Last Wednesday, 200 plus coffee shops across the country transformed into “Luke’s Diner,” offering up a free cup of joe to Gilmore Girls fans looking to get a real life taste of what life might have been like in the fictional town of Stars Hallow. The coffee shop takeovers were a promotion done by Netflix in celebration of Gilmore Girls’ 16th anniversary and their new upcoming series “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”—a four-part, 90-minute series.
If you’re a female in your 20s or 30s, you’re probably well acquainted with the series’ stars—Lorelai and Rory. For those of you not in this demographic—here’s what you need to know. Aired in 2000, Gilmore Girls was a TV series that developed what some might call a cult following. The show’s mother daughter duo frequent “Luke’s Diner” for a cup of coffee, heart-to-hearts and life lessons. Last week’s one-day Gilmore Girls promotion not only took over coffee shops, but the world of social media.
So why was this pop-up promotion so successful and shareable?
It’s all about the experience. Netflix covered the tab for the first 250 12-oz cups of coffee and provided participating shops with outdoor signage, employee apparel, cardboard cutouts of characters, replica indoor décor (i.e., the infamous no cell phone sign) and Luke’s branded paper cups with quotes and coffee sleeves. The attention to detail made for an Instagrammer’s paradise.
Understanding the Audience
Netflix understood their target audience. The 20–30-year-old female demographic is very active on social, guilty of binge watching old TV series and already regulars at small coffee shops across the country. This was the perfect storm.
Netflix was strategic in choosing which coffee shops to partner with. They were able to take the shop local movement which is popular among this demographic and join forces. These were not Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts—these were boutique shops which made the promotion personable and charming. Most boutique shops also have a strong presence on social and promoted the takeover on their own social channels. Rochester’s Ugly Duck Coffee posted about Luke’s five times.
Promote Before the Event
There was pre-promotional hype around the takeover. Coffee shops and even local news sources such as the Rochester D&C, posted about the promotion leading up to October 5, giving people the chance to find out if their city was on the list of locations chosen by Netflix.
Influencers Got Involved
Key players got involved. In California, Scott Patterson, the actor who played Luke, was actually behind the counter. Another woman had a twitter reply from Lauren Graham, aka Lorelai. Big time bloggers and Instagramers across the nation were posting about their trips to Luke’s (Exhibit A: Sarah Vickers—the Instagram-famous New Englander, real-life like Gilmore Girl.) As you can imagine, this amplified engagement and reach.
Snapchat Geo Filters
And of course there was a special snap chat filter for the occasion. Missed the memo? Well your BFF Jill’s snap story got you up to speed … hopefully in time for you to join in.
For Gilmore Girls fans out there, last Wednesday was a dream come true, finding themselves surrounded by other fans with a cup of hot joe and side of nostalgia. For marketers—it was a prime example of how to effectively engage the right target audience.