Silverlight Digital CEO Lori Goldberg writes for iMediaConnection.
Netflix’s original series, “Orange Is the New Black” — based on the book by Piper Kerman — is precedent-setting television, not only in challenging gender roles by telling the stories of women in prison, but in its clever, unscripted digital marketing strategy. Without the promotional power of a major television network backing the series with commercial advertising and strong lead-ins, Netflix marketers had to write the script on how this bed was getting made.
Netflix’s on-demand programming does not support cross-promotion commercials, previews, trailers, and ad scrolls at the bottom of the screen. Therefore, when challenged to launch a television program in a fresh way, the marketers behind OITNB often looked to digital media to reach fans.
Below are some of the outstanding digital marketing observations that helped make OITNB a huge success (and it might work for your business, too).
The subtle qualities of good native advertising
The quality of native advertising is improving rapidly, and OITNB is helping to push the envelope. In June 2014, The New York Times published a 1,500-word native ad titled, “Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work.” The ad took a journalistic approach to the plight of the show’s main characters, but never overtly pitched the show to readers, though obvious conclusions were drawn. The integrity of the ad was vital, as it appeared adjacent to world-class journalism and was careful not to violate the reader’s trust. While native advertising content rarely achieves this level of quality, OITNB shows us what is possible.