To promote its film Blood Red Sky, an action horror film taking place on a transatlantic flight, Netflix invited 40 influencers to watch the premiere inside a replica of an aeroplane in Berlin. What they didn’t know was that the premiere was live streamed on Twitch, where eager viewers could decide what real-life scares awaited them.
Working with Tommy London, Netflix built an airport in the middle of Berlin where it invited popular influencers to attend an air travel-themed premiere. This included going through security and check in, and even milling around the waiting area before finally queueing to board a realistic aeroplane where the screening would take place.
Meanwhile, the whole event was broadcast live from Twitch streamer H0llyLP’s channel. Here, his fans had the opportunity to turn the seemingly innocent premiere into a real-life horror movie. Thanks to a Twitch plugin that allows viewers to vote in real-time, the spectators were able to wreak havoc by setting off fire alarms, dropping oxygen masks and smashing champagne glasses. They could even choose which influencers should be attacked by vampires or get dragged off the flight.
Sean Chambers, chief creative officer at Tommy, told Contagious: ‘When you’re working with one of the world’s most innovative, creative and exciting brands, you need to create work that matches their ambition. With this next-generation branded experience – live, social, and with real storytelling craft – we’re allowing fans to become part of Blood Red Sky: to live, breathe and scream it.’
Results / In under three hours, the guests had posted over 150 pieces of content that were seen by over 3 million people across social platforms. The Twitch stream itself attracted over 100,000 viewers, and Blood Red Sky went on to reach the number one spot on Netflix in 57 countries including Germany.
Update 10/3/22: We spoke to Sean Chambers and Flo Hoffmann for an Insight & Strategy, where they explained how the campaign came about and the importance of trusting the audience when activating on Twitch.
Contagious Insight /
Experience is key / According to Forbes, experiential marketing can help build lasting connections between brands and consumers. Brett Hyman, president and founder at NVE Experience Agency, told the publication: ‘Well-executed experiential activations turn consumers from passive viewers to active participants.’ How, then, does a brand ensure that experiential marketing reaches as many people as possible? For Netflix, the secret was in making certain that the participants shared their experience on social media. By creating a surprising and perfectly themed interactive event, Netflix was able to harness the power of the influencers and reach their sizeable followings – after all, who wouldn’t want to document live a vampire running rampant around an aeroplane? This turned what would otherwise have been an enclosed PR stunt looking for the media to pick up, into an activation that travelled far beyond the metal cabin to an eager audience on social media.
Adding value / Twitch is an attractive platform to engage people on: according to Twitch Tracker, the average amount of concurrent channels streaming on Twitch in January 2022 is 106,000, while the average audience size tuning in to watch these is 2.97 million viewers. Even more impressive, these people are watching on average 95 minutes of Twitch content per day, according to Influencer Marketing Hub.
But brands have to turn up appropriately on the platform. ‘On Twitch, you have a whole lot of different interaction. It’s not similar to any other platform. Most of the influencers on YouTube try to sell products. On Twitch they do entertainment.’ So said Grischa Mentgen, Jung Von Matt SPORTS creative director, speaking to Contagious about McDonald’s Germany activating on the platform for its Sub Bomb Delivery campaign.
And entertain is what Netflix did here, seamlessly positioning itself and its product within the Twitch sphere, creating an engaging experience that connects with how users interact with the platform. Also, the two-tiered approach (consisting of influencers and gamers) ensured online users from different demographics could experience the activation, amplifying the campaign’s reach further. Netflix’s campaign illustrates yet again how brands can reach passionate Twitch communities by producing fun, entertaining content.
Game on / While Twitch is known for its live streams, Netflix took full advantage of the platform’s features to not only create the interactive element of the event but gamifying the experience so that Twitch users went from spectators to participants. Back in 2014, an anonymous Australian programmer developed what became known as Twitch Plays Pokémon, a stream where viewers could control the direction of the Pokémon by typing directional commands into the chat. An instant success, the experiment now holds the Guinness World Record for the most participants on a single-player online video game. Evidently, interactivity is something that fares well on Twitch.