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Netflix’s Campaign Study: #HappyNewPrices

Could there be any bigger announcement than Alia Bhatt’s wedding? Well, Netflix’s new subscription prices are a top contender. With their recent announcement, Netflix most recent Suna Kya? campaign goes in hand with their official announcement of ‘Happy New Prices’ – starting their subscription deals from as low as 149 INR.

With a short crisp copy and many celebrity features, Netflix takes their marketing game a step further by establishing their footing in the ever-dynamic space of viral internet.

The Campaign

In the hopes to attract more customers in the Indian market, Netflix, the American streaming platform introduced ‘Happy New Prices’ with pricing options starting as low as 149 INR. Seems like one may no longer need to use their friend’s account.

With such an important announcement, an ordinary advertisement wouldn’t suffice and if there’s anything we know about Netflix’s marketing campaign, it’s that they don’t do ordinary. The news first broke out with a fun, topical advertisement featuring Alia Bhatt.

Banking on the seasons of Bollywood marriages, the ad is inadvertently self-aware and the whole premise works around Alia Bhatt and her ‘big announcement’. Is it her wedding with Ranbir Kapoor? Nope, it’s the announcement of Netflix’s new prices. The campaign film follows up with another ad – ‘The Biggest Drop’ where Alia’s quirky personality comes across adorably.

However, Netflix doesn’t just stop here. With an integrated marketing approach, they extend the buzz around the announcement by implementing influencer and celebrity participation.

Netflix Copywriting

One of the greatest copywriters ever, David Ogilvy once said:

“If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language.”

This particularly rings true for the campaign’s recurring tagline ‘Suna Kya?’ – it is short, it is crisp, it is colloquial; all of which make it the perfect phrase to be used as a hashtag to increase brand recall. Netflix which started off as a delivery DVD service found its way into becoming an OTT platform, and hence using social media as the promotional platform is a natural choice. For the #HappyNewPrice campaign, Netflix particularly choose Instagram Reels as the main choice of generating content. Compared to traditional advertising, copywriting for the digital age is completely different – ideally it should not be longer than 4-5 words, the language should be simple and easily readable and most importantly it should be flexible enough to work as a hashtag. The wide buzz of this announcement can largely be credited to the versatility of its copy.

The punchy tag line reminds me of another viral ad with the copy –

Kya chal raha hai?

‘Fogg Chal Raha Hai’

It was the simplicity of these lines which made it so relevant that often one would find themselves saying, ‘fogg chal raha hai’ in their normal conversations. Similarly, Netflix though an American service provider, studied their target audience and effectively integrates this familiar phrase as a part of their digital campaign.

Celebrity Outreach: Hrithik Roshan, Arjun Kapoor and more

It’s one thing when to write a great copy but another to deliver it well, and I can speak on behalf of the entire female population of this country that when Hrithik Roshan asks, ‘Suna Kya?’ – Netflix did not just do a fan-service but a national service! The reel which has over 21 million+ views got picked up by various tabloid news and fan pages and even had his fans recreate or ‘remix’ the reel.

Photo Credit: Hindustan Times

Besides Hrithik Sir, there's a long list of celebrities who participated in the ‘Suna Kya’ trend.

Ritesh Deshmukh took the trend and turned it into a humorous reel:

Arjun Kapoor who shot an adorable video with his dog, Max:

Kartik Aryan along with his fans during the promotion of his Netflix film, Dhamaka:

Nora Fatehi’s hilarious prank video:

Siddharth Malhotra’s BTS-themed video:

What’s even more interesting is that while the above-mentioned celebrities (besides Kartik Aryan) haven’t had their Netflix debut yet, the campaign also featured some recognisable faces from their franchise – especially the illustrious gang from the Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives.

The show which became one of Netflix’s most popular series was renewed for a second season and the creators took the opportunity to maintain the anticipated hype by collaborating with the show leads:

All of this contributed to a much bigger conversation online and Netflix strategically integrated itself without ever being ‘in-the-face’ about its service promotion. This leads us to the question: has advertising really become so subtle?

Netflix’s Indirect Marketing

The concept of indirect marketing will help us answer the question. Indirect marketing is defined as way of promoting products/services through building awareness rather than intrusive ‘selling’.

While Alia Bhatt’s commercial would categorise as direct marketing, celebrity endorsement such as that of Hrithik Roshan would be indirect – as he doesn’t outright ask his audience to buy the Netflix subscription but instead, he focuses on creating content that promotes his personality with the campaign. To put it simply, through celebrity and influencer affiliations, memes and reel challenges, brands create a conversation which in turn helps in deriving sales. While this may seem like a lot more work than simply producing commercials or print ads – we must realise that customers are becoming a lot smarter and to be able to convince them is easy if done right.

Another platform for indirect marketing would be social media pages. Netflix India has almost 6 million followers of Instagram and 16.6 million subscribers on YouTube, hence it is imperative that with such a big following on each of its platforms the quality of content must be great too. Beyond just posting official trailers for their upcoming shows or movies, Netflix yet again takes a more subtle and creative approach, one that all Gen Zs can relate to – memes.

Netflix Memes

Ever thought you would read Netflix and Richard Dawkin in the same sentence? Well, the etymology of the word meme dates all the way back to the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkin’s 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. In this book, Dawkin writes about,

“A new kind of replicator (that) has recently emerged on this very planet. It is staring us in the face. It is still in its infancy, still drifting clumsily about in its primeval soup, but already it is achieving evolutionary change at a rate that leaves the old gene panting far behind. The new soup is the soup of human culture.”

Photo Credits: Science Friday

The word he chose to describe this elaborate concept of a cultural gene was ‘meme’. Dawkin’s meme was shortened from the Greek word mimeme, which meant imitation. Coming to memes from genes, essentially according to Dawkin – a meme represented a piece of culture, one which ‘transmits’ like a virus and one which we can connect to how our contemporary memes go ‘viral’.

Coming back to Netflix, the content they put out are not just memes which follow any recurring template, but instead on a more elevated sense they share culturally relevant ideas that would make you want to share it with your friends.

Similarly, if we can take back anything from their #HappyNewPrices campaign it is that to promote your brand/company make indirect marketing your friend, think beyond just selling your products/services and more about creating a conversation around it that ensures longevity and unique brand positioning.

The Takeaways

In conclusion, Netflix did it again. Their marketing approach for #HappyNewPrices successfully check off the boxes of:

  • Main announcement film which is topical, funny and features a popular actress.

  • A creative copy that can be easily understood and recalled by their primary audience.

  • Indirect marketing to ensure that the promotion is a lot more organic.

  • Celebrity outreach which consequently creates wide media buzz and PR.

  • Integrating memes and more culturally relevant ideas in their content marketing and social media framework.


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