the netflix effect and the future of marketing.

November 2, 2021

what is the netflix effect?

While we see Netflix as simply a place to binge-watch our favorite shows, it holds a lot more power on our behavior than we realize through the Netflix Effect. The Netflix Effect refers to certain products surging in sales as a direct result of being featured in a Netflix show or film. This has even evolved to specific brands utilizing Netflix as their advertising vehicle. 

the proof is in the chess board.

the queen’s gambit.

It’s no secret that you didn’t have to be obsessed with chess to love The Queen’s Gambit, but could it have sparked an obsession after? The Netflix Effect can occur subtly, seen through the example of The Queen’s Gambit. While this example did not include a specific brand, it had a significant effect on chess itself. 

Within the first month of its release, Google searches for ‘chess’ and ‘how to play chess’ hit a nine-year peak, according to Netflix, and the number of new players on quintupled. Additionally, Sales of chess sets rose by 87 percent in the United States while sales of chess books jumped by 603 percent, according to NPD’s U.S. Retail Tracking Service data. Walter Tevis’ 1983 book, ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ also reaped the benefits, making it on the New York Times bestseller list 37 years after the book was first released. 

Is it possible that all these people suddenly got the urge to pursue chess in their free time?  Yes, I suppose that’s possible.  However it’s more likely that Netflix subtly told them that they should buy a chess set and learn how to play.

a new way to market.


When you think of marketing and advertising, specific vehicles and platforms come to mind: a google search ad, a banner ad on YouTube, a post on a brand’s Twitter account, etc. Headspace took an out-of-the-box approach through its recent partnership with Netflix.

Headspace is an online company specializing in meditation. Through their website and app, you get unlimited access to hundreds of meditations on everything from stress to sleep–through their subscription, of course. This year, Headspace released 3 specials on Netflix, ‘Headspace Guide to Meditation,’ ‘Headspace Guide to Sleep,’ and ‘Headspace Unwind Your Mind.’ Since there are only 8 episodes, you’ll have to sign up for their subscription if you want more than that.

Headspace used the Netflix Effect to its advantage, utilizing this platform as a means of content marketing. They could attract an audience without using social media or search ads, but instead through a subtle and less annoying approach. As of August 2021, Headspace has 70 million members around the world across all platforms, so they must be doing something right!

so, what’s next?

I think it’s too presumptuous to say that the classic forms of marketing will soon be obsolete–after all, they’re called classics for a reason. However, using this type of content marketing approach is very smart on behalf of popular brands. Netflix has the power to capture audiences’ attention and retain loyalty like no other marketing tactic, and I anticipate more brands taking advantage of this power in the future.

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