Netflix + “Arrested Development” = Really Entertaining Viral Marketing
Hard to believe there’s anyone interested in “Arrested Development” who doesn’t know that a new season is coming to Netflix this month. But that’s not stopping Netflix from spending some time and money on really fun marketing stunts.
Earlier this week, for instance, the company set up a frozen banana stand — which will mean a lot to “Arrested Development” fans and nothing at all to the rest of you — at various Manhattan locations. The stand drew huge crowds.
And today this appeared in my inbox:
Tobias Funke “firstname.lastname@example.org”
11:37 AM (24 minutes ago)
Well hello there!
I’m Dr. Tobias Funke, and I finally got around to making those new head shots! And now you can insert me anywhere into your YouTube video creations!
Presenting www.insertmeanywhere.biz! I’ve always aspired to work with great directors like yourself and the great Mr. James Cameron. You’re reputation precedes you, and I promise you, kind sir, no other actor has this kind of agility. So I’d like to give you early access to all of my best characters.
We can talk about payment later. As you will see from my videos, I am okay with any kind of backend.
Dr. Tobias Funke
Click through and you’ll find an entertaining video from Tobias/David Cross. In theory, you’re supposed to download clips from the site, and mash them up yourself using Final Cut or some such. More realistically you’re just going to watch stuff other people have made, like this clip:
So: Super smart (NYC-based PR shop Brigade Marketing gets the credit, apparently) [UPDATE: Both Netflix and Brigade want to note that Brigade didn't create the campaign or the tech behind it, but handled distribution to folks like me]. And super effective, since I’m writing about it right now.
Recall that part of Netflix’s pitch is that it doesn’t need to do a lot of marketing for its originals, because it doesn’t need to aggregate a big initial audience, like a TV show or movie needs, and because its most effective marketing tools are the millions of customers it already has. Stuff like this is clever but not crucial.