Preroll Spots Syncs ‘Friends’ for Netflix


We’ve all had to sit through those pesky preroll ads on YouTube for that expensive sports car we can’t buy or new flavor of Lays chips that makes us feel guilty for indulging in junk food. But what if a preroll ad was responsive to the videos you watched on YouTube? What if instead of advertising for a new show or product, the preroll helped to bring back “Friends,” one most popular shows of the ’90s?

Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Paris did just that with their “Netflix – The Friendly Preroll Campaign.” To promote the launch of all 236 episodes of “Friends” available on Netflix starting in 2015, the advertising and PR agency created responsive preroll ads that took a user’s search terms and found particular scenes from the show that were related.  According to the case study video uploaded by Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Paris on March 24, this strategy and campaign were a success and led to “Friends” becoming “the it show” in France 10 years after it left the air.

Ogilvy said it tagged thousands of YouTube’s top searched videos in creating the campaign, claiming to be the first of its kind in the category, according to an AdWeek article.

For example, if someone was searching for a video on cute cats, a preroll clip of Rachel’s hairless cats would play. Or if someone was looking for make-up tutorials, they would view a preroll clip of Joey promoting lipstick in Japan.

Preroll ads that related to real-time trending topics were also produced.

Monica dancing to Drake’s “Hotline Bling” anyone?

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“Because no matter what you are watching, there is something in ‘Friends’ related to it.”

This isn’t the first time that Ogilvy Paris has created a creative campaign for Netflix.  To help launch Netflix in France in 2014, the international public relations and marketing agency created an outdoor campaign that included 100 responsive Netflix GIFs that reacted to current events and the weather. The case video cites that it “transformed a pop-culture trend into an innovative media idea.”

With companies needing to come up with more creative ways to promote, advertise and engage with consumers, what do you think of this strategy? How could other companies capitalize on this creative preroll idea? What are the potential shortcomings, if any, of using this strategy?

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