What is it about rumours? How Netflix channels gossip for marketing

by | Jun 22, 2016 | Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Television

“Honey, if those kids are going to be journalists, they have to learn to write drunk.” Throughout my time in journalism school, this was my mantra.

This quote is one of the many references from the spectacular Warner Brothers (WB) show Gilmore Girls that make their way into my daily life.

I’m one of the excited, yet nervous, fans to hear that Netflix is bringing back Gilmore Girls10 years after it originally went off the air—to follow up the story of mother/daughter duo Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) Gilmore, and all of the quirky characters that call their tiny town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, home. I’m excited to see how the ladies are doing and how they’ve changed over the last decade.

This revival has been a long time in the making, and all the excitement has got me thinking about how Netflix is marketing the reboot. They seem to be using a new strategy of “allure of the unknown”, using cryptic announcements along with rumours to hype the show and keep excitement levels at a fever pitch.

The hype of a reboot started over a year ago, in May 2015, when Scott Patterson (Luke Danes) appeared on a small podcast Gilmore Guys and let it slip that talks were happening about a possible revival. After the podcast aired the news went viral on Twitter. The rumour mill had begun.

Secrecy seems to be the main element of the Netflix hype for this reboot. Releasing tiny tidbits to keep fans wanting more, so they then talk it up on social media, and in turn keep the reboot in the headlines. This strategy works well because of the strong fan base behind the show.

Here’s a timeline of the top gossip:

gilmore girls

Rumour mill timeline:

October 2015 – It’s reported that Netflix had struck a deal with WB and the Reboot would air on the streaming service.

January 2016 — Netflix releases an extremely brief press release announcing four main actors and two supporting, and that it’s in production with WB on the final season.

February 2016 – Fans are excited to hear Amy is returning and that they would now get the proper ending the show deserved.

March 2016 Melissa McCarthy tweets that no one asked her to come back to the show. Rumours circulate that there is “bad blood” between Melissa and Amy.

April 2016 – Melissa confirms on Ellen that she will be returning as Sookie.

April/May 2016 – Cast starts to tweet from the set. Fans begin to confirm which secondary characters are returning.

May 19, 2016 Netflix tweets a gif officially releasing the title, albeit somewhat cryptically.

May 19, 2016 – Lauren appears on Ellen and announces that the show will be titled Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life and a synopsis explaining there will be four 90 minute episodes.

So far Netflix’s new strategy seems to be working very well. They’ve successfully managed to keep the Gilmore Girls revival in the news by releasing information regularly, but only in very tiny tidbit form.

And fans, so far, seem to have loved this approach: Even though they’ve been left in the dark about most details, they don’t seem to care. In fact, they seem to feed off of all this speculation.

Fans are currently waiting on the official release date, along with how each show will be released. Will all four episodes come out at once to allow for binge watching (something Netflix is known for), or will Netflix do what ‘s currently being rumoured and only release one episode a season?

While writing this blog a story surfaced that the release date will coincide with Lauren’s book launch, sometime between Nov. 22 and Dec. 2. Only time will tell.

Even when Netflix declares a date I will still wonder if they’ll honour it. If you remember last year, when Orange is the New Black Season 3 was released a day early (for “good behaviour”) and the Internet lost their minds? That strategy well for Netflix in terms of happy clients, so maybe they’ll do something similar this time around.

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Sheena Bolton