“Una mattina mi son svegliato, O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao”. If the melody doesn’t come straight to your mind while reading these first lines, it means that you either spent the last two years living on a remote island or that you’re missing out on the decade’s worldwide phenomenon Casa de Papel (Money Heist in English). Hacking of the pages of the largest newspapers in Europe, premiere screening in front of minting institutions or stock exchange buildings, 4×3 meter billboards in Europe’s busiest public places…Netflix didn’t do things halfway for the Casa de Papel season three teaser.
Wait a minute…you don’t know what I’m talking about? Let’s quickly bring you up to date on the series. Money Heist, also known as La Casa de Papel, is a Spanish series released in 2017. The story is simple: Take eight of Spain’s best criminals that have nothing left to lose and give them one common goal: break into the Royal Mint of Spain and print and take home €2.4bn without a single drop of blood being shed, that despite the presence of 67 hostages. Mix all of this with charismatic actors, a frenetic pace, a highly twisted plot, and you get Netflix’s most-watched foreign-language series. This year, the show came back for its third season, as Rio, one of the gang’s beloved members, was captured by the police. The whole gang thus gathers again to try and free him from the authorities.
As a series fan also passionate about marketing and communications, I couldn’t help but feel amazed by Netflix’s marketing actions all across Europe for the TV show. Let’s have a look at the five marketing tips we can get from Netflix’s Casa de Papel season three teaser.
1. Know your audience like the back of your hand
If we take a closer look at where Netflix has funnelled its resources for promoting season three, it’s easy to see the streaming platform knows who their primary audience is. One of the most obvious examples are the countries in which the series’ promotion has been the largest – France and Italy, according to entertainment media Deadline. Both countries have indeed benefitted from an impressive wall-to-wall promotion that should make all other countries green with envy.
2. Step out of your comfort zone
Let’s admit it: It’s not unusual for Netflix to think big when it comes to the promotion of its shows. However, where the Casa de Papel promotion differentiates itself is by how big they decided to go: A regular print promotion is one thing but creating fake front pages on regional media is another story! On July 19th, the series’ third season official release date, almost all of France’s regional daily newspapers had been “hacked” by the group of thieves. The message is exactly the same as the one used by Netflix in La Casa de Papel’s video teaser: Rio, one of their group members, has been captured and is being held illegally by the police. They are asking people to join the Resistencia now to help them. This creative way of promoting the series has been acclaimed by many journalists and marketing professionals.
Even if it’s pretty common for Netflix to come up with groundbreaking campaign promotions (have you ever heard of the French Narcos Bills campaign?), simulating the hacking of train stations in France is certainly a first for the media platform. For those of you willing to know more about the campaign, take a look at our fourth tip below.
3. A little co-branding never killed nobody
Wonder what Domino’s Pizza, Spanish automobile manufacturer Seat, or Swiss chocolatier Lindt have in common? They all had their TV spots hacked by El Professor, Casa de Papel’s main character. Or at least that’s what people thought. In reality, Netflix offered the three brands an opportunity they could not resist: a co-branded spot on French TV. According to French communications media company Strategies, Netflix would even have covered the TV spots’ entire costs, leaving an impactful spot for both Netflix and its partners. The outcome is clear: On the partners’ side, it meant free visibility, and for Netflix, it gave them the opportunity to not only promote the show in the best possible way but generate awareness and media coverage. If you speak French (or are anyways curious), have a look at the video below:
4. Use non-traditional advertising mediums
Let’s be honest: Despite their popularity, TV spots and print media promotion aren’t groundbreaking advertising methods. Where Netflix did a very impressive job is at using non-traditional mediums to promote their show. We’ve talked about it a little bit earlier in this blog post: The media platform managed to simulate the hacking of two of Paris’ main train stations: Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est. The stations’ speakers, as well as digital screens, were taken over by El Professor, urging people to join the Resistencia in order to help him and the rest of the group save Rio. Rather than dedicated advertising spaces, Netflix decided to use official station infrastructures with very strict regulations, which reinforced, even more, the hacking effect Netflix wanted to achieve.
5. Be one with your product
Finally, one very good lesson Netflix teaches us is the importance of becoming one with your product. In this 360-degree marketing campaign, the media platform managed to blur the lines between reality and fiction, to the point that some people allegedly believed that the above-mentioned co-branded TV spots were actually really being hacked. Is there better proof of Netflix’ amazing job in promoting this show?
By Soline Demenois – B2B Marketing Manager