Why Netflix's DIY TV-Pausing-Socks are a Marketing Win

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Customer Engagement
Marketing
Netflix has the perfect gift for the binge-watcher in your life: Socks that pause the show if you fall asleep. "Never again will you binge-watch yourself to sleep, only to wake up two seasons later wondering what happened," Netflix proclaims on its site.

Netflix has the perfect gift for the binge-watcher in your life: Socks that pause the show if you fall asleep. "Never again will you binge-watch yourself to sleep, only to wake up two seasons later wondering what happened," Netflix proclaims on its site.An accelerometer that's embedded in the sock detects when you haven't moved for a prolonged period of time and sends a signal to your TV to pause the show. But there's a catch. Netflix isn't selling ready-made socks; consumers have to knit the socks and build the sensors themselves.

The company was kind enough to provide sock patterns as well as a list of materials and instructions for building the sleep detection system. "To build the sensor, you'll need an understanding of electronics and microcontroller programming, and be comfortable around a soldering iron," Netflix warns. And if you want to get fancy, you can even add a pulse sensor to detect a change in heart rate.

It's unlikely that many people will take the time to make these socks--let alone build the motion detecting sensors. But that's what makes this a great piece of marketing. It acknowledges customer behavior, in this case people who watch shows to the point that they fall asleep (or die), and puts a unique spin on branded content. People are far more likely to remember this type of branded content than a banner ad or generic merchandise with the company's name plastered on it.

And if there are any friends or relatives who are still shopping for a present for me, I'd love one pair of these socks, even after Christmas.

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EXPERT OPINION