- Netflix, the video streaming service with 109.3 million subscribers globally, partnered with ride-sharing app Lyft to promote the second season of science fiction-horror series “Stranger Things,” according to a blog post from Lyft. Passengers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia who select “Strange Mode” in the Lyft app get a chance to have a scary, in-car experience between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time Oct. 27-28.
- As a video demonstration shows, the immersive “Stranger Things” ride comes complete with creepy lighting effects, nauseating slugs and people in hazmat suits bearing Eggo Waffles, which fans know is the favorite food of character Eleven. Netflix starts streaming the second season today.
- Ethan Eyler, director of ride experience at Lyft, told Adweek the company sees cars as a stage for special promotions like the one for “Stranger Things.” Creative shop Deeplocal worked with Netflix and Lyft on the paranormal-inspired ride. Lyft users nationwide were offered an in-app experience tied to the show starting last night, and runs today 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Netflix’s buildup for the second season of hit series “Stranger Things” started in February with a Super Bowl ad, and is now reaching a crescendo with special promotions such as Lyft’s immersive “Strange Mode.” The themed car ride promises to provide a memorable experience, a strategy that can help brands connect with younger consumers who are not interested in traditional ads. For Lyft, the "Stranger Things" ride is the latest example of how brands are partnering with the platform for tailored experiences. For example, Budweiser and Lyft are offering a Prohibition tour to promote a limited-edition beer.
Brand tie-ins with "Stranger Things" are ramping and have the potential to make an impact given how popular the show is. Recent research shows a significant lift in email engagement when subject lines tease content related to "Stranger Things." Other marketers capitalizing on the show's popularity include Kellogg’s, whose Eggo Waffles created a “L’Eggo My Spoiler” app that aims to screen out gossip about the show on social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter. Reebok is offering limited-edition sneakers tied to the show.
Netflix’s promotion of its original programming comes as the company plans to boost spending on content as media companies like Disney plan to launch rival streaming subscription services. Last week in a call with investors, Netflix discussed raising its investment in original content to as much as $8 billion next year, compared with $7 billion this year. Netflix also touted its ability to boost the profile of programming on other networks. CW's "Riverdale," which is a contemporary take on the “Archie” comic strip, boosted its TV audience fivefold from season 1 to season 2 after the show appeared on Netflix between seasons, according to Netflix.
Netflix is also cultivating loyalty that isn’t seen in rivals with 80% of subscribers saying they don’t pay for other streaming services, according to a study by Second Measure cited by Boy Genius Report. Netflix appears to be a “must-have” service while competitors like HBO and Hulu are viewed as “add-ons.” Hulu subscribers are more likely than the general population to have a Netflix account, as 62% of Hulu members also have Netflix. The overlap may indicator that subscribers will continue to view Netflix as the most important cord-cutter service.