How Netflix marketed Wednesday into a hit
The Future. Just over a month after its release, Netflix’s hit show Wednesday has become its second-most-watched English-language show, nabbing over 1.19 billion viewing hours in its first month of streaming. Unlike with previous hits, Netflix knew this one would take off – because they marketed it that way. If the streaming giant can do this reliably, they might just pull ahead of their competitors.
All in the ads
According to Ad Age, Netflix began their marketing campaign for Wednesday over a year before the show came out.
- Their first move was a viral social media mantra – “What would Wednesday do?” – that went up on the show’s Twitter account, which now has 220k followers.
- Netflix also had Wednesday’s actors film a fictional recruitment video for the private school in the show, Nevermore Academy. Some fans who went to an enrollment site mentioned in the video were then sent school apparel.
- Then the show went – well, everywhere – pasting ads on TSA bins and sending Wednesday’s sidekick, a dismembered hand called Thing, into cities around the world to film its interactions with passersby. Thing even appeared at the red carpet premiere of another Netflix show Emily in Paris.
- Organic marketing also played a role. A school dance scene blew up on TikTok, with the hashtag “Wednesday” getting over 25 billion views as a result, which the marketing team hadn’t planned at all.
Marian Lee, Netflix’s chief marketing officer, says that the company’s policy is to plan 80% of marketing beforehand and leave 20% open to react to fans.
Playing the field
And Netflix isn’t done marketing Wednesday just yet. Lee said that while the show has been extremely successful with younger audiences, many older age brackets haven’t seen it, and the show hopes to lean on nostalgia to bring them in.
That raises a question: do multi-platform advertising campaigns like this reach older audiences, or are they mainly successful with younger ones? It seems like a combination of recognizable IP and marketing presence on traditionally young platforms helped Netflix in this case – but maybe that’s because Wednesday is aimed at younger audiences. Trying this approach with a show targeted at adults – and with less name recognition – would be a true test of the method’s mettle.