Rajiv Nathwani, senior director, marketing, Netflix UK/IE/IL shared the streaming platform’s approach to marketing a show in a session at the RTS Convention, chaired by Ash Atalla, ceo of Roughcut Television.

Nathwani began with one of Netflix’s biggest weapons in the marketing arsenal: “personalisation and recommendation is our most powerful marketing tool.” Together with the Netflix top 10 lists, it allows viewers to get recommendations for familiar and popular content. Of course, the more time that subscribers spend on the platform, “the better it will get to know you.”

In terms of promotional campaigns around a title, Netflix spends no more than 50 per cent on building awareness before launch. It’s still a fan of good old-fashioned build up. “You need to start with great trailers, those key tenets still hold,” says Nathwani. “The trailer is the number one thing to drive attention to view.”

But once a show is up online, there’s lots of work to be done. “It’s waiting until the show launches, listening to consumers, seeing how they are engaging, what’s resonating and then using it to create marketing campaigns in real time….Rather than big billboards, it’s earning your way into culture.”

He talked about Squid Game, which had no out of home marketing. ” We were able to see really quickly what resonated.”

“You need to find your evangelising audience…Everyone’s a content creator…What are the things people are doing on social media, what scenes resonate. Then help fans to take that content and give it a life of its own. We’re surrounded by a generation of content creators how do you use your audience as your marketers.”

While not every show presents something genuinely creative in the real world, Nathwani gave examples of clever campaigning, including  the viral dance and soundtrack for Wednesday going viral on social, including  TikTok and Instagram.

For Squid Game, the iconic doll from the series, went to various locations in search of selfies. In New Street Station TikTok videos accounted for over two million views.

And for After Life, Netflix donated benches to local councils around the UK as part of a mental health scheme to mark the third season. Commissioned with suicide prevention charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), the benches feature QR codes leading to online resources and a message of support. They’re also inscribed with a quote from the third season: “Hope is everything”.


Image credit: Richard Kendal/RTS


Pippa Considine

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