Netflix is a joke




The Crown, House of Cards, Stranger Things. Netflix is known for its original dramas.

But Netflix wanted to own a new category.

Then, out of nowhere mysterious “Netflix is a joke” billboards popped up in busy neighborhoods in Los Angeles and New York.




People started talking about these mysterious black and white billboards.

“Is it some sort of prank?” some asked.

“Is it a competitor’s smear campaign?” fans speculated online.

The media picked it up. “What is happening?”, “Who would do this to Netflix?”

The answer? Netflix.

Turns out it was a provocative ad campaign for their new Netflix Comedy specials. Overnight the ads transformed from black and white insults to playful character statements.




Result? The campaign got global press coverage. Millions and millions of dollars worth of free media coverage.

So what’s the lesson here?

Netflix understands what 98% of Adland ignores or forgets. That the first job of advertising is not to be liked but to work. And advertising that works is advertising that gets seen and noticed.

Or as Dave Trott says: “What gets action is what gets attention. What gets attention is what gets seen.”


P.S. This piece was originally posted in my Nishi weekly newsletter where I share colorful thoughts on copywriting + loads of helpful resources and interesting stories. Subscribe to my newsletter here.

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