Retail

Tapping Into The Stranger Side Of Commerce

Netflix has changed the name of the game when it comes to the concept of a broadcasting “runaway hit.” A phenomenon that was once stretched out over the course of a six-month viewing season — and nearly two-dozen post-episode water cooler conversations — has now been compressed into a weekend of binge-watching and cryptic social media posting so as not to spoil the excitement for others.

Sure, one could, if he or she were so inclined, pick a day each week and watch a single episode of something, thus recreating the extended viewing experiences of the past, but no one actually wants to do that.

In terms of marketing tie-ins, then, brevity — as with the length of the viewing experience — is important when the large national viewing event unfolding is on Netflix. That’s because in a day or two, or after the nearest intervening weekend, the event will more or less be over.

That is also likely why the Stranger Things tie-ins have come and gone quickly, though certainly flashily. For those unfamiliar with the show, it manages to tap into two things at the same time and to great effect. The first is 1980s pop culture, and the second is being creepy and scary right around Halloween. There are monsters, psychics, evil government conspiracy workers, men in biohazard suits with flashlights, a parallel world called the Upside Down where the aforementioned monsters live, dungeons and dragons, Ghostbusters costumes, Christmas lights, Wynona Rider and a Michael Jackson-heavy soundtrack.

Basically, it’s the Wonder Years for the millennial generation — with monsters.

And, as it turns out, it’s everyone’s favorite show — or, at least, a favorite of a significant part of the 18- to 34-year-old demographic.

All of this means Stranger Things has become remarkably marketable. Reebok’s released Ghostbusters-themed trainers, Spotify is awash with character-themed playlists, Snapchat has developed new lenses designed to take viewers on an augmented reality (AR) trip to the Upside Down and Lyft has been taking riders on basically haunted car rides, with a decidedly Stranger Things twist.

But Eggo has the most unique relationship with Stranger Things  — and the most unforced since it’s simply been the breakfast of choice for a central character, a magical little girl named Eleven. In fact, it’s likely a lot of Halloween costumes this year will involve carrying around a box of Eggos in dated clothing as an Eleven costume.

And, in case any of the show’s fans had somehow managed to forget the waffles’ importance to the plot, Eggos even managed to play a part in the season two trailer. This is important for a brand like Kellogg’s which has been struggling as millennials are turning their backs on breakfast cereal. In fact, millennials have noted passing on cereal because it is too labor intensive to prepare. Seriously. That’s not a joke.

The Eggo, however, transmutes most of the hard work to the toaster and requires neither bowl nor plate to wash afterward — it’s an ideally millennial food. As such, Eggo made a surprise appearance at the Stranger Things season two premiere of the Netflix original series with an 80s-themed waffle truck. Which, okay — sure, not bad — but certainly not more involved than any other brand.

But Eggo, in what can only be called an admirable attempt at adopting a full measure, also decide to double down a few times on the connection. Ever wanted to make a nine-course, Eggo-themed menu so you can commune better with a scary television program? Probably not, but now that you’ve read it, aren’t you at least mildly curious?  How many ways are their to make Eggos really?

And Eggo was not done. The minds at Kellogg’s also created downloadable DIY sheets for Halloween goers to complete their Eleven looks with an Eggo box. Which, for those looking for a last-minute Halloween costume they can also eat later, is not a terrible idea.

And the company even has viewers’ backs, particularly for those who didn’t manage to watch all of the Stranger Things season two episodes in one weekend. Kellogg’s also created a spoiler blocker which is available to download on Google Chrome.

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