Imagine this: you’re a buttoned-up exec in Netflix’s marketing department, waiting in a conference room for your ad agency to pitch their next big campaign. Suddenly, a twenty-something in a sports jacket and skinny jeans walks in to begin the pitch. “I wonder what it will be”, you think to yourself, as the room grows quiet. A YouTube ad? A digital billboard? A social media campaign? Then, the shaggy-haired creative opens his mouth and says two words…

Netflix. Weed.

Fast forward 6 months and Netflix has just partnered up with an LA dispensary, creating and distributing 12 unique strains of weed based on 12 different Netflix shows. Yes. You read that right. The team at Netflix’s ad agency ACTUALLY got their client to spend their marketing budget creating strains of weed. And guess what? It worked like a charm.

The team spent six months collaborating with the dispensary, designing each strain to mimic the feelings you get watching each show. They even created specialized packaging for each strain, such as a Banana-themed get up for Arrested Development.

In the days since Netflix announced the collaboration, the brand has received millions of dollars in free exposure, with coverage from Complex, Fortune, Business Insider and everyone in between.

By not taking themselves seriously and being willing to take a big risk, Netflix scored a big win with a prime target: the couch locked stoners of America.

On a deeper level, this case is a prime example of where the future of marketing is going, as more and more brands elect to spend their budgets on things that will get the media talking about them, as opposed to buying the more traditional ad placements.

Let’s just hope Netflix doesn’t decide to adapt this idea to promote Narcos.

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Jeff Schermer
Jeff is a Creative at Republica, one of America's leading independent advertising agencies. Throughout his career, Jeff has lent his talents to brands such as Toyota, Chuck E. Cheese's, Jamba Juice and more, creating cutting edge work and winning top industry awards. You can view some of Jeff's work at jeffschermer.com.