Samantha Lee/Business Insider
- The return of "Stranger Things" was a big a moment for brands as well as for Netflix.
- The third season of the hit Netflix show, which debuted on July 4, featured more than 100 brands, Concave, a firm that tracks and analyzes brands in entertainment, found.
- Dozens of brands also helped promote the show outside of the Netflix platform, as Business Insider previously detailed.
- Heading into the debut of the third season, Coca-Cola was the biggest brand winner, garnering the most mentions on social media in connection with "Stranger Things," as well as the most earned media.
- Nike, Microsoft, Baskin-Robbins, and Burger King also shared the spotlight with Eleven and the gang heading into the new season.
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"Stranger Things" returned for a third season on July 4 and almost immediately broke Netflix’s viewership records.
It was streamed by 40.7 million households in its first four days on the streaming service, Netflix said, adding that it was the biggest debut for any series or movie the company has released. About half of those households — 18.2 million — completed season three by July 8.
The return of "Stranger Things" was also big a moment for brands like Coca-Cola and Eggo that were featured in the show, or partnered with Netflix to promote the new season.
Netflix doesn’t air commercials, but more than 100 brands including Coca-Cola, Burger King, 7-Eleven, The Gap, Eggo, and JCPenney appeared in the third season of "Stranger Things," Concave, a marketing firm that tracks and analyzes brands in entertainment, found.
Netflix also partnered with dozens of advertisers like Baskin-Robbins, Nike, Microsoft, and H&M to promote the series outside of its own platform.
It’s not clear how effective the integrations and promotional partnerships were for Netflix or its brand partners. But data provided to Business Insider by third-party firms offer some clues.
Netflix didn’t accept money from brands to be included in "Stranger Things" or to promote the series, the company has said.
The winner is … Coca-Cola
This season, Coca-Cola, not Eggo, was the big brand winner in "Stranger Things."
Coca-Cola appeared in every single episode of season three. The soda brand was even mentioned by name at a crucial moment in the show, as characters Lucas and Mike bicker over whether New Coke, a discontinued product from 1985, when season three takes place, is as good as the original formula. (Eleven’s favorite frozen waffles, Eggo, appear in the background of the same sequence.)
The soda brand got about five and half minutes of screen time during the season, according to Concave, which estimated the media value of Coca-Cola’s placements at $1.5 million in the first three days of the show’s release, based on traditional TV ad costs.
Coca-Cola also went all-out to promote the return of "Stranger Things" after learning that New Coke would be featured prominently in the show. It revived the old brand in a limited supply, created packaging inspired by "Stranger Things" for other Coke products, produced an ad with scenes from the series, and launched other elements including a pop-up arcade.
In the two months leading up to the return of "Stranger Things," Coca-Cola was the most-mentioned brand on social media in connection with the series. It garnered more than 55,800 posts on Twitter, including Facebook and Instagram posts that were pushed through Twitter, Fizziology, a social-media research firm found.
Coca-Cola received 13,311 pieces of press coverage — both "Stranger Things"-related and otherwise — across national and local US TV as well as digital media, during the 60 days ended July 8, showed data from Critical Mention, which monitors media mentions. Critical Mention estimated the value of Coca-Cola’s earned media across US TV and digital at nearly $1.27 billion, with more than 32 billion household impressions.
Another brand that won on social media was Nike, which had roughly 20,600 mentions on Twitter in connection with "Stranger Things" in the two months leading up to the season three premiere, according to the Fizziology data. Nike designed a sneaker collection inspired by the Netflix show.
Baskin-Robbins, which created custom ice-cream flavors and experiences around the Scoops Ahoy ice-cream parlour in the new season, also garnered more than 4,600 mentions. Baskin-Robbins aired TV commercials tied to "Stranger Things," as well. EDO, a firm that measures engagement with TV ads, found that people who saw it were 38% more likely to search for the ice-cream brand than those who saw its other commercials.
Burger King, which appears in a five episodes of season three and created an Upside Down Whopper sandwich to promote the return, got 4,300 mentions on Twitter.
Of the brands that Netflix partnered with to promote "Stranger Things," Microsoft received the second-most earned media, with an estimated media value of $369 million during the 60-day period that ended with the premiere weekend of "Stranger Things," Critical Mention estimated. It was followed by H&M, which created a custom clothing collection inspired by the looks in the new season, Baskin-Robbins, and Nike.
How "Stranger Things" stacks up against other blockbusters
Netflix’s marketing strategy, including the 1980s brands tapped to promote the series, helped build buzz for "Stranger Things" on social media. "Stranger Things" was mentioned more than 4 million times in total on Twitter in the first 96 hours following the release of season three, the Fizziology data showed.
It was the most talked about streaming show on social media in the first four days of its premiere, beating out another Netflix show, "13 Reasons Why."
But "Stranger Things" paled in comparison to HBO’s "Game of Thrones," which garnered a colossal 17 million mentions in the first 96 hours following the premiere of its final season on April 14.
"Game of Thrones" also drew more attention to its brand partners ahead of its release than "Stranger Things" did. Oreos, which released cookies inspired by the fantasy epic, was mentioned nearly 155,900 times in connection with "Game of Thrones" in the two months ahead of the show’s season eight premiere, compared with 55,800 mentions for Coca-Cola tied to "Stranger Things" during the comparable time period.
The brand winners
These were brand winners on social media, per the Fizziology data analyzing Twitter mentions during the two months leading up to the premiere of "Stranger Things":
- Coke: 55,828 mentions
- Nike: 20,604
- Baskin-Robbins: 4,634
- Burger King: 4,356
- H&M: 3,086
- Target: 2,010
- Levis: 1,556
- Microsoft: 932
- Tide: <100
These were the brands that scored big with earned media in the 60 days ending on July 8, by total media value estimated by Critical Mention:
- Coca Cola: $1.268 billion
- Microsoft: $369 million
- H&M: $211.5 million
- Baskin-Robbins: $208 million
- Nike: $178 million
- Levi’s: $136 million
- Lego: 133.5 million
- Eggo’s: $80 million
- Burger King: $78 million
- Gap: $71 million
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