Mass Media Advertising & ‘Netflix’ ads

Mass Media Advertising & ‘Netflix’ ads

April 5, 2019 0 By Tanrak Eamsiri, Thitikan Bunkul, Panita Chaeroenpol

“The randomization of cultural production” — (Malcolm Bradbury, The Guardian)

Talking about the Postmodern era, living in a society of the spectacle. Varieties of things go divergent from its original direction. Differ from modernism, it has lost the faith of impressive building of innovation and modern improvement. The impact of image and representation on media had influenced everything in every aspect includes social movement, audience behavior, ideal theories, changing stereotypes, media disruption, political correctness terms, architecture work, literature work, etc.  Mixed and mashed everything up and represent it as a stimulated ‘new thing’. Hyperreality is the intense and valid impact from an ideal of postmodernism , thing becomes harder to digest and judge rather it real or fake. Big Bang theory also engage to the change of disruption as media becomes main factor that drives society. Media user tends to believe in what they consume on media without using enough critical thinking. Hence, we could see how postmodernism has reinforces the direction of society and belief along with behavior of people in the current time.

On advertising scale, Pastiche, Parody, and Intertextual are used in millions of advertisement, as a tool to catch audience attention. Meaning that current producer is focus more on the idea of representation rather than the message about the real benefit of actual product. ‘Postmodern marketing’ reveal an idea to understand deeper on audience experience and expectation in the use for marketing approach. Due to Bernard Cova(1996), marketing nowadays are focus more on psychological and behavior of the audience rather than ancient demographics strategy. Consumers are no longer consume the certain product. Instead, they are consuming symbolic meaning that associated with the advertisement. Cova also mentioned that post-modern marketing need to respond quickly to whole new elements including incorporating co-creation, customization and interactivity. However, tribalism which is a social network of varied people who shared the belief of the brand and potential for fragmented virtual communities is also needs to remain. Four approaches for postmodern marketing are focus on emotional and symbolic meaning/ customization and audience interactivity/ emphasis on tribalism and identity and lastly, include playfulness and intertextuality.

Advertisement, defined as any paid form of presentations or promotion of ideas, goods, and services by an identified sponsor. According to Russell H. Colley, from the book “Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results” giving a meaning of the main goal to achieve specific communication tasks with a specific audience in a specific period of time. Indeed, the basis goals for advertising can be divides into three main aims.

‘Informative Advertisement’ is to build up primary demand which includes detail about feature of new product or service to attract the decision-making process of the target consumer. The good example is high-protein beverage. It claims the feature benefit that contains extra protein which could help customer gain physical health ideal e.g. more muscle and be fitter than the regular product.

‘Persuasive Advertisement’. This type claims on the better value that consumers could earn by consuming its product or service compare to the competitor. We can see that some advertisement are attack their opposite competitive in a straight manner. Pizza Hut, released the advertisement provided new and better promotion for only 99 baht per pizza, just after the ads of their competitor, Pizza Company had released as ‘Buy 1 get 1 free’. Thus, the ads of Pizza Hut mentioned one crucial sentence

— “CHEAPER THAN BUY 1 GET 1 FREE”.


-‘Reminder Advertisement’, rise up awareness or inform the audience about the product. Importantly, the benefit must be repeat to remind the degree of buying the product or service. This means that other type of advertising need to released before, then come to this type of advertising as a reminding tool.

Enough for theoric aspect. Now, let come to the practical analysis of the most unique and creative advertising in the Postmodern age…

“NETFLIX ADVERTISING”

What is Netflix?

Netflix is the major streaming service for the audience to enjoy varieties of entertainment contents (e.g. films, series TV, documentaries, etc) via internet devices. In the beginning, Netflix was a subscription-based DVD service that was mail straightly to the audience home. Surprisingly, in 2007, Netflix expanded and developed its streaming service to let the audience watch on-demand TV shows and movies ad-free. Time passed, it became the biggest entertainment recognized worldwide, including Thailand!

In April 2017, Netflix first debuted to Thailand (#Cultural Imperialism) Massively changed Thai culture and behavior on mass media consumption, especially in consume movies and TV shows. One month later, it introduced a new unique way of content consuming through Netflix by using just internet access devices including smartphone, tablet, or notebook. No need to concentrate homely on old school television! On July 2017, Netflix used the ideal of feminism through Glow and Orange Is the New Black. (#Changing media, Changing stereotypes). Besides from that, Netflix also released a challenge to engaged audience directly by Netflix Marathon. Lead the audience to watch their favorite TV series once to the end. Apparently, there were 8.4 million viewers joined. More surprise, Thai participants became the big second number in South East Asia! Realistically, November of that year, Netflix build up an upside downtown of Stranger Things Season 2 in the middle of downtown  Bangkok. Let their fans and journalists engaged strikingly with the show.

New year edition!

Image result for ป้ายทางด่วน netflix

Billboards advertising of Netflix for 2018’s New year had proved how the company did research particularly on psychological behavior of customers. Plus, how they understand the main point of Thai people. We all know, New year is the time of holiday and relaxation. In every single year, Bangkokians always use this period of time to escape the crowd out to the countryside like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hua Hin or even the nearest beach in Pattaya. However, as majority think the same way, traffic jam becomes a huge issue in every route outward bound from Bangkok. Wisely, the company use an idea of choice in by spark new route for customer and attack the attention by using this key message “ Still fine to change your mind, Don’t know where to go?, Go Netflix” (“ ปีใหม่เปลี่ยนใจยังทัน ไม่ไปไหน ไป Netflix”)

When old media got hijacked!

The most stampeded advertising was the promoted of ‘Black Mirror’. This advertisement went viral in a speedy time with high risk to cause misunderstanding to some group of people, especially elderly who don’t know what is Netflix and don’t have access to internet device. As the ads wasn’t published only on newspaper but also on the actual television news report too! Netflix simulate the idea of the series in an actual and famous news outlets of Thailand which lead to many complaint by audience as it led to huge confusion of mass audience.

Moreover, Netflix Thailand had created a pop-up exhibition “Hungry For Power” for people who watch their original series “Kingdom” to experience the real set and props of the series. Fortunately, lots of viewers joint the event enjoyably.


In this event, the audience can have more engagement and deeper in hyperreality world. Netflix make such a smart move here!

Another interesting technique that Netflix Thailand uses is to collaborating with well-known influencers. In this campaign, Netflix promotes their series “Sabrina” by using well-known influencer, BNK48.

By comparison,  you can see that the girl group of BNK48 is even more popular than Netflix Thailand Instagram account, so this style of advertising could potentially be more effective and reach to a wide amount of customer.

All the girls posted the ads pictures individually on their own Instagram. Surprisingly, some of the girls have over 950K followers! Thus, the audience of BNK48 become the audience of Netflix. On a deeper scale, BNK48 also use the Star theory to attract more audience as each girl have their own style and different type of fan club. Similar to the strategy used by the Kardashian family as several influencers could reach different and diverse target audience. Combines all markets together, the company can earn more views than ever.

Moving on, there are many more interesting Netflix promos and campaigns all around the world!

Our first stop, “Narcos” – Netflix original series. The series is about the true story of Colombia’s infamously violent and powerful drug cartels fuels this gritty gangster.

Netflix and the ads agency, Doner Los Angeles, had collaborated and created an amazing promo by putting cocaine stickers all around one hundred and sixty bars and hotspots in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Miami! What represented on the sticker is $1 bill that rolled cocaine inside. Consequently, the stickers make restroom user being curious and thus, continue to read full text mentioned in order to find out what it is!

Not only in public restroom but also in the Los Angeles International Airport! Million of airport user had potentially spotted Narcos Ads on the security trays,

“Whoa, did you forget your Passport sir?”

But, Netflix did not stop here. There is one more Narcos ads that will make you stop and watch is coming!

The Narcos promos were located around the bus stop at College and McCaul Streets, King and Niagara Streets, Queen and Shaw Streets and College Street and University Avenue and Toronto Canada. This time, the streaming giant had collaborated with IPG Mediabrands, with collaboration from Minnesota-based Atomic Props and Effects. The poster contained $2,000,000 bill inside the glass case. Its represent allegedly once burned by Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Lots of people were curious!

Q :“Is this a real money?”

A : Sadly, it is fake!

However, several people still tried to broke the glass and get the money out. See? This kind of promo really drag audience attention, not only the actual fans of the series but also a normal people who are surround that environment.

Our next stop is “The crown”, another Netflix original series. It’s simply about political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events which shaped the second half of the 20th century.

The campaign is in the Da Paolo Gastronomia at Raffles Place, Singapore. It was launched by Havas company, with the aim to created an impact of the series toward everyday life of audience experience. Netflix decided to put the ads around the shopping mall especially, in the supermarket area. Everyone can know more about the queen personal life little things about her.

One of the most iconic Netflix original series, “Stranger Things”.

Many subways, metro, and underground had been taken oven by Netflix ads worldwide! Included ads in mainstream and subtle, unnoticed one.


Oxford underground had been totally took over by Stranger Things!

France metro also covered by stranger things by both pictures and the light to added more gimmick and made the surrounding area more alike to the series.


Another interesting ads is the one that did not put Netflix logo on!

“ Seriously? Netflix ads without Netflix logo?”

Rather to used logo, they used actual name town in the series and also real phone number that people could realistically call. These ads had been placed around Los Angeles and the United States’s subways.

The example of the answer of the call.

Here’s come to one last Interesting promo from Stranger Things. Located in Milan, Italy. The advertising really attract people attention to stop and watch because of this massively visible object in the middle of town!

The Naked Man was put inside a plastic bag at the bus stop. Say What? This is one of the most well-known ads for Netflix, “Altered Carbon” bus stop with human body symbolic scene placed in Los Angeles.

The Majority of Netflix’s advertisements and promos receive positive rating and gain more viewers for the streaming giant. However, there are some unpleasant ads in the eyes of the consumer.

Santa Clarita ads is an example of the one. This giant billboard was dedicated to advertised the series called  “Santa Clarita Diet” which is a zombie related series.

The ads placed at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin’s central tourist square with a picture of famous German sausage turn into human finger! Many people make a negative complaint and after time, Netflix needs to take it down for their sake.

If think the previous ads is already bad, it’s more worst coming up. It went further than that in Thailand. Netflix Thailand was partnered with Audrey restaurant to create a special menu that related to the Santa Clarita series.

“Are you ready to be a zombie?”

That’s all picked example of hit or miss advertisements from Netflix.

So, what is your opinion?
Can Netflix be more creative than is?
Or,  is this already be the best version of postmodernism advertising?

As the world have evolved, the technology are moving forward faster than ever before. People are more interested in media which they can instantly have. Due to the research, people have a minute of life span in the media shorter than before. The multi-tasking have happen to us without us realizing it since when it have occur in our daily life. Technology being as the most essential  tool for us where we almost spent our time with. After the technology becomes common to us, the streaming services slowly develop and become part of our life.

Before Netflix was openly used in the United States of America and Europe but after a while, it started expansion in Asia. In the beginning, it wasn’t that famous for Thai as they weren’t provided any subtitles for us. Time passes, the company adapted by hiring a specialist worker for Thai subtitle making process. The most interesting part of Netflix is wherever we go, we can access the network. We could potentially consume the content with various devices at the same time. Netflix also uses the paywall theory, which gives one month free trial for every consumer. After that, people can decide rather they are willing to pay for the service or to cancel the membership at any time they desire. In fact, there are many benefits for the streaming service such as there aren’t any commercials to interrupt the movie or TV shows. They have offered us with various types of genres that suite audience interest. In addition, the viewer is able to download the show to watch in offline mode during no internet time. Moreover, Netflix led us to choose to watch a movie that is legal for us. Before, people often choose to watch an illegal movie from the internet, but since Netflix becomes part of our daily use, people are more concern in watching movie that are legal. Thus,  the illegal site on the internet have been reduced.

Talking about the cons, a big mistake of Netflix is the selection depends on our locations, which people with different regions are unable to access the same movies. For example, new series are already available in the states, but not Thailand. New contents are not available right away, many episodes of the series are not directly been put on the Netflix directly. Thus, consumers have to wait for a while until the new content has been adding up. When it comes to the idea of Netflix advertising, the company and their partner did well in creates an exciting marketing strategy that could catch people attention directly. Whether it’s a billboard, poster or an internet video that have been posted on the mass media have really made people get more attracted to their service. The ways of their advertising is an interesting ways for all of us, as a media user and goods consumer, to keep an eyes on.