We challenged Netflix to do something that had never been done before – to take over of their biggest rival TV channel and turn it into a 1980s movie spectacular to launch Season 3 of Stranger Things.
Stranger Things is one of Netflix’s most successful shows in Italy. Set in the 1980s, it pays homage to
that era’s iconic movies and culture, and has become a pop culture phenomenon in its own right.
The show’s new season launches have gained a reputation for being quirky and super-creative. For Season 3, Netflix asked us to go big with a launch campaign to get everyone – not just the show’s
typical 18-34 audience – excited about the next instalment.
Our challenge was to delight existing fans and recruit new ones, with a campaign worthy of the show’s
cult status. We had two objectives – to increase reach nationally and broaden the demographic to
Season 3 is set in 1985 America. In 1985 Italy, media mogul Silvio Berlusconi’s newly established
private TV channels were at their peak. After decades of conservative national TV, Italian families were
enjoying a completely new era of household entertainment. Channels were brimming with glitzy ‘80s
shows, US movies and a sweet puppet called ‘One’ who captured the hearts of children on channel
Today TV reach in Italy remains huge at 79%. Italia 1 is now the leading channel for 18-44 year-olds –
and they’re still watching ‘80s shows and movies! It is also Netflix’s biggest rival in the country. Insight told us it was the perfect pick for a retro special to take the whole country back in time. How? With a 1985-inspired Stranger Things takeover.
Taking over Italia 1 meant changing 35 years of fixed daily scheduling, transforming a TV channel
into a spectacular movie showcase featuring some of the world’s most iconic films.
Three days before the takeover, we launched the hashtag #Stranger80s, and a 60-second trailer featuring One the famous puppet. One’s return to TV was announced at 9pm prime time and supported by call-to-action ads featuring a film schedule, alongside the Stranger Things clips they had inspired.
On launch day we turned Italia 1’s logo upside down, and showed ‘80s movies back to back all day,
with the ad breaks showing Stranger Things 3 trailers and fake throwback commercials featuring
the show’s co-sponsors including Coca-Cola.
The campaign was a huge hit. It smashed the goals of increasing national reach and broadening the audience – the launch day audience of 7.2M was 20% bigger than average, with 22M viewers over four days. On social organic reach topped 30.5 million, and the campaign was celebrated by press and fans alike.
This is the best day of my life. Whoever the genius is behind this operation deserves respect.Stranger Things fan