WRITTEN BY MediaMonks
Two years ago, Netflix launched one of its most popular international TV series to date: La Casa de las Flores. Teaming up with Manolo Caro, one of Mexico’s hottest directors, the series has not only become one of the country’s most talked-about shows because of its star-studded cast – including legendary soap opera actress Verónica Castro – but also because of its huge cultural and social relevance due to its open and positive portrayal of LGBT topics. The series’ third and final season made its debut last week on April 23rd.
The pandemic has significantly shifted the way audiences are spending their time, with a 57% increase in usage of streaming services and a 47% increase in time spent on social media, according to DataReportal. With more people at home using streaming services, brands can no longer rely on OOH and other flashy stunts to promote their content with relevance and fuel social chatter.
With our attention spread across many channels, and even more competing entertainment options, it’s important to understand how content performs differently on each with a fit-for-format approach. By tailoring social content to user behaviors that are unique to a given platform, brands can maximize effectiveness. Despite linear TV being a more traditional format, Netflix – in partnership with Circus Marketing, who merged with MediaMonks earlier this year – demonstrated how brands can extend the value of content to digital audiences with a fit-for-format strategy, just as it did by creating an ode to the classic TV special by celebrating La Casa de las Flores before its final season premiere.
La Casa de las Flores rapidly became a phenomenon thanks to its careful portrayal of social topics and willingness to tell stories that viewers may not commonly see in the media, depending on where they live. Given its popularity and propensity to get people talking, Netflix decided to give fans a space to reflect on the series and create a dialogue through a TV special that extended into social platforms as well. Circus Marketing worked on the ideation, scripting and creative direction for the special, and executed in partnership with Plataforma who led remote filming and small crew shoots to work within recommended safety guidelines.
Hosted by the series creator, the special aimed to generate buzz for the upcoming season by connecting fans, turning them into active participants by voting on the best and most shocking moments from previous seasons. The very same digital channels that viewers use every day became the stage for the special, with cast members chatting in video calls (both in and out of character), fans contributing through polls, WhatsApp audio and other social content. Taking this digital format over a traditional production approach enabled us to create the program within local safety guidelines. “What is really exciting is not just the project itself, but the timing and how we approached the strategy to reach these goals,” says Bruno Lambertini, Founder of Circus Marketing.
“We used animations, audio, polls, fan art, tweets and other types of social assets to connect with users on different platforms and in different ways,” says Israel Rojas, Content Lead at Circus Marketing, noting the importance of using an omnichannel strategy to reach such a wide and varied audience. The special itself took different forms based on where viewers saw it: without standard television ratings and regulations, for example, the YouTube version was uncensored, clocking at 40 minutes in its entirety. From there, we were able to develop dozens of smaller, snackable assets distributed across social channels.
“What is really exciting is not just the project itself, but the timing and how we approached the strategy to reach these goals.”
What makes La Casa de las Flores really special is that while it may fit in the classic format of a telenovela, it’s widely viewed as a millennial soap opera. Given this reaction, we knew the special couldn’t live on TV only – it would have to meet its audience in the very space where they meet and discuss the show itself: online.
To prepare fans for this event weeks in advance, Netflix shared hundreds of snippets for social media, each one adapted to different platforms. This content was shared on the series’ official social media channels on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but also through influencer activations. “Not only did we create a 40 minute long video format, but we also took that to different platforms and levels from a single production – with fit-for-format,” says Yaneth Velázquez, Global Head of Client at Circus.
“Social content is really important when creating fandom,” says Velázquez. “We’re creating clusters of people looking for a show – spaces where you can consume content and extend the experience of watching it.” During the first 72 hours after launching, the special program registered over 2 million views on online platforms.
"We created a 40 minute long video format and took that to different platforms and levels from a single production – with fit-for-format."
People go to various platforms for different reasons. What works on Instagram won’t work on TikTok, even for the same user, because the way one engages with content on each differs. By building upon the way that viewers discuss cultures and shows across different platforms, the La Casa de las Flores special successfully built impact in the leadup to the series’ third, final season. It serves as a great example of how a fit-for-format mindset is important to maintain relevance when casting such a wide net on digital audiences – especially when people are looking to connect with others and engage with them sharing their love for the show.
With the La Casa de las Flores TV special, Netflix delivered a piece of content that adjusted to the current times, pivoting OOH and other experience-led social campaigns into the means available today – cleverly rethinking the creative process to create buzz, connect with viewers and give these shows and social movements the interaction, engagement and recognition they deserve.