Netflix Executes a Takeover of 200 Coffee Shops
When Netflix announced the “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” reboot nearly 10 years after the original “Gilmore Girls” series had concluded, super fans were chomping at the bit. To amplify that energy for the premiere, Netflix decided to recreate “Luke’s Diner,” the fictional hangout in the series, and then scale the pop-up strategy nationwide. The result: a takeover of more than 200 mom and pop coffee shops across the country and Canada, transformed for one day into mini versions of “Luke’s.” As a result, “Gilmore Girls” and Luke’s Coffee Day hashtags trended across social media, including taking the No. 3 spot on Twitter that day.
To get it done, Netflix recruited shops based on location and neighborhood that catered to the 20- to 30-year-old demographic the network was going after. The shops were supplied a transformation kit that included branded signage, coffee cups, quotes from the show, coffee sleeves and branded “Luke’s” hats (to wear backwards just as the character Luke Danes did on the show). A live-size standee of the character Luke made for a photo op. The actor, Scott Patterson, got in on the action by visiting the Beverly Hills pop-up.
There were a couple clever promotions tied to the pop-ups. The coffee cups featured quotes from the show and behind the sleeve a Snapchat code earned fans a special “Gilmore Girls”-themed filter for 24 hours. For a lucky few, it revealed a special code for a three-month complimentary subscription to Netflix. In addition, Snapchat created a “Gilmore Girls” story on users’ homepages in various markets that allowed fans to follow the Luke’s Coffee Day buzz in real-time.
It’s worth noting, too, that several coffee shops went above and beyond to capitalize on the event, augmenting the experience with various touchpoints and programming, like securing local musicians to play during the event as the Town Troubadour (featured in “Gilmore Girls”), setting up photo booths that allowed fans to wear the Luke’s hat and apron, running specials on customized “Luke’s” menu items, creating custom signage and menus, offering “Luke’s” baked goods—plus tip jars for Team Jess and Team Dean (love interests of the teenage character Rory in the series).
The promotion went unannounced until the morning of the takeover, meaning the fans themselves opened the floodgates, amplifying the program. In a sense, Netflix created mass meetups of like-minded fans. Along with national media attention, the hashtags #HappyBirthdayGilmore, #Lukes and #GilmoreGirls generated more than 335,000 impressions on Instagram and Twitter—in one day. Coffee-loving fans drank up 51,750 free cups of coffee, to boot. Lorelai would be proud.