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- Netflix is ramping up work with brands like Coca-Cola and Baskin-Robbins to promote its high-profile original series.
- Though the effort within Netflix is still developing, Business Insider talked to brands and agencies to identify the early power players who are helping shape the streaming-TV company’s work with brands.
- Christie Fleischer, who joined Netflix from Disney in 2018 to oversee consumer products, and Barry Smyth, director of brand partnerships and partner marketing, are two early leaders.
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Netflix has been ramping up its work with brands like Coca-Cola and Baskin-Robbins to draw more attention to its tentpole original shows and movies, like “Stranger Things,” with promotional and licensing deals, as the company said in its second-quarter earnings report.
The brand deals, which were on full display around the return of “Stranger Things” this month, are tapping into marketing channels outside of Netflix’s platform and media buys, such as retail spaces, to help grow the company’s subscriber base.
Read more:Netflix doesn’t want to ‘get distracted’ by trying to make money directly from deals with brands like Coca-Cola and Nike
Though the effort within Netflix is still developing, Business Insider talked to brands and agencies to identify the early power players who are helping shape the streaming-TV company’s work with brands.
The power players
The emerging effort within Netflix is being led by a small but growing team, out of Los Angeles, that’s run by Christie Fleischer, who oversees consumer products, brand partnerships, and partner marketing; and Barry Smyth, director of global brand partnerships and partner marketing.
Fleischer joined Netflix by way of Disney in September 2018 to head up consumer products, including retail and licensing deals, merchandising, games, publishing, and experiential events, asNetflix announced last year.
She was seasoned in this category — a relatively new one for Netflix, which has only in the past two years or so started pushing its most popular brands beyond its platform —after years crafting similar brand extensions at Disney. Fleischer came up in her career in merchandising at The Disney Store, and rose to lead merchandising across Disney’s parks, experiences, and consumer products.
At Netflix, Fleisher’s focus has been on using products — be it Lego sets, custom Nikes, or mobile games — to build buzz around Netflix’s original series and movies.
Her role has expanded to include brand partnerships, such as the broad deals Netflix had struck with advertisers like Coca-Cola and Baskin-Robbins to promote the return of “Stranger Things” with co-marketing campaigns, retail takeovers, themed products, and experiential events.
She also oversees Netflix’s partner marketing efforts, including its relationships with a wide range of companies like device makers, pay-TV providers, or wireless and internet operators.
Barry Smyth, global brand partnerships
Fleischer is being supported by Barry Smyth, who has been with Netflix since 2016, and leads global brand partnerships and partner marketing.
Smyth, who was a marketer at Motorola before he came to Netflix, first focused on the kinds of partner marketing campaigns Netflix does with device makers, internet service providers, and other partners.
But he also shepherded in some of Netflix’s first deals with brands to promote its shows, such as a 2017 partnership with Lyft around the second season of “Stranger Things” and a later deal with the ride-sharing company tied to “Glow.”
Netflix has since expanded its work with brands around its flagship original movies and series. It worked with roughly 75 brands to promote the third season of “Stranger Things,”The New York Times reported.
Read more:’Stranger Things’ is back. Here’s how Netflix used brands like Coca-Cola and Baskin-Robbins in a massive marketing push for its return
The developing team
The rest of the teams under Fleischer and Smyth are still taking shape.
Netflix has brought in a handful of people from companies like Fox, Lionsgate, and Tastemade over the last year to support its brand partnership efforts, according to two sources familiar with the group and LinkedIn profiles.
It has specialists around the world who are working with brands. The company’s website currently lists anopening for a brand partnership director in the region that includes Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; the position would be based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The teams also work with Netflix’s overall marketing department to tie the brand deals into the broader show and movie campaigns. That broader marketing group could be in for a shakeup whennew leader, former BBC Studios marketer Jackie Lee-Joe, comes on board as chief marketing officer in September.
Business Insider will continue covering Netflix’s brand marketing efforts as they develop.
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