In Episode One of Sexy Beasts — the new dating-show-with-a-twist that Netflix
Sexy Beasts is a reality show, and while there’s no reason to think that the Peaky Blinders remark didn’t happen spontaneously, it also serves as a reminder of something that it’s easy to forget in the streaming era: Convenience has a price. And we’re not talking about the monthly bill that hits your credit card each month for these streaming services.
Platforms like Netflix, Apple TV+ and HBO Max (depending what subscription package you pay for), among others, have made it possible for us to blissfully inject an uninterrupted feed of content directly into the pleasure center of our brains. Even better, we get to enjoy it all without the incessant interruption of commercials, that barely tolerated relic from the days when broadcast TV reigned supreme.
However, just because we’re not watching commercials anymore, now that we’ve moved the bulk of our TV viewing to streamers — that doesn’t mean we won’t find brands waiting for us there. Indeed, thanks to their aggressive countermoves worthy of Beth Harmon herself from Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, brands are getting increasingly creative with how they put the message they want to share in front of streaming audiences who don’t always even realize it’s there. Which is to say, advertising remains an exceedingly pervasive force that you cannot hide yourself from — not completely. Streaming fans, let it be known: You will be marketed to. Somehow, some way.
If you take a closer look, you’ll actually see that Netflix is replete with plenty more examples of this same kind of thing. All of which are attempts, both overt and subtle, to position a brand in front of viewers for maximum awareness, while also walking that fine line of not being too obvious about it and leaving a bad taste in viewers’ mouths. The prominence of Coke and the Eggo waffles brand in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, for example, was in this same vein. As was the instance from a couple of years ago, when Netflix worked with Subway to offer a Green Eggs and Ham sub sandwhich — consisting of eggs, ham, guacamole and cheese) in connection with the Netflix Green Eggs and Ham series.
According to one report, Eggo actually garnered more than $200,000 in “earned media value” thanks to its high-profile presence in Stranger Things (Eggo waffles, you’ll recall, were a favorite snack of Eleven, the girl with the mysterious powers). In this case, Eggo was reportedly unaware that the brand was going to feature so prominently in Season One. But by the time the sophomore season came around, the brand was ready and waiting to pounce into action — fully prepared to now capitalize on the tie-up with the show via a mix of experiential marketing as well as campaigns on social media.
According to the research firm PQ Media, global spending on product placement is expected to jump 13.8% (compared to a mere 5.9% increase in overall marketing spend), to $23.3 million this year.
“If I’m starting to cobble together my viewing experience as a series of streaming services, I…