Devoted fans of Gilmore Girls – and anyone else getting their morning caffeine fix — got a delicious extra perk today, courtesy of Netflix. The entertainment company transformed 200 cafes and coffee shops around the country (including Subculture Coffee right here in Downtown West Palm Beach) into pop-up versions of the show’s Luke’s Diner and offered free coffee from 7 a.m. to noon. Who doesn’t love free coffee? Plus a few lucky cup holders who found a hidden message under their custom Luke’s coffee sleeve won a few months of free Netflix. A double shot of glory!
Today marks the 16th anniversary of the show’s premiere, hence the timing for the pop-up coffee shops designed to build anticipation for the four-part miniseries titled “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” that Netflix will release on November 25.
This is a great example of experiential marketing – it’s marketing messaging you can touch, feel and sniff. Physical spaces and places that build brands are evolving into front-and-center marketing stars as our digital worlds accidentally isolate us somewhat from a social standpoint. Marketers know that immersing consumers in a fun, entertaining or educational experience will dig deeper and stay longer in our psyches. According to Ad Age’s 2016 Leading National Advertisers (200 LNA) report, what we call ‘unmeasured spending,’ which includes experiential marketing (and more), continues to elbow out other options from marketing budgets. Ad and promotion spending is at 54.7% today, up from 52.0% in 2014.
It can be hard to measure the success of experiential marketing campaigns, but fans of the strategy like us just smile and point to Red Bull (our client), the company that pretty much drove experiences to an unheard-of level. Their latest “Stratos Jump” not only racked up 52 million views but in the six months after the campaign, U.S. sales of the product increased 7% to $1.6 billion. Red Bull not only gives you wings, it delivers dollars.
Netflix jumped on board having brewed up a great idea to get the public interested in its original programming. Coffee shops disguised as Luke’s was a clever approach to reach the show’s established fans and introduce newcomers in way that has already made them smile, even before the first episode. And giving away free coffee? That’s a white-hot PR shot. Bravo, NetFlix. (Oh — we meant kudos… not Bravo. Absolutely not Bravo.)