Shreyas Kulkarni

Netflix India on the making of ‘The Archies’ marketing blitz

Chief marketer Srivats TS and head of marketing partnerships APAC Shilpa Singh take us through the movie's brand collaborations strategy.

That Netflix India’s The Archies made as much noise for its marketing moves as the movie itself is quite something – it was the proverbial icing on the cake for movie marketing that reached an epoch of sorts in 2023.

Be it Shah Rukh Khan’s intentional lack of marketing for Pathaan and Jawan and then the several brands starring in it, the meteoric Barbenheimer phenomenon, or the back-to-basics plan of Gadar 2, marketing picked up quite the pace for the movies this year.

What worked in The Archies, an Indian adaptation of the beloved comic, favour was its collaborations with varied brands across sectors.

There was:

Holiday beverages with Starbucks

A clothing line with Flipkart

Limited-edition speaker with boAt

Archies-themed WhatsApp stickers

A themed flight to Riverdale on a Vistara retro jet

Limited-edition Archies collection from Maybelline New York

Gen-Z aimed backpack collection from Skybags

Tinder promoting its new incognito feature with Dot., a character from the movie. 

No movie in recent memory has tied up with so many high-profile brands. One could say it was hitting two targets in one move.

There was the nostalgia for older generations seeing the comic come to life in an Indian setting after being treated to the American TV drama Riverdale. On the other hand, the star cast generated quite the intrigue amongst the younger millennials and the Gen Z viewers.

Shilpa Singh, senior director, marketing partnerships, APAC, Netflix, and Srivats TS, vice president, marketing, Netflix India helped us understand how they went about making the marketing strategy for The Archies.

Edited Excerpts:

How did you go about the marketing strategy for the movie?

Srivats TS: As always, we began with the fundamentals of identifying the right TG, crafting great positioning and a strong creative platform that brings all this to life. We knew we had highly anticipated talent debuts, a strong IP, and an extraordinarily pedigreed filmmaker as the raw ingredients to build from.

Through the positioning of You’re Never Too Young To Change The World, we mounted a scaled campaign in multiple stages (introducing The Archies, building anticipation and fan love, and then culminating The Archies takeover closer to launch week). 

Iconic music beats, scaled digital and social media plans, innovative brand partnerships, on-ground events, and the press made The Archies unmissable.

How did you establish all these brand connections?

Shilpa Singh: Content is today's social currency. When we talk about social currency, we mean what people are eager to know, discuss, and share with each other.

Think about it—when you meet someone, a common conversation revolves around 'What are you watching?' It's how Netflix shapes these social interactions.

We look at partnerships similarly; a way to create consumer moments that neither we nor the partner could have done alone. By partnering with brands like Starbucks, Vistara, Maybelline, Skybags, and boAt, we aimed to marry the iconic elements from The Archies and the 60s era with brands of today.

Take us through the social media and OOH strategy for the movie

Srivats TS: We’ve got a 38M+ engaged social community that we program for in a very intentional manner, focusing on engagement and shareability. All our big campaign beats come alive through digital and our social channels driving conversation and fuelling fandom.

We knew that OOH has an outsized impact in building perception with key audience segments. We had an innovation where cars redesigned to look like roller skates act as moving billboards on the weekend of launch, in addition to frequency buys.

Ultimately, all our beats finding their way to social media is the multiplier effect that propels conversation and interest.

Were the ads and videos or even events (like the Vistara flight and welcome at Goa) executed in-house or dependent on external agencies?

Shilpa Singh: In each partnership, the approach varies based on its needs. Sometimes, we collaborate with our partner's agencies, while other times we engage creative agencies from our side to help bring ideas to life.

The creative concepts and strategy always originate within the Netflix team. For ads, videos, or events, the execution, we reach out for support on a case-by-case basis, with our fantastic external agency partners.

Break down the media spending for us

Srivat TS: We had built a full-fledged media plan for The Archies with strong reach and frequency building mediums such as digital along with innovations and brand partnerships to drive anticipation and conversation.

Netflix India on the making of ‘The Archies’ marketing blitz

For instance, the countdown billboard was strategically placed at the busiest highway connecting the airport to central Mumbai. One could spend the same amount of money on 20 sites, spread across the country over one week, but that would not have the same impact as this single billboard did.

What is Netflix India's movie marketing strategy?

Srivats TS: It always begins with identifying the target audience and defining the positioning of the title. This comes from understanding the pop cultural relevance of the title, the creative vision, the talent and auspices involved, and insights from conversation around the title, brand, talent.

We then design the big creative idea that brings alive the positioning to the consumer and present this to our audiences in innovative ways combined with strong media principles.

Have news to share? Write to us