80's Nostalgic Branding Surges With Season 2
Hot off their global success, the sci-fi drama phenomenon Stranger Things is back and spared no expense when it came to integrating our favorite brands within the quaint town of Hawkins, Indiana. Season 2 promised us more of the Upside Down, more Demogorgon, more Will, and yes, more Eggos -- for which the show provided with flying colors. However, those were not the only appearances that saw an increase this season.
More than two dozen brands appear in Stranger Things Season 2, a stark contrast between that of Season 1 which only featured a small handful of noticeable placements. Of all the brands that joined in on the sci-fi throwback there were ten who stood out amongst them. After a quick nine hour binge-watching session, Hollywood Branded brings you the top ten list of brands in Stranger Things Season 2 that'll bring back all the 80's nostalgia (with as few spoilers as possible)...
Keeping with the 80's vibes our band of lovable nerds -- Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and new character Max (Sadie Sink) -- frequent the arcade (a whole lot of times.) However one game in particular stands out amongst the rest: Atari's Dig Dug. The game, which becomes their favorite to play, also claims the title of Stranger Things 2’s fifth episode. Of course, other famous games are scattered about the venue, including Dragon's Lair, Pac-Man, and Galaga.
Was it really a surprise that the favorite food of Eleven (played by Emmy nominee Millie Bobby Brown) would again make a reappearance? In short, no. Eggo claims verbal call-outs, visual shots, and is cooked to perfection more times than once in the second season. Another golden placement, you could say. We wrote about Eggo and Stranger Things in our blog Eggo In Stranger Things: The Magic Of Product Placement
Colonel Saunders would be proud of the huge placement the fried chicken fast-food chain received in the first episode, for a good ol' family style sit down dinner. A conversation around the decision to have KFC for the meal prompts fan-favorite Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) to drop the infamous slogan, “This is finger lickin’ good!” And that is finger lickin' good product placement!
The Halloween centric season let 3 Musketeers take full advantage over the perfect opportunity to be another frequented brand in the season. One of the earlier appearances became the central topic for the boys during Trick-Or-Treating. While the others in the group may not have thought much of the candy, Dustin proclaims his love for the brand, and can be seen feeding a new pet with the chocolate-nougat treat throughout the season.
Given the timeline of pop-culture events that coincide within the year the second season is set in, the 1984 supernatural comedy hit is again taken full advantage of. Our band of heroes don the grey jumpsuits to form their own Ghostbusters for Halloween, with logos, imagery, and verbal references peppered in several episodes. Additionally, the movie’s iconic theme song also makes an appearance to complete the throwback.
The season also saw an increase in camera brands including Kodak, Instamatic, and Pentax, but the favorite among these proved to be Polaroid. The classic camera, which also has made a recent comeback with the millennial generation, was the highlight in capturing the pre-Trick-Or-Treat excitement for the boys turned Ghostbusters.
JVC is no stranger to the show and again returned for several appearances throughout the second season. Several other electronics brands also got some screen time including Panasonic and RCA. We've written a blog about the benefits of brands doing retro product placement - check it out: How Brands Use Retro Product Placement To Stand Out or listen to the podcast (and see the infographic) in our blog post Why Retro Product Placement In Movies Works
What pairs best with Eggo waffles? Mrs. Butterworth syrup of course (sorry, Aunt Jemima!). The liquid gold beautifully cascaded over several characters preferred breakfasts during the season.
Fan-favorite Bob "The Brain" played by Sean Astin put his tech knowledge to use working at the electronic shop, and is shown a handful of times tinkering away at the front counter. This reference may be over the head of the younger fans but those of us who lived through the early tech era will always remember. Rest in peace... RadioShack. Bob's fine, just fine.
While telepathically flipping through channels Eleven stops to watch an Oreo ad, showing all the cream filled cookie and milk goodness. Of course the now infamous slogan, “They’re perfect for dunking!” rings out as the cookie is dipped into a tall glass of milk. Ah, memories. If that doesn't transport you right back to childhood nothing else really will.
More Product Placements? Not As Strange As You May Think!
Before you ask, no, you're not in the Upside Down -- there really were more noticeable brands featured this season, and the series success is the major factor. According to a recent study by Nielsen, which has begun to include Netflix viewership and other SVOD series, within the first three days of Season 2's release Episode 1 raked in a whopping 15.8 million viewers. Nielsen went on to confirm that in total the season averaged 8.8 million viewers per episode. And with a third season confirmed by Netflix as of Friday, December 1st, fans can expect even more of the 80's throwback and also more branding.
That means Stranger Things is doing as well -- or even better -- than most of the TV boadcast network shows.
As we've seen with other popular TV series as well as movies, the more successful the media becomes the more brands want in on the action. Simply put, increased hype equals increased eyeballs that will see a brand during binge marathons (at least as far as Stranger Things is concerned). In fact, in our previous blog Why Hasn't Your Brand Partnered With Netflix Content Yet we found placement in Netflix and other SVOD productions has steadily proved advantageous to brands over the course of the past few years, and will continue to be a huge benefactor!