Social Media Marketing: What makes Birdbox phenomenon successful?

Ever heard of the film “Birdbox”? If you’ve surfed the web a couple of times, you’ve probably seen news about the film more than once. It’s no surprise; the amount of hype Birdbox has received can be attributed to Netflix and their massive promotion of the film.


You may be interested, hooked, or even annoyed by Birdbox and its extensive presence all around the web. But one thing’s for sure—Netflix grabbed your attention in more ways than one.

Birdbox is a post-apocalyptic film starring Sandra Bullock which was released worldwide on Netflix on December 21, 2018. Its world premiere was at the AFI Fest on November 12, 2018, but it only grew in popularity once it was released on Netflix.


Netflix and their marketing strategy


Netflix was smart enough to utilise their capabilities internationally. Unlike film theatres, Netflix can release TV shows or films for subscribers to watch on their TV, phones, or tablets. All Netflix had to do was advertise a film or television show, and millions of subscribers could view these ads.


As of 2018, there are over 137.1 millions subscribers of Netflix from all around the world. If they’d promote a film on their streaming app or website, they’ll reach out to millions of subscribers.

Once the film released on Netflix, only time would tell how much attention it would gather from their viewers and critics. Birdbox quickly rose to being one of the stand-out Netflix original films of late 2018, with more than 45 million accounts watching Birdbox as of December 28, 2018.


The power of the internet and social media


When something becomes popular, expect the internet to popularise it even further. Such is the case for Birdbox after its release on Netflix. Social media users and web surfers helped promote the film further with the use of memes.


It can’t be stressed further how social media has helped Birdbox and its success in popularity. The memes generated by users was the perfect indirect marketing strategy. Netflix knew they were accessible to a wider audience. Combine this with the millions of users subscribed—and you have a recipe for success.


While Birdbox was already going strong with their basic ads on Netflix and social media, the memes and reception just kept coming in. This is a good thing. When more feedback is delivered, that means the advertisements are catching more attention. And when more ads keep pouring in, chances are people will start to have an interest in the film.


Memes and reviews help a film, one way or another. It’s the mystery surrounding the film that could hook the non-viewers into finally watching Birdbox. Questions like “why is this film so popular?” or “what’s up with the jokes about Birdbox?” begin to surface. This is when the curiosity of the non-viewers begin to take shape.


Those who haven’t watched the film will either begin to gain curiosity or start to be annoyed by phenomena surrounding Birdbox.


A Quiet Place controversy

It also helped that another similar horror film A Quiet Place released earlier the same year.


A Quiet Place and Birdbox both shared similar themes. Both films were about two human senses. The only difference was the former focused on sound, while the latter based their theme around sight. This sparked minor controversy among viewers, which in turn generated more attention.



The fact is Birdbox is based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Josh Malerman. So all theories regarding Birdbox as a rip-off to A Quiet Place are debunked immediately.


Why Birdbox succeeded

Critics and fans can argue on whether or not Birdbox was a brilliant film. But you can’t deny how powerful the marketing strategies were implemented. One thing Birdbox succeeded in was letting itself known among a larger pool of viewers.


Part of making a film succeed is pushing it into the spotlight. Netflix made their gamble by creating more hype about Birdbox, and it somewhat accomplished their goal. This is where the film succeeds: getting mainstream hype.


Marketing teams could learn a thing or two from Netflix and their promotional strategies. In this evolving film industry, it’s all about creating noise. Whether it’s good or bad noise, attention will follow. And if catching attention is the goal, then “noise” is the key to film promotion.


Causing hype can be risky because viewers might expect too much and be disappointed in return. If film makers are fairly confident enough in their films, why aren’t all marketing teams boosting their film’s popularity by creating hype? Because it’s always a risk. You can’t control the chaos of popularity once it’s out there, especially on the internet.