‘Stranger Things Three’ Brand Activations, Like Totally, Bank On ’80s Nostalgia

Stranger Things season three, released on July 4th, broke the Netflix record for most-viewed series in the first four days (40.7 million household accounts watched the new season since its global launch). The streaming giant is also hopeful that fans do more than just sit back and passively watch.

It’s estimated consumers spend $122 billion a year on entertainment-linked merchandise, and Netflix and partner brands want to ride the profitable wave of brightly-colored, questionably-styled-hair, nostalgic fun. 

In fact, Netflix shook on deals with over 75 brands, putting the participating companies, fans and itself in a win-win-win situation, as the streaming service hopes to drive more subscriptions and greater fan excitement through the partnerships. 

The focus of the brand activations is mostly the trendy, bitchin ’80s nostalgia, so let’s look at the most honorable mentions. 

Eggo Waffles 

Eggo waffles producer Kellogg’s has had an ongoing partnership with Netflix and this time around, offered the fans a major ‘80s throwback with their retro ads, promoting the show’s character, Eleven’s, favorite food, which is certainly also a favorite treat from many viewers’ childhood. Maybe we’ll all start bickering with our siblings again to “leggo my Eggo.”

Hasbro Gaming

Hasbro Gaming invited the show fans to put their cell phones down and gather around a table to play retro-inspired games “Dungeons & Dragons” (which the characters play in the first episode of the sci-fi series) and “Trivial Pursuit Back to The 80’s Edition.” The latter incorporates Stranger Things-themed questions in addition to topics like pop culture, music, technology, trends and more. 

Schwinn 

Schwinn released another limited edition Stranger Things bike, inspired by the “iron horse” of Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin). The retro-bike was sold out almost immediately, we assume to escape the Upside Down. 

Nike 

Those who missed out on the outrageous footwear designs of the 80’s have the chance to go back in time. “Nike x Stranger Things Air Tailwind 79 OG” collection of  flashy sneakers looks like it’s been pulled from the ’80s time capsule. The sports brand and Netflix collaborated on a special Stranger Things Three sneaker edition so the fans can be “stranger” head to toe. 

Funko Pops

The vinyl figurines maker offers to purchase the entire Stranger Things crew, including Jim Hopper dressed to impress for a date, Lucas wearing casual attire, Max ready to go to the mall, Dustin wearing camp clothes, Will the Wise dressed for a Dungeons & Dragons session, Erica looking ready for action, Steve wearing an adorable Ahoy hat and carrying an ice cream cone, Eleven dressed for the mall and Eleven ready for battle. In addition, avid fans can pick up Stranger Things-branded  notebooks, socks, lunch boxes and mugs. 

Lego 

To celebrate the new season of the show, Lego released a lego set and a retro-poster, which imitates one of the original Stranger Things season one posters, showing Mike, Dustin and Lucas finding Will’s (all drawn as Lego characters, of course). 

Levi’s 

Levi’s Fall/Winter 2019 capsule collection pieces are replete with graphics from the Netflix series, including “One summer can change everything” (a central theme for season three) and “Camp Know Where.” Completely casual but so “psych.” 

Major League Baseball 

MLB is no stranger to Stranger Things, and during Major Leagues, the show made 13 appearances at ballparks across the country, offering Stranger Things MLB gear and merchandise, as well as an immersive experience of visiting the Upside Down–the extra-dimensional spot where nothing is as it seems. 

Baskin Robbins 

Baskin-Robbins turned its ice-cream shop in Burbank, California into “Scoops Ahoy,” exactly mimicking the shop from Netflix show’s third season. The fans can grab a scoop or two at the store from  July 2 to July 14.

Target 

Target’s “You ready to party like it’s 1985?” campaign offers to “go retro with [its] totally rad collections” of “Splashtown, USA,” “Grillin’ & Chillin,'”, “Style to the Max” and “Cool at School” merch. And by the way, Target is another location where “Scoops, Ahoy” ice-cream is available for purchase. 

H&M

H&M launched a global capsule collection with Stranger Things, complete with retro logo T-shirts and swimwear. What can we say, “one summer can change everything.” 

Polaroid 

Instant before Instagram filmmaker, Polaroid was certainly in luck with the show, as it presented a perfect opportunity for the brand to play on the1980s nostalgia and re-introduce its retro products and a limited-edition instant camera inspired by Stranger Things, with unique filters and frames that feel totally “stranger.”  

Shutterstock 

Shutterstock also didn’t miss out on a chance to remind us of its library of “strange stock,” as a part of the brand’s “It’s Shutterstock” campaign. The video was designed as a preview for Stranger Things season three, and, of course, made 100 percent of Shutterstock assets. See for yourself. 

Coca-Cola 

Coca-Cola made a bold move with bringing back a once failed new Coke recipe and is on a mission to sell 500,000 limited-edition cans of “New Coke,” as well as a New Coke Throwback Collection of limited-edition apparel.

Burger King

Actually, nothing strange about this one. The Upside Down Whopper is well, what it sounds like it is. It’s  the original Whopper, stuffed with the same ingredients, served upside down in exclusive packaging. 

Microsoft 

And finally, one of the latest partnerships between Netflix and Microsoft gave birth to Windows 1.0-inspired app that lets users experience the graphical user interface they first publicly released in November 1985. 

Microsoft Reimagines 1985 Tech With Stranger Things-Inspired PC App

Microsoft delivers a 1985 throwback experience for Stranger Things fans across the country. Created with Netflix, the tech company launched a Windows 1.0-inspired app that lets users experience the graphical user interface they first publicly released in November 1985. Though this version is a much rosier interpretation of the past PC, without the dreaded blue screen of death so common in the ’80s.

The free special edition personal computer (PC) app comes after the show’s third season premiered earlier this month. Inspired by the plot’s “Upside Down,” an alternate dimension that led to the Hawkins town invasion, the app is available on the Windows Store and includes puzzles and retro games that evoke ‘80s nostalgia. 

In addition to the app, Windows is giving users the chance to totally transform their desktops with PC wallpapers that feature themes of the show’s cast and graphics. 

Microsoft is rounding out the Stranger Things partnership with another experiential element—workshop pop-ups at Microsoft Stores called “Camp Know Where.” Here, fans can learn to make a Stranger Things mini-movies featuring mixed reality and 3D with Microsoft technology, or code a game with MakeCode Arcade. Users can also enter to win an Xbox One X Console when they play new “Stranger Things 3: The Game” at local Microsoft stores. 

The partnership with Microsoft highlights Netflix’s vast marketing strategy to promote Stranger Things 3 and is one of many activations that incorporates the show’s throwback theme. Noteworthy tie-ins include Burger King and Coca-Cola’s creation of the Upside Down WHOPPER and Baskin-Robbins’ transformation of its Burbank store into the show’s ice cream shop, Scoops Ahoy. The Chicago Cubs launched a Snapchat augmented-reality (AR) filter that turns Wrigley Stadium into the Upside Down. Nike even got in on ‘80s fever, launching a collection of apparel that pays homage to the show. 

As Connected Television Viewership Surges, Marketers Urged To Create Personalized, Measurable Ads

Impressions served on connected television (CTV) platforms increased from 17 percent in 2017 to 28 percent, according to a report from Campaign Insight and Innovid, “2018 Global Video Benchmarks.”

The study provides video key performance indicators (KPIs) to explore the future of television and video advertising as consumers shift their viewing habits to CTV. The insights are based on a sample representing about one-third of all US video impressions, namely every campaign that ran with Innovid from January 1-December 31 2018, across over 340 top global companies.

To date, over 55 percent of the US population owns a CTV device, and the figure is expected to reach 60.1 percent by 2022. The data suggests that CTV is experiencing ongoing growth with broadcasters at the helm, and digital marketing dollars are following. In 2018, 68 percent of all campaigns contained CTV, and 63 percent of broadcaster impressions were served on CTV. Similarly, broadcasters comprised 83 percent of all CTV campaigns, indicating that consumers are watching traditional television content on connected devices. 

The data gives advertisers good reason to realign budget and strategy to engage with consumers on CTV. As customers’ desires for highly personalized content and experiences rise, marketers are utilizing data-driven dynamic videos that are 10 seconds in length—which the report found jumped from five percent in 2017 to 11 percent in 2018 across social and programmatic channels via mobile.

“As CTV/OTT becomes more commonplace, so do consumer expectations around the relevancy and personalization of advertising. Marketers would be well-served to seize the opportunities available in this still nascent market to deliver video advertising that is more engaging, more personalized and more measurable,” said Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst, TV[R]EV.

“Honestly, Insights Can Only Get You So Far” Boiler Room’s Stephen Mai On Building The Netflix Of The Underground

A sleepy, Victorian warehouse isn’t the first place you’d associate with one of the most exciting brands in streaming, but it’s in this little corner of Hackney, East London that Boiler Room calls home.

Emerging in 2010, Boiler Room’s unique take on music broadcasting has fuelled rapid growth. Starting life as a live stream recorded from a webcam duct-taped to the wall of a disused boiler room, the company is now a global phenomenon. Today, Boiler Room hosts shows and performances from over 100 cities worldwide; from Stockholm to Shanghai, its regular programming reaching over 157 million people a month.

In recent years, the company has begun to diversify its offering and search out new audiences outside of music. This culminated last year with the launch of 4:3; Boiler Room’s new platform for underground film and documentary, which is already hailed as the “Netflix for the underground.”

I spoke with Stephen Mai, the company’s chief content officer and CMO, about Boiler Room’s rapidly developing audience, the role of insights in streaming and how his company is taking the niche mainstream.

Can you give us a quick history of Boiler Room?

Boiler Room started off as just a webcam where we recorded people DJing in a literal boiler room. At the time, our founder Blaise [Bellville] never anticipated that people would even be into watching that kind of thing.

Over time, by throwing more parties, working with different acts and creating a cultural style through our broadcasts, we’ve been able to build the brand. Because we tapped into a subculture and the underground, we can explore a whole range of different subjects and topics. After all, if you think about it, music has been the bedrock to a lot of youth culture; [but it can also] be fashion, activism or other [cultural] touchpoints.

How did you become involved with Boiler Room?

I’ve built a career on transforming media brands and using emerging content and marketing in a way that is impactful and effective. Before Boiler Room, I worked with LadBible–where the challenge was to realign the brand into one that was more commercially viable. I made it my mission to transform the brand into one that championed social change. In the two years I was there, I managed a few massive campaigns that changed the perception of the brand. The fact that we went from a brand that made most media agencies say “hmm I don’t know” into one that won eight Cannes Lions is absurd when you think about it.

Boiler Room was a very different challenge. It already had a very established brand and audience before I came over. The challenge here is how we can use our brand to drive counter-narratives around new verticals and bridge the gap between reality and digital. Boiler Room can influence culture and that really excites me.

Boiler Room is one of the more unique players in the streaming market. In your opinion, what is the thing that makes you stand out? 

A lot of people describe us as a new MTV, but we see ourselves as more of a cultural institution like an art gallery or a museum. The music we cover is essentially “the art,” but it also allows us to explore the surrounding narratives and culture. As a brand, we’ve got the freedom to follow our own path when it comes to what we can and can’t do.

How would you describe the relationship between Boiler Room and its audience right now?

In terms of our audience, it’s my ambition to build a cultural space that exists wherever they are. Rather than trying to convert them into website clicks, we’re more interested in trying to exist in their world and in their culture. In many ways, we see ourselves more like a public service broadcaster. We want to understand what captures the interests of young people and create a space where that kind of stuff happens [more organically].

You’ve mentioned that having a profound understanding of your audience underpins a lot of what Boiler Room does. As a marketer, how do you go about getting those insights?

I’m quite privileged in the sense that as a marketing team we’re able to interact with our audience in a number of different ways. We throw over 400 events a year; so, we’re probably one of the few brands out there who get to see our audience in real life on a regular basis. We have thousands of kids who RSVP to our parties every year. We can literally see trends in music, fashion and culture as they unfold in all these different cities. It’s great to be able to use that as inspiration and as a catalyst for our programming.

Beyond this, we have also come up with a sophisticated way of using the insights we derive from our social channels and website data. We put a lot of effort into understanding our audience’s behavior online and their interests. It allows us to diversify our offering, which is becoming more and more important as we move into the world of original content. As we’ve expanded away from electronic music, we’ve started to see specific tribes develop within our audience. The next step is using digital analytics to track their behavior, discover what they’re into and service them better.

How important are analytics in informing and shaping the creative side of Boiler Room?

Honestly, insights can only take you so far. It helps that you have insights for inspiration, but it’s much more important to have some of the best music creators in the world sitting in the office. Our curators are in touch with what’s happening in the music world. They all put on nights, manage artists on the side and are firmly into the idea of creating and pushing the next big thing.

The launch of our 4:3 channel is an interesting example of how we’ve learned from our audience and combined it with a curator who knows their stuff. We’ve created a platform that’s driven by the idea of hyper-curating content that is super leftfield. A lot of people would ask if young people are really into the idea of high art and long-form cultural documentaries, but our insights told us that they are very culturally curious. 

These were the people going to art galleries. We knew that if we could do something with a tone of voice that has a genuine love for the subject, then our audience would respond. In month one, we managed to gain 10 million views alone and have since managed to achieve a scale that most people would think is unbelievable. It goes to show, even if something might not seem the right fit on the surface, there’s usually an audience out there somewhere. You’ve just got to look hard enough.

There’s an obvious hazard here, though. If you’re committed to only covering niche topics, aren’t you in danger of running out of an audience?

I’m not sure actually. Both the mainstream and the underground can exist simultaneously on the same channel. A lot of people would describe our output as “niche,” but we’ve just hit 5 million followers on our social channels. Our ecosystem allows both groups to co-exist. We still have that cultural elite; the creators who we work with quite closely, but we can also accommodate a much wider audience. It’s like electronic music in a way; what was once a niche scene has become mainstream and globally recognized.

The evolution of content distribution has led us to a place where you’ve got things that were once considered niche reaching massive worldwide audiences. Take Game of Thrones for example. A few years back, a show like that would’ve struggled to find an audience because executives would’ve deemed the topic as having no chance of permeating the mainstream. Now though, these new channels exist, allowing us to tell really strong stories and become part of mainstream culture. It’s this philosophy that has allowed a brand like us to scale very, very quickly.

So, do you think insights are better used to inform a strategy rather than shaping executions?

Yes. One of the things I often tell marketers is that while a certain subject might seem like it’s not relatable, it’s our job to search out that hook that connects a piece of content with the people who love it.

Our Facebook strategy is a great example. We have 2.8 million followers, and as you can imagine, it would be impossible to come up with one piece of content that would please everyone. We try to pull out an aspect of the story that feels as relatable as possible. We’ve found that if you approach content distribution like this, then it doesn’t matter if the subject is niche. If the story is interesting then it will no doubt feel relevant to someone, and that’s the crux of what “mainstream” is.

Spotify Uses Bollywood Star Power To Launch First Multilingual Television Spot

Spotify launched a playful television video spot to expand on its first campaign in India launched earlier this year, “There’s A Playlist For That,” which uses location intelligence and cultural nuances to emphasize the platform’s diverse selection of music for all of life’s moods. Published to Spotify’s YouTube and India Twitter, the spot marks the company’s first television and first multilingual campaign in India and will extend to digital and out-of-home (OOH).

The 35-second spot, titled “Slow Breakfast,” shows a father, played by Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, in the kitchen preparing breakfast for his teenage kids. When one of his sons, actor Ishaan Khattar, notices that his dad is whisking the eggs at a leisurely pace that matches the beat of the song, he changes the song via the Spotify app. In response to this new upbeat song, Kapoor shifts into high gear and starts rapidly chopping vegetables and whisking the eggs. In an excited state, however, he accidentally drops the skillet and the cooked omelet falls on the floor. The kids express their disappointment via sighs and nods, then Kapoor picks right back up from where he started whisking.

The spot reflects Spotify’s creative attempts to connect with the audience in India, the second-most populous country. Earlier this year, Spotify placed geotargeted, personalized OOH ads in important traffic intersections. This highly personalized approach ties into the exclusive features available to Spotify India, including multi-language music recommendations, playlists specifically curated by Indian music experts and new algorithmic playlists tracking music trending in different Indian cities.

“Spotify’s arrival in India is a big step forward in our overall global growth strategy. A fundamental piece of that strategy is staying connected to global culture while allowing room for local adaptation, and we’ve certainly achieved that with our India launch. We’ve worked closely with local teams of researchers, engineers, and cultural tastemakers to ensure this global product is going to be loved, used, and favored by people all over India, whether they’re listening to local Bollywood and Punjabi hits, or discovering curated global playlists of K-pop or Brazilian funk,” says Cecilia Qvist, Spotify’s global head of markets.

“The youth in India often deals with the pressures of judgement, individuality, social norms, and more; in this chaos, music acts like a companion,” said Rajdeepak Das, Leo Burnett’s managing director India and chief creative officer South Asia.

Spotify’s entrance into the Indian market means competition for Gaana, the country’s current most favored on-demand streaming app, according to a report from CyberMedia Research. Among those surveyed, 25 percent ranked Gaana as their top choice followed by 20 percent tied for Apple Music and Youtube, and 14 percent for Wynk. While only 50 percent of respondents said they were aware of Spotify.

Baskin-Robbins Experiments With Experiential Campaign, Opens ‘Stranger Things’ Shop

Baskin-Robbins marketing initiatives have historically been lean, perhaps reflecting the brand’s struggle to target an audience increasingly dominated by millennials and Gen Z. A new Stranger Things experiential marketing activation, however, shows the Dunkin’ Brand taking steps to refresh its image.

This summer, Baskin-Robbins is transforming its Burbank, California store into the Stranger Things ice cream shop, Scoops Ahoy, from the Netflix show’s third season. Open from July 2 to July 14, Baskin-Robbins’ version of Scoops Ahoy will look and feel exactly as the actors experience it in the sci-fi show setting—1985 in Hawkins, Indiana. Replete with nautical decor and Stranger Things-inspired staff uniforms, the shop will give fans an immersive experience described by Baskin-Robbins as “ripped from the script.”

Baskin-Robbins customers across the country can also get a taste of the Stranger Things initiative as the brand introduces a Scoops Ahoy-inspired flavor of the month for July—USS Butterscotch. The flavor will also be available in a nautical-themed USS Butterscotch Sundae straight from the show, topped with waffle sails.

Earlier this year, Baskin-Robbins used a 30-second video spot, set to the show’s theme song, to tease its Stranger Things-themed treats, including “Eleven’s Heaven,” “Upside Down Sundae” and “Demogorgon Sundae.”

In 2018, Dunkin’ chief executive David Hoffman hinted at the redesign of Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins restaurants which came to fruition this year. US Baskin-Robbins franchisees remodeled eight restaurants during the first quarter of 2019. 

A current effort to upgrade store interiors, coupled with its “Got Me Like” campaign last year, targeted toward a younger audience, reflects Baskin-Robbins’ evolution into a more modern brand. As part of the campaign, Baskin-Robbins created a 15-second spot which included brightly colored memes and videos. The company has also expanded its reach via a partnership with DoorDash in which first-time customers receive “Try Me Free” offers to encourage trial.

The Dunkin’ Brands first-quarter earnings show that US Baskin-Robbins comparable store sales declined about three percent in the first quarter, citing unfavorable weather impact as the cause. Also in the first quarter, 18 Baskin-Robbins international locations and three US locations closed. The closures were offset by the opening of 34 new Dunkin’ US locations.

Report: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Ending Could Prompt Subscribers To Cancel HBO Now

A new survey conducted by Mintel shows HBO Now subscribers are more likely cancel their service if a specific program ended compared to all other OTTs—20 percent compared to 10 percent, respectively. This could spell bad news in light of HBO’s Game of Thrones concluding soon.

In an interview with Buddy Lo, Mintel’s senior technology and consumer electronics analyst, he tells us that the problem could come down to a combination of price and number of OTTs subscribed per household.

“It isn’t until the consumers get that fourth subscription service that we really see a spike in HBO Now participation. That’s why we think that HBO Now could be potentially vulnerable.”


Can you explain an overview of the research?

The consumer data that we published in the press release is based on 2000 US consumers. The researchers fielded the survey last month [in] April 2019. The [full] report is going to publish next month and it is about digital video.

We were able to isolate HBO Now subscribers [based on questioning] and after that we also used a series of behavioral statements, like “I would cancel a service if a specific show was canceled or specific show or program was canceled or ended.” We found that consumers who use HBO Now are almost twice as likely to agree with that statement than all of the general streaming OTT streaming service users.

We’ve seen viewers slowly over the past two years add one or two more OTT services. Does the data demonstrate that consumers have hit a wall?

We also asked consumers about the optimal price point that they would pay for their ideal streaming service. We asked [them to] imagine [their] ideal streaming service with all of the shows, movies, sport and other entertainment that [they would] want. Then we asked a series of four questions, like, to imagine their ideal streaming service and at what price is that service so cheap that [they] would question the quality; at what price do [they] think it’s a good deal. We performed a price sensitivity analysis and we found that the optimal price point is 20 dollars, so it’s pretty low.

When we think about how much HBO costs, which is $14.99, Netflix can range from I believe $8.99 upwards to $13.99, depending on the tier that you get. Hulu is a bit more affordable at $5.99.

Our data shows that consumers only have a limited type of budget and that three-quarters of streamers use two [OTTs] or more. We see that for HBO [subscribers], participation doesn’t really kick in until consumers have four or more subscriptions services. [The data] tells us that consumers’ first option is usually Netflix and the second or third option is Amazon or Hulu.

But, it isn’t until the consumers get the fourth subscription service that we really see a spike in HBO Now participation. That’s why we think that HBO Now could be potentially vulnerable. I want to specify that this is about streaming services only, it’s not necessarily related to cable or satellite subscriptions because those can tend to be stickier. They can have cancellation fees so consumer behavior is a little less fluid within those segments.

Is chord cutting affecting this loss at all? 

I think, if anything, cord-cutting would shift more consumers to using the HBO Now platform rather than bundling everything with a cable or satellite provider. Cord-cutting gives consumers more flexibility in terms of how they choose their entertainment package. If [a consumer] wanted to go with Netflix all [they] need when [they] cut the cord is an internet connection. From there [they] can choose whether or not I want Hulu, Amazon, HBO Now, Starz, YouTube TV, etc…

What OTTs could stand to capitalize?

I think a big one would definitely be the upcoming services like Disney+ or Apple TV+. They might be able to take advantage of this void in entertainment before HBO can ramp up their spin-offs and create buzz around other content. It’s a good opportunity for any of the smaller brands to come in at a lower price point and exciting new content.

YouTube’s Newfronts Presentation Reveals Plans To Boost TV Viewership, Measurement

YouTube is updating its algorithm to favor content viewed on TV screens, adding Nielsen tools for advertisers and making YouTube Originals free with ads, the company announced at its Newfront event on Thursday.

All Eyes On TV

YouTube said that over 250 million hours of its videos are viewed on television screens every day. To keep this trend going, YouTube will update its proprietary algorithm (P-score) to prioritize higher production value content and videos that are frequently watched on the TV screen. Videos will be selected from the top five percent of popular channels on YouTube based on user engagement and a “higher bar for brand suitability.”

YouTube TV, the live TV subscription service launched two years ago, is now available across the US and will be offered as a standalone lineup on Google Preferred this Upfront season. YouTube TV already features over 70 broadcast and cable partners, the company said.

“As I meet with many of you, I hear two questions loud and clear,” said Allan Thygesen, president of Google Americas during the presentation. “You want us to prove first, YouTube really can drive reach as fast as TV. And second, that YouTube drives results.”

Nielsen Catalina Solutions will be available for Google Preferred campaigns before the end of the year, measuring lift in offline sales for US consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. In addition, the tool will provide “deeper” performance insights across audiences, creative and other criteria.

A recent study by Google and MediaScience found that YouTube’s Google Preferred ads on TV screens drove an average lift of 112 percent in Ad Recall and 53 percent Purchase Intent.

On average, over 50% of the target audience reached by YouTube was incremental to TV, according to Nielsen. Television required on average five-times the frequency of YouTube to hit reach goals.

Ad-Supported Originals

YouTube announced that all of its forthcoming original series and specials will become available worldwide as a free, ad-supported service. By breaking the paywall, YouTube gives advertisers more opportunities to work with Hollywood talent and YouTube content creators.

Last year’s Originals slate earned over 2.5 billion views across 50 shows, YouTube told the audience. Cobra Kai received 11 award nominations including an Emmy and the show’s season two premiere reached 20 million views in six days.

Google may be the world’s largest seller of advertising, but it’s not invincible. Ad sales grew at the slowest pace since 2015, according to Alphabet Inc.’s Q1 2019 earnings report. The company did not offer investors any explanation for the slowdown, leaving investors baffled and shares dropping.

Brands Are Winning Over Younger Audiences At Coachella With Memorable Moments

With one Coachella weekend down and one to go, AList looks at how the companies celebrated the opening of this year’s festival with brand activations both inside the festival grounds and out. This year proved to be less about being instagrammable and more about creating emotional ‘moments’ full of music and experiences.

Brands like Heineken have had a symbiotic relationship with the music festival for almost 20 years. The beer brand has been an official sponsor for 18 years and, for their own part, have witnessed changes to the festival over the course of their tenure. In recent years, Heineken has emphasized diversity and inclusion at their Heineken House.

“There are no doors on the [Heineken] House. It’s for everybody, it’s completely open, it’s something that can be experienced by people who are inside, outside; something that is just for everybody,” Christine Karimi, Heineken’s manager of partnerships and consumer experience, told AList.

This year, Heineken is also changing its approach to influencer marketing around the activation.

“We are using our influencer dollars more on the [music] talent that comes into the house,” Karimi said. “We are asking them to post [on social media] because they are having a moment here and they are sharing out to their followers. And that, to us, is the most authentic thing because it’s the talent, the music. They are here, and they are like, “Come check [us] out!” versus just a person holding a product.”

An economy of brand-created mini-festivals has popped up in over the years, providing drinks, food, music, merch and experiences to those outside the festival grounds. Many people head to the desert just to attend these satellite events.

Lucky Brand, for example, partnered with The Rolling Stone for its annual Desert Jam at the Arriv Hotel in Palm Springs.

“Our first-time that we showed up at Coachella, a lot of articles out there were saying that ‘Lucky was back.’ So it’s just a natural fit for us,” said Timothy Mack, Lucky Brand’s SVP of strategic brand marketing and ecommerce.

Mack said that one of the strategic initiatives of the denim brand is to stay relevant to millenials. The company is achieving that with offering sweepstakes prior to the event, cool merchandise and most importantly, memorable moments at the mini-fest (RSVP to which was closed after 48 hours since the announcement), where the guests can see free music and relax. In the past, Harry Hudson and Charlie XCX performed at Desert Jam, and this year, Lucky Brand brought in X Ambassadors.

“We built KPIs around how we are going to amplify [our marketing efforts], how we are going to get as many people to hear about this, as possible. In order for this to be a successful event, we need to reach a certain impression, pre-events and post-events,” Mack said.

Another way brands are showing their personality and connecting with their consumer is the “moment in need.” Peet’s coffee is promoting their Cold Brew at the campground of the festival, using experiences that provide both chances for creating memories with friends and soothing comfort inside Peet’s Coffee Bus and with Cold Brew.

“[The festival-goers] have been sleeping outside, and at night it’s cooler, but it’s still hot. They wake up because they are overheating, tired, maybe a little hung-over, and [Peet’s Cold Brew] gets [them] going. This is good because it’s a moment in need, but for us, this also means that they are trying it and getting into it. It’s a good combination,” said Peet’s Coffee spokesperson, Gretchen Koch.

For those who still crave the exclusive, luxurious moments to cherish after their time at Coachella, there is the American Express Platinum House. Accessible only to card members and their guests, the house offers unique art pieces, hangouts by the pool, lounge-y tunes, hors d’oeuvres and artisan cocktails.

The event-goers told AList that at Platinum House they “found a perfect place to relax, mingle with cool people and drink a ‘Watermelon Crush.'”

Disney+ Finds Leverage In Price, Exclusivity

After months of speculation, The Walt Disney Company revealed details of its SVOD service to investors on Thursday. Completely ad-free, Disney+ will focus on low subscription fees, bundles and exclusive content.

Disney’s new SVOD platform will launch on November 12, the media giant revealed, with a price point of $6.99 per month. Unlike Hulu, 60 percent which Disney acquired along with 21st Century Fox, Disney+ will be ad-free and obtain all revenue from subscriptions. The service will be available exclusively in the US at launch, but Disney plans to roll out the new service globally over the next two years.

The service will be available on mobile and connected devices, with an “unprecedented amount” of content available to download for offline viewing. Disney+ will adjust the content’s resolution based on available bandwidth and support up to 4K HDR video playback.

When Kevin Mayer, Disney’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and international, announced the service’s price point, there were “gasps in the room,” according to Variety reporter Cynthia Littleton.

The low price point makes Disney+ less than half of the cost of a premium Netflix subscription, which was recently bumped to $16 per month.

Mayer told the audience that the company is “actively evaluating international rollout strategies” for Hulu, as well as bundling options with Disney+ and ESPN+.

The Mouse House isn’t known for its lack of ambition. Case in point, Disney told investors that it expects the service to grow to between 60 million and 90 million subscribers globally by fiscal 2024.

A working prototype of the service was shown with a similar layout to Netflix, displaying categories like “Recommended for You” and “Continue Watching.” Dedicated pages will be available for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Subscribers will have the ability to create custom profiles linked to a recommendation engine.

“We’re extremely excited about our growing portfolio of direct-to-consumer offerings. As we demonstrated today, with Disney+ we will deliver extraordinary entertainment in innovative ways to audiences around the world,” said Mayer. “We’ll continue to enhance the user experience with a constant pipeline of high-quality programming, making the service even more appealing to consumers.”

In a 2017 study, Magid found that original content drove OTT subscription behavior in the US. In addition to its existing library of movies and shows, Disney+ will launch with 25 original series and 10 original films, documentaries and specials. Disney+ will also become the exclusive streaming home of The Simpsons.

“The price point [for Disney+] seems well-suited, realistic and appealing,” Debby Ruth, Magid’s vice president of global media and entertainment told AList following Disney’s announcement. “As technology evolves, the proliferation of SVOD services and any direct-to-consumer (DTC) offering is going to be essential for content providers.”

Disney shares jumped 11.5 percent on Friday following the announcement, while Netflix stock fell over three percent, MarketWatch reported.