Aishwarya Ramesh

When 'Netflix and Chill' goes South

When a romantic relationship ends, the term 'Netflix and Chill' takes on a whole new meaning. Most Netflix users share their accounts in a bid to save money on viewing paid content. When the relationship goes awry, what happens to the shared hours of content viewed by the two?

Netflix's new ad film attempts to tackle these themes in a Valentine's themed spot titled 'Sorry: A Valentine's Day Message from Netflix India.' The ad resembles content in itself - it is nearly two minutes long and has barely any dialogues. "Starring Prit Kamani from Maska, a Netflix Original Film releasing later this year, and the super talented Aisha Ahmed, we present Sorry, a little message from us to you," reads the YouTube description on the video. The campaign has been created by 22feet Tribal Worldwide and DDB Mudra.

The film relies heavily on the actors to emote as the narrative unfolds with music backing it up. In usual Netflix style, the video makes references to Netflix's original shows - one of them being the popular science fiction drama Stranger Things. The narrative follows the journey of a couple who have split up, as they attempt to sabotage each other's content viewing time on the shared account on the platform.

Chraneeta Mann, co-founder at The Mob feels that the video is a nice take on the season and a refreshingly non-mushy one. "In terms of connecting with the audience, while it does work on the not-so-new insight of getting back at someone you broke up with, the pace, quirkiness and characterisation of the couple with shades of dark vindictiveness make it a fun watch. Of course, weaving in the gamut of content offered by Netflix as part of the vendetta game does make it come across as a more functional film than the love story they created last Valentine's," she says.

Chraneeta Mann
Chraneeta Mann

Mann adds that the content is almost a psychographic profile of the viewing choices of the two genders, and is really trying to showcase how the platform has apt content for everyone. The message sent through the first letter of the movies also implies the volume of choices available in movie titles. Both fairly hardworking objectives, but integrated quite seamlessly into the story - which is what makes it a more subliminal message than an overt one.

Vasan Bala, an adman and filmmaker, likes the treatment of the piece. "It builds the story of a relationship to an interface, which is Netflix. The Netflix algorithm in that sense, is one of the most important parts of the story," he says.

Vasan Bala
Vasan Bala

"At a time when brands are coming out with mushy content around Valentine's day, Netflix talks about a breakup - this means that Netflix has gone beyond being just for an occasion and has become an essential part of daily lives. Netflix also goes through the cycles of a breakup with the people in the video. There's barely any dialogue in the film so it relies heavily on the actors' emotions. The whole tone of the movie is bittersweet and even in the end, when the heroine has maxed out the devices on the account, the actor ends with a smile - this is a reference to Stranger Things and it was quite nicely done," Bala concludes.