Netflix Wants Its Next Big Screen Star to Be Electric Vehicles

Netflix and General Motors are joining forces in the hope of catapulting a new star onto screens big and small: the electric vehicle. 

Netflix has committed to getting EVs into every Netflix-managed TV and film production, both behind the camera and often in front of it. And Netflix and GM will launch a marketing campaign about EVs with a Super Bowl commercial later this month, a spot they’re teasing with two 15-second preview ads released Thursday. 

To goal of both efforts, they said, is to accelerate the world’s transition from fossil-fuel vehicles to electric ones.

“The more that we see EVs show up in his type of binge-worthy content, the faster everyone gets used to the change,” GM Global Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl said Wednesday in a briefing. 

Actor Will Ferrell stars in the Super Bowl-bound campaign, showing him hopping between Netflix shows and movies like Squid Game, Queer Eye and Love is Blind — even in period productions like Stranger Things and Bridgerton — all in scenarios that incorporate GM electric vehicles in some way. 

But in actual productions, Netflix won’t shoehorn EVs into genres where they wouldn’t make sense, like fantasy, period pieces or animation. Netflix actually began work on this EVs-on-screen initiative last year, and the company works with its creators in three steps: initial briefings about EVs and the initiative; a creative integration process with directors, showrunners and the like to determine how EVs fit the story; and assistance in identifying and sourcing the right vehicles. 

But Netflix said that this isn’t product placement.

“GM’s not paying to put their vehicles on Netflix shows,” Netflix Chief Marketing Officer Marian Lee said. She added that EVs from other automakers will be showing up in Netflix productions too, but the close ties between Netflix and GM fostered by this campaign means GM vehicles will be featured often. 

Wahl, GM’s head of marketing, also noted that GM is “looking forward” to working with Netflix’s team as they “build up their advertising business.” Netflix launched a cheaper tier with advertising in November, bringing commercials to the service for the first time. She specified any ad buys with Netflix are a separate effort. 

While Netflix and GM’s marketing campaign may not go on forever, the executives said their efforts to get EVs on screen has no end date. 

“I hope there won’t ever be an end,” Wahl said. And if the world transitions quickly to EVs as the norm, she added, there won’t need to be. 

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