What the return of 'Stranger Things' tells us about Netflix's evolving marketing strategy (NFLX)

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Samantha Lee/Business Insider

  • The return of "Stranger Things" marked the biggest four-day opening for any of Netflix's originals.

  • The streaming service's robust marketing strategy, which enlisted brands like Coca-Cola and Nike to promote the series, is partly to thank.

  • The campaign for "Stranger Things" demonstrates how Netflix is approaching marketing for its flagship series and movies, and teaming with like-minded brands to get its originals in front of more viewers.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Netflix propelled "Stranger Things" to what it described as the biggest four-day opening in the platform's history when the 1980s-inspired series returned for a third season on July 4.

Of course, Netflix forced fans to wait more than a year and a half for new episodes, which may have had something to do with the monstrous opening.

But the success of the return of "Stranger Things" was also owed to a massive, strategic marketing effort within Netflix that enlisted brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Baskin-Robbins to help promote the show in channels, like retail stores, that Netflix couldn't reach itself.

Read more about how "Stranger Things" supercharged Netflix's work with brands like Lyft and Coca-Cola: 'Stranger Things' is back. Here's how Netflix used brands like Coca-Cola and Baskin-Robbins in a massive marketing push for its return

With a Nike collection, custom Coke cans, themed Whoppers at Burger King, an H&M clothing line, Lego sets, and specially made flavors at Baskin-Robbins, it was nearly impossible to not know "Stranger Things" was coming back.

Check out how Netflix approached Baskin-Robbins for an ice-cream partnership: Netflix's 'Stranger Things' partnership with Baskin-Robbins started with a cold reach-out on LinkedIn that one exec thought was a joke

The partnerships have been a test for Netflix to see how audiences will take to interacting with its original franchises outside of the platform — and seeing Netflix characters associated with brands.

The deals seem to be paying off for Netflix, as well as its brand partners, including Coca-Cola.

Read more about how Coca-Cola won the third season of "Stranger Things": Coca-Cola was the biggest brand winner from Netflix's 'Stranger Things' season 3. Here are the other brands that got a sizable boost.

Netflix marketed "Stranger Things" heavily on its own, too, with trailers for the upcoming season, billboards on the Sunset Strip, spotlights within the platform, and '80s-themed carnivals at Coney Island in New York and the Santa Monica Pier in California, among other efforts.

The overall campaign demonstrates how Netflix is evolving the way it markets its flagship shows, and tapping into new channels, audiences, and advertising dollars with the help of other brands.

Find out how Netflix is thinking like a movie studio to tap into more marketing opportunities: How Netflix and HBO are opening up marketing opportunities for their TV shows that usually only blockbuster movies get

Have an idea for another story or a Netflix tip? Let me know at ARodriguez@businessinsider.com.

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