- Netflix is running the first custom creative campaign for its ad-supported tier in partnership with Geico, according to news shared with Marketing Dive.
- The effort pairs the insurance firm’s gecko mascot with Leo the lizard, the protagonist of the streamer’s new animated film “Leo” starring Adam Sandler. The reptilian duo appear together in a 30-second spot that shows the Geico Gecko doling out on-set advice.
- Creative includes TV and online video ads, out-of-home placements and social media elements. The deal shows Netflix adapting a co-branded marketing strategy to budding bets on advertising that it views as key to unlocking future growth.
About a year after launching its ad-supported tier, Netflix is experimenting with co-branded partnerships that could appeal to marketers trying to strengthen the connection between their products and the streamer’s original programming. The “Leo” campaign, which launched Nov. 21 around the film’s release and runs through the end of December, shows Netflix tapping into a playbook that’s previously helped drive engagement but with the addition of more traditional commercials.
Past co-branded Netflix marketing initiatives include Domino’s work with “Stranger Things” and Old Spice’s collaborations with “The Witcher.” Geico’s tie-in with “Leo” is different because the ads actually run on Netflix, giving the insurance firm a more direct line to viewers.
“Bringing the iconic Geico Gecko together with the new reptile on the block Leo, is a great example of delivering more entertaining ad experiences for members and more contextually relevant messages for advertisers,” said Magno Herran, Netflix vice president of marketing partnerships, in a statement. “While this is the first, we look forward to building more of these opportunities for our brand partners and members.”
The new ads, which were developed with creative studio Framestore and animation experts Animal Logic, depict the Geico Gecko as an on-set consultant giving his scaly peer Leo tips, including vocal warmup routines and finding the right lighting for a shot. Leo, who’s portrayed as an advice-giver in the movie, eventually laments that he’ll have to get up early to repeat the process the next day.
“Leo” stands as the biggest debut for an animated film on Netflix, attracting 34.6 million views within six days of premiering. The Adam Sandler vehicle landed at the front of the pack for the service’s English-language top 10 list.
Netflix striking more involved advertising partnerships follows recent leadership shakeups. Jeremi Gorman, the company’s former global ad president, departed in October after joining Netflix to help build out the ad-supported tier. Netflix’s pivot to advertising after years of balking at the prospect of carrying commercials has been speedy and not without its snags.
Netflix’s ad-supported tier earlier this month reached 15 million active monthly users, the streamer said. The offering is a priority for Netflix as the focus in the streaming category shifts from subscriber growth to profitability. Netflix has stated that revenue derived from ads is not yet material to its overall results, though it has indicated the cheaper plan has seen momentum in recent months, with membership up about 70% quarter-over-quarter in Q3.