How Netflix Uses OOH Billboards to Reach Audiences

It’s tempting to assume that out-of-home (OOH) advertising may be overshadowed by digital marketing in today’s landscape. With the prevalence of online advertising, some may have predicted the decline of billboard advertising.

But the reality is different.

Despite a dip in 2020, OOH ad spending in Southeast Asia is rebounding, with projections suggesting it may surpass pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

The digital world is noisy. Instead of trying to be the loudest in the room, brands are leaving the room altogether. Billboards allow brands to be outstanding (literally) to capture attention and break through barriers effectively again. That explains why marketers are returning to traditional advertising. 

One brand that seems to have mastered the art of OOH billboards is Netflix. The streaming giant found a new canvas in billboards, especially in the Philippines, to set a higher bar for OOH advertisers to match.

Benefits of OOH Billboard Advertising for Netflix

Outdoor advertising isn’t dead. If you’ve been averse to investing in OOH media, Netflix’s attention-grabbing campaigns might change your mind. 

1. Increases brand awareness among a large and diverse audience

Netflix is available in 190 countries. That means the brand has to tailor its content and marketing to resonate with each culture. No wonder they spent $1.59 billion on advertising in 2022 globally.

According to the latest statistics, 48% of consumers have been encouraged to search for more information about a brand on their phones from outdoor media. With these numbers, Netflix’s large expense can become a favorable investment.

2. Creates buzz and generates word-of-mouth advertising

Netflix billboards tap into Filipinos’ online habits by making share-worthy advertising campaigns. Their signature quality and creativity help their billboards stand out, underscoring the benefits of integrating outdoor and mobile marketing

OOH billboard, biillboard advertising
Extraction 2 billboard in EDSA Kamuning, Metro Manila

For instance, for Extraction 2, the brand created a burnt billboard, complete with smoke effects and rips in the material, that sparked discussions online. The buzz and word-of-mouth advertising Netflix advertising campaigns generate are what any dedicated marketer wishes for. 

3. Drives traffic to its platform

While billboards might not cause traffic in the real world, you can surely count on them to do so online. Netflix billboards often highlight the low entry-level subscription fee to entice people on the road to download the app, subscribe, or watch its latest release.

4. Attracts attention consistently

Online, you face fierce competition from brands that have invested thousands in advertising campaigns, vying for algorithm favor. However, outside, you can reach your audience without an internet connection. People can easily spot and snap a picture of your billboard during their daily commute or stroll, significantly boosting your brand’s visibility.

Although any brand can enjoy these benefits, how Netflix executes its campaigns sets it apart.

OOH Billboard Advertising Strategies Used by Netflix 

Why is Netflix OOH media so good? Take a cue from their playbook with the strategies below.

1. Using data to target specific audiences 

The secret to success in outdoor advertising is knowing your audience. Netflix knows theirs. For instance, to promote the series Trese, Netflix Philippines launched vandalized billboards, mirroring the supernatural beings’ hatred towards the main character. The billboards were effective in generating talk online about the series. 

For another example, Netflix targeted landmarks worldwide as part of Stranger Things out-of-home advertising campaigns. This drew worldwide attention, increasing interest in the series’ new season.

That’s why you must look into tools to track your OOH campaigns to understand better who you can target and how effective your efforts have been.

2. Using creativity to catch attention and stand out

Out-of-home advertising isn’t limited to billboards. Case in point, Netflix’s promotional campaign for the film Red Notice included a publicity stunt to steal the Mall of Asia globe. This generated massive online conversations, with many even believing it was real.

3. Using humor to generate word-of-mouth and engagement

Filipinos are known for their sense of humor, so campaigns that tap into that benefit the brand. For instance, to promote their latest murder mystery film, Glass Onion, Netflix Philippines created billboards that featured clues about the characters. However, one TikTok user discovered the billboard with only two things: a (magnifying) glass and an onion. 

Was it intentional? Maybe. Did it get people talking? Absolutely. 

The post garnered 48,000 likes and 192 shares, further enhancing Netflix Philippines’ brand in the country.

4. Using the space around the billboard itself

While billboards usually seem to appear out of nowhere, Netflix turns theirs into an event. Take this Netflix digital billboard launch for the Netflix original film Gray Man, starring Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling. It’s complete with a countdown and a fireworks display. This caused many onlookers to stop and watch the trailer, helping the brand’s efforts to promote the movie.

You can see these strategies in action through the brand’s other past billboards.

4 Memorable Netflix OOH Billboard Campaigns 

From mysterious clothes to interactive posters, Netflix advertising campaigns featuring OOH billboards are great sources of inspiration for your own outdoor advertising campaign.

1. Glass Onion

OOH billboard, biillboard advertising
Glass Onion billboard along EDSA, SM Megamall

This is a clear example of Netflix using billboards to start conversations, especially since the billboards had no text. 

For the release of Glass Onion, Netflix created its own mystery through its billboard advertising. They placed the outfits of the movie’s different characters onto a minimalist, no-text billboard. The lack of context stood out and got people guessing in Manila’s crowded and noisy billboard scene. 

2. The Gray Man

The Gray Man billboard at MRT-3, Buendia Station

The Gray Man is an action-packed film with two leads duking it out with one another. To immerse passersby, Netflix created a series of billboards depicting Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans) shooting at Six (Ryan Gosling). The billboards flickered with small lights emulating gunfire ricocheting off of Six’s shield, creating a stunning OOH display.

3. Extraction 2

The sequel to 2020’s Extraction featuring Chris Hemsworth needed to capture even more attention before—and capture more attention than it did. Instead of taking the loud and flashy approach other action films might’ve taken, Netflix went for another course.

In parts of New York and Los Angeles, Netflix placed billboards of Chris Hemsworth actually sweating, allowing passersby to interact with the dripping ad. The tagline? “Action so intense our billboards sweat.” The unusual billboard got the brand picked up by several news outlets, such as The Guardian.

4. Alice in Borderland

You don’t have to limit your out-of-home media to billboards. 

Netflix wanted to capture the game aspect of Alice in Borderland to promote the series to its Filipino audience. The brand scattered QR codes for Manila commuters to hunt, offering a chance to win a new car and escape the metro’s infamous daily commute.

Think Outside the Home 

Regardless of your industry, Netflix proves the effectiveness of OOH advertising. They skillfully tailor billboard ads to resonate with their audience, delivering the unique and refreshing approach that their market seeks. 

If seeing Netflix’s billboards inspired you to launch your own OOH advertising campaigns, let’s get in touch! Here at QBF, we are outdoor advertising experts in the business of making people look.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you make creative outdoor advertising!


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