Last week Netflix revealed that over 45 million accounts have watched their new film Bird Box in its opening week! Despite Netflix having success with their original series', like Stranger Things and The Crown, they had yet been able to do so with films. In fact, they held a reputation for having bad films plus common complaints were made that they don't push new movies enough. Can the power of social media influence be the answer.

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Arguably, the fact that the film launched during the festive period when most are sat in front of their TV, may have helped these numbers.  However, Netflix’s heavy promotion of the film across the media platform with its high concept and bizarre footage of Sandra Bullock rowing down a river blindfolded led to a social media goldmine – memes. As these memes spread like wildfire across Twitter and Instagram, more and more flocked to watch the film.

The high amount of memes means that it is likely some of the audience were first exposed to the film through their social media feeds, ultimately intriguing them to watch the film so they can get involved in the conversation.

Some have speculated that Netflix used bots to spread the memes, and that the Bird Box challenge was a subsequent outcome of them, prior to the film’s release, challenging Twitch gamers to play their favourite games blindfolded. However, Netflix have denied the former, saying that the memes spread organically and have strongly discouraged people against participating in the ‘Bird Box Challenge’.

Speculation aside, Netflix have clearly shifted how they promote their own movies, and shown just how important a role social media can play in a marketing campaign.

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As a behavioural marketing company, influencing behaviours is core to what we do and applying Behavioural Economics to marketing communications is a natural progression. If you are interested in understanding more about how we do this get in touch now.

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By Charlotte Sadler

Senior Account Manager