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Sometimes the craziest ideas aren’t so crazy after all

May 22, 2013

Banana Stand in London


A Marketing Lesson from Arrested Development and Netflix

This morning we were having a discussion here in the iOVA office about the current marketing push leading up to the release of Arrested Development’s season 4 this weekend on Netflix. (If you aren’t familiar with this unique release, read about it here.) It was one of those off-handed ‘can you imagine how fun that meeting was when they decided to have a never-nude convention?!’ comments that sparked this blog entry. If you haven’t watched the show, there are a myriad of websites, infographics, and actual news articles that can catch you up, so I won’t try to explain it to you now. What I do want to mention though, is the unique ways in which they are garnering an insane amount of attention for a TV show that was cancelled 7 years ago.

While the Netflix marketing department has been making the standard efforts for any production with some money to spend (planting trailers and clips on social media networks, running contests through blogs and offline outlets like New York Magazine, billboards in major cities, and buying print ads in magazines like Entertainment Weekly) they’ve also taken their marketing to the people directly. Fans and interested bystanders alike have lined up for hours in London, New York and Los Angeles to take a photo in front of the famous “Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Stand” that was featured on the series. They also received a free frozen banana but somehow I think the photo is what they’re most excited for. The “stair car” featured on the show has been parked at heavily-trafficked tourist spots around Los Angeles this past weekend as well. And social media sites have been flooded with pictures and references to ‘hop-ons’.

Today, old episodes of the show are being screened at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles while the aforementioned banana stand hangs around front. And oh yeah, the idea that sparked my earlier comment: there was a “never-nude convention” at 1 PM today where the first 96 people who showed up wearing jean cutoff shorts like the Tobias character wore underneath all of his clothing on the show, received some unnamed prize.

These marketing stunts have boosted twitter followers for the official show accounts (that was the best way to find out where they’d be on any given day), created countless press write-ups, and cultivated a sense of community for a show that could have easily fallen off the map 7 years ago. So I guess it goes to show that, as George Bluth, Sr. always told us, there really is always money in the banana stand.

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