Netflix Thinks Outside the Box with their Out-of-Home Advertising Campaigns

Netflix is a huge player in today’s media landscape, dominating the subscription streaming service market. Despite their massive presence in the digital world, they often turn to more traditional outdoor advertising in order to promote their content. Out-of-home advertising offers Netflix a way to reach audiences when they’re active and more likely to be paying attention to the ads they encounter.

People can fast forward through ads on television and skip or block them online, but they can’t ignore ads plastered on the sides of buildings or busses.

Netflix does a fantastic job using outdoor advertising to complement their digital advertising strategy. Their out-of-the-box outdoor campaigns never fail to generate buzz, and they consistently drive conversation from the streets to social media. With a $2 billion marketing budget, we can expect to see more clever outdoor advertising campaigns from Netflix, but for now let’s take a look back on some of our favourite and most memorable.

Netflix Comedy Specials

In September of 2017, cryptic billboards started appearing in various neighbourhoods near Los Angeles and New York. The billboards were simple, with no images - only black lettering that boldly proclaimed “Netflix Is a Joke”.

The massive billboards immediately intrigued people everywhere, with speculation as to whether this was some sort of promotion by Netflix themselves, or a critique of the huge company. The curiosity and buzz around the billboards continued to build, and culminated at the 2017 Emmy Awards where the mystery surrounding them was finally resolved. Netflix premiered a video during one of the commercial breaks that featured a number of comedians whose specials would be available to stream on their platform. In a brilliantly creative video, these comedians invaded Netflix original shows like Orange is the New Black and The Crown, and interacted with the main cast members - hilariously poking fun at their characters. This joint advertising effort cast the spotlight on Netflix comedy specials and made sure no one could forget about them.


Netflix used outdoor advertising to generate social buzz for the second season of Daredevil. The main characters from the series, Daredevil, Elektra and the Punisher, were all featured on their own massive billboards, and a fourth board prompted people to “Join the Fight” by tweeting the name of their favourite character.

Whichever character’s hashtag was mentioned the most every 48 hours would then “attack” the others, whose billboards would be updated with rips, tears, and various battle wounds. This interactive outdoor campaign was truly unlike any we’ve seen before! It did a fantastic job engaging the audience and driving activity on social media.

Stranger Things

Stranger Things fans were intrigued when billboards went up advertising ‘Hawkins Power and Light’, a fictional company from the hit series. The billboards read, “Flipping the Switch for a Brighter Tomorrow”, and included a toll free number to call for more information.

Of course, if curious fans were quick to ring in, they were delighted to reach a hotline for the company with several pre-recorded messages. This immersive advertising experience allowed fans inside the fictional world of Stranger Things - a perfect way to garner a huge wave of excitement for the new season.

Netflix’s out-of-the-box campaigns demonstrate how creative brands can get with outdoor advertising - they’ve proved that the sky's the limit when it comes to designing an outdoor campaign!

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