Netflix recently released the latest addition to their BlackMirror series: Bandersnatch; but unlike the others, this episode is interactive, requiring the viewer to select different choices in order to continue through the ‘choose your own adventure’ short film.
Netflix has been experimenting with interactive episodes for the past couple of years, but Bandersnatch has been their first big success and might just be the beginning of a new revenue stream and extension to their offering within such a crowded market.
Through user participation, Netflix is now able to collect so much more data that can be used to create a whole new marketing infrastructure. Netflix has always been a data company; it collects information based on user engagement to build their extensive recommendation algorithms. They are able to target users’ tastes and segment the results into microgenres to create a completely personalised experience. It is this data-driven technology that has enabled Netflix to dominate the market for so long; but as technology advances, the market has become more crowded with increasing competitors such as Amazon Prime, Now TV and SkyGo to name a view.
Collecting Customer Data
Previously, Netflix would collect data based on what a user watched, when they watched it and how long they watched it for. Now, through tracking user interaction within one title, Netflix can delve deeper into a user’s real-life decisions. Netflix can test product preferences, music tastes, reactions to human behaviour, how they handle decisions, and whether they choose to face or avoid a situation when offered a replay.
One of the first choices the viewer can make in Bandersnatch, is between two cereal brands. This strategy is referred to as ‘programmatic product placement’ and something that we can expect to become much more diverse as the technology evolves. This decision between cereals clearly made no impact to the storyline, but instead showcased a clear message of the marketing opportunity that Netflix is capable of through their interactive content.
As Netflix continues to gather more data, they could start to target different products to different customer segments within different microgenres. They could even sell the service of helping brands test out different packaging designs before going into production.
Is this the start of a new-age of marketing?
In addition to Netflix, we have recently seen Cadbury jump on the interactive bandwagon with their latest campaign. The ad takes customers on an ‘easter egg hunt’ to search for its Cadbury Creme Eggs in other brands’ ads to promote their White Chocolate Cadbury Creme Egg.
A campaign microsite has been created which includes an explainer video showing an ad for Oreo, (also a Mondelez brand) with a hidden Cadbury egg. When the hidden egg is spotted, viewers are told to take a photo and upload it to the microsite where the egg will be ‘unwrapped’ to see if it is a prize-winning White Chocolate Cadbury Egg.
Hiding the digital eggs within other brand’s ads and encouraging customers to get involved and actively play along is a clever method of interactive marketing. It is a strategy that will likely strengthen the brand’s connection with its audience and see more return compared to a traditional ad which consumers are more likely to overlook.
Another benefit of this campaign is the opportunity to cross-promote the different brands owned by Mondelez in a fun and unique way. Known as ‘hackvertising’, this is another method of marketing that we are starting to see more and more of.
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