Stranger Things ‘delivers $27m’ in brand placement value

Stranger Things ‘delivers $27m’ in brand placement value

Brands including Coca-Cola, Sony, Reebok, and Lacoste generated a combined $27.4m in brand placement value from Netflix’s fourth series of Stranger Things so far, new data has revealed.

YouGov Stream found Coca-Cola had the highest placement value of any brand in the latest series of Stranger Things with $3.4m. Its highest performing asset was a can of Coke, coming in at $1.7m, then a bottle with $711,000 and a fountain cup at $466,000.

This would seem to mark a step-change to Netflix’s previous paid placement strategy as Tom Harrington, head of television at Enders Analysis highlighted that in supplementary written evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in October 2020, the streaming giant said: “If a brand is featured or seen in content, it does not mean that Netflix, the producer or the creator has been paid. To date we’ve rarely been paid and we keep paid placement to a minimum”.

In this evidence, Netflix added that it was an ad-free service and creators of shows or films could choose to include brands in their stories “if this strengthens the overall storyline or adds to its authenticity.”

It also clarified that under the Audio-Visual Services Media Directive, any instances of paid product placement in programmes it produced or commissioned are “disclosed to the viewer by means of clear labelling.”

Harrington explained: “Generally streaming seems behind in monetising product placement (ITV, for example, are very active in the space), probably because up until six months ago the purer the streaming experience (no ads, easy cancellation, singular revenue stream with no traditional broadcast assets to worry about etc) the more positive the reaction from the market.

“This perception has been flipped now and suddenly there is a rush towards launching ad tiers and experiments with other potential revenue streams, likely including product placement deals and content sponsorship.”

Coca-Cola’s valuation in the latest series of Stranger Things was almost six times that of rival brand Pepsi who also had placements in the show valued at $586,000 across the UK and US.

Other soft drink brands like 7UP, Sprite and Dr Pepper had brand placements valued at $145,000, $70k, and $50k respectively.

Sony and Reebok and also saw “high performance value” in both the UK and the US with $2.4m each.

Meanwhile, Lacoste’s value came exclusively from one character, Jason Carver played by Mason Dye, wearing one of their shirts during the entire second episode. This was valued at $2.3m and audience insight from YouGov showed there was an equal gender split between male and female during the episode (49% vs 51%), and an overall skew towards millennials rather than Gen Z (33% vs 27%).

YouGov also calculated a total UK and US audience for the Duffer Brothers’ show of more than 0.6bn.

Another character, Max Mayfield, played by Sadie Sink, was revealed to be the most popular with brands, driving more than $5m in net placement value for Sony ($2.4m), Vans ($1.4m), Hang Ten ($1.2m) and Swatch ($200,000).

YouGov Stream also revealed the most favoured episode for placements among brands was the final ninth episode of the season which featured more than 35 different brands during its two-and-a-half-hour run with $7.3m in placement value.

This research comes as Netflix is launching an ad-supported tier in early 2023 after consecutive disappointing quarters with subscriber losses.

Dominic Prince, associate director of product at YouGov, said of the findings: “What we’re seeing in this data is an extremely healthy return provided by Netflix for the brands featured in Stranger Things. Coke, as reportedly the largest buyers of product placement in the show, will be happy with over $3.4m in advertising value driven by their efforts in the UK and US. As will the likes of Reebok, Sony, and Jif Peanut Butter.”

He added that audience figures for the show would only continue to grow over time, and consequently so would the valuations of its brand placements.

Such analysis is in line with predictions that major streaming properties could become the “Super Bowl of advertising“.

Prince highlighted: “It’s also important to look at this data in the context of the broadening push by SVOD services to offset production costs by creating new revenue streams. Our total valuation of $27.4m demonstrates the value that this media can generate for brands. A blue-chip streamer like Stranger Things is effectively a marketing tool with monumental reach for brands looking to target even the most stubborn, ad-averse consumers.”


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