Coca-Cola, Burger King, adidas, Pentax, Cadillac and Casio are just a few of the 75 brands reported to appear in the record-breaking third season of Stranger Things (1). Nostalgia is an important theme in the show and brands have intertwined themselves with the series since the beginning. Benefitting both the brand and show alike, it offers mass exposure for the products as well as supporting the Duffer brother’s storytelling. However, has this season taken it too far for consumers?

A study found that, based on viewing figures and screen time, the value of the brand placements amounted to $15m over the first 3 days of the show launching (2). This is a sizable figure considering Netflix have stated none of the product placements were paid for. When the placements were culturally relevant, the products featured benefited from a rise in interest. For example, Coca-Cola saw searches for their 80s product “New Coke” rise by 250% on the release day of the new series (3).

However, consumers took to social media to condemn the makers for allowing their show to be flooded with product placement, particularly when this included forced dialogue and lingering logo shots (4). These negative brand experiences may have taken some of the shine off of the pure media value received by brands.

The show itself has been met with great reviews and, despite some viewers being surprised and annoyed by the product placements, the show is now synonymous with nostalgic 80s brands. However, if there is a season 4, brands should think more about the consumer’s experience and whether the co-promotion fits naturally with the plot, or otherwise risk an inauthentic diversion from the show itself.


  3. Google Trends UK
  4. Twitter