Marketing & Branding

If Offline Marketing is Dead, Then Why Did ‘Arrested Development’ Do So Much of It?

Unless you have been living in a banana stand away from the Internet, then you’ve probably heard that the short-lived but critically-acclaimed series Arrested Development is back. After a seven year hiatus, Netflix created and hosts an exclusive, brand new season of this cult classic.

Preceding the Memorial Day weekend debut, the marketing team for Arrested Development was everywhere online. Their social media accounts were consistently producing engaging, funny content and publications wrote hundreds of blog posts about the return of the Bluths.

And since the episodes can only be seen on Netflix, it makes sense that the marketing should be predominately online. If you would like an overview of their online marketing campaign check out the articles on Hubspot, Social Media Today, or just pop on over to the Arrested Development Facebook page and scroll through their posts. Make sure you get a look at the Notable Inserts of Dr. Tobias Fünke.

But I wanted to touch on (sorry, no touching) discuss how an online video streaming service with streaming-only episodes used a good deal of offline marketing to their advantage. Let’s touch quickly on some of these.

The Bluth Hunt / Print Ads

In late April, Netflix’s marketing team released nine character posters. Each one represented a member of the iconic TV family. In addition to sharing these on all of their social media profiles, the AD team took to the streets.

They printed out physical copies of the posters and hung them up about New York City. Fans were encouraged to hunt them down, take pictures, and tag it with #BluthHunt on Twitter or Instagram.

bluth hunt

Yes, the goal was to drum up some social chatter, but that could’ve easily been done with additional images or show clips. Creating a physical scavenger hunt gave NYC fans a chance to interact with the brand in an exciting way.

Additionally, since the posters were featured outside and near public transportation stops, thousands of commuters and tourists would be able to see them. Even if they weren’t fans before, they might get interested now.

Character posters were also up to generate offline interest in the returning show. Not using any sort of print ads would’ve been a huge mistake.

TV Spots

I was honestly very surprised when I saw an Arrested Development commercial on TV one night. Since Fox canceled the low rated show in 2006 and Netflix picked it up for streaming only, I wasn’t sure that they would bother with advertising on television.

But whether they wanted to reach more potential viewers or just prove that TV shows no longer need to live and die by Nielson numbers, AD ran an edited version of their trailer during prime time.

On the seriously rare chance that old Arrested Development fans didn’t know about the new series or had forgotten that it was premiering, this was a great chance to reach them.

AD World Tour

The most effective use of offline marketing was the Arrested Development World Tour. Throughout the month of May the marketing team for Netflix took two popular icons from the show – the banana stand and the stair car – on a world tour. Fans could interact with the props, meet celebrities, take pictures, and even get free frozen bananas.

stair car santa monica

Along with getting to see props, the Netflix team encouraged fans to show up dressed as their favorite characters or to bring fan-made items.

At first, the world tour may just have benefited fans who followed the show on social media. But if you’re a random passerby, you’re going to notice the large, yellow banana stand, the dozens of never nudes, or the most awkward chicken dance ever seen.

Come on! How could you not stop and want to figure out what the heck is going on there?

Hundreds (if not thousands) of people in London, California, and New York came out to be a part of the world tour, take pictures, and talk about the upcoming season.

Which only proves that there is always money in the banana stand.

This also proves that offline marketing is far from dead. The Netflix marketing team did an excellent job of balancing their offline and online marketing to create one giant buzz that few could ignore. And I say that quite literally; it was hard to find any online and offline publication that wasn’t talking about this show.

So the next time that someone stands up and shouts that “Offline marketing is dead!” you can tell them to go blue themselves. Offline marketing might be growing past print ads and commercials, but all the social media in the world can’t replace getting to interact with your fans and customers in public.