressions also deliver billions of dollars in media value for featured products.
Netflix claims that none of the brands and products are paid-for placements – they are part of the story and fit into the 1980s lifestyle. Some brands – such as Nike, Levi’s, and Coca-Cola – also re-released throwback products in conjunction with the show to maintain their authenticity.
And let’s not forget about the official Stranger Things official store (open for a limited time only)!
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Poll students: What have they observed in their purchases? Are the sizes or prices the same?
- View video about product placement on Netflix: https://youtu.be/UIKs0SCTxA4
- Outside classroom activity: Watch an episode or two of Stranger Things and list all the product placements.
- Show website for Concave brand tracking: https://concavebt.com/
- There are several good videos here on brand tracking and product placement.
- What is the difference between product placement and advertising?
- Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a product placement strategy for a product of their choosing.
- Finally, check out the store: https://strangerthings-store.com/
Sources: How Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ brand partnerships can turn its fortunes upside down. (27 April 2022). Fast Company.