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Communication strategy: the brilliant example of La Casa de Papel

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How to analyze a communication strategy? In this article, we propose an example of communication strategy analysis from A to Z, that of Netflix for its flagship series “Casa del Papel.” You will find the analysis of the digital communication strategy, the contents, and the different influence marketing techniques used.

Summary


Introduction

It’s no secret that La Casa De Papel is one of the most popular TV series in the world. With its 34 million views in August 2019, it is one of the titles with the highest ratings on Netflix. The Spanish production owes much of its success to its communication strategy. Omnipresent on digital channels, its teams have carried out high-impact communication campaigns, particularly thanks to well-known influencers. Playing on the heartstrings and knowing how to animate digital communities is the secret to La Casa De Papel’s success!


A communication strategy based on the density of online content

Social networks as the main communication channel

La Casa de Papel (LCDP) has chosen to position itself on several digital communication channels as part of its communication strategy. For example, we can mention the presence of advertising banners promoting the series on some websites related to pop culture. There are also pre-roll ads on YouTube presenting the most explosive moments of the series to attract the viewer to discover more on Netflix. However, by far the most used digital communication channel remains social networks. Instagram is the leader since this network represents nearly 70% of the share occupied by all social networks.

A content adaptation according to the geographical area

The content adaptation also marks the communication strategy of the series. It is personalized according to cultural and historical references. Each Netflix account has a set of community managers in charge of promoting movies and series following the local culture. Netflix does not just translate the publications of the US Netflix account.

The content is exclusive and differs according to the geographical area. For example, on the YouTube channel “Netflix France,” there is a video where Berlin, one of the series’ characters, is asked to answer a series of questions. These are related to French culture and cover the culinary aspect (macaroons, croissants…) and textile (marinière). This video is only available for viewing on the YouTube channel Netflix France. We also notice that the date when the videos are published differs according to the Netflix YouTube channels of the different countries.

Influence marketing

La Casa de Papel has also developed its communication strategy through influencer marketing. For its promotion, the series relied on its actors and celebrities invited in promotional clips. First of all, the main actors of the series strongly relay its contents on their networks. These influencers allow Netflix to promote the series strongly and relay their digital content for better visibility and engagement.

Netflix has also chosen to promote its actors and characters strongly. We can find it through interviews, publications, takeovers, or specific digital banners for each character. The series has also collaborated with very influential celebrities. In the artistic field, La Casa de Papel has called upon the singer Ed Sheeran or the French singer Jul. The series has also worked with famous footballers such as Neymar. Indeed, the player made an appearance in episodes 6 and 8 of season 3. In addition, Neymar promoted the series by publishing two posts on Instagram referring to LCDP. In the aftermath, Kylian Mbappé even published two posts with Neymar, both with the Dalí mask.

The Bella Ciao phenomenon

When you think of the symbolic music of La Casa de Papel, the popular Italian song Bella Ciao is the first that comes to mind. Netflix appropriated the music so much that it quickly became associated with the series and became “THE music of La Casa De Papel Indeed, through its message of resistance and its relation to the series’ atmosphere, this song has quickly become a global phenomenon.”


Characters and values enhance the communication strategy

One of the main strategic axes in the communication strategy of La Casa De Papel comes from the will to create emotion among the followers. This emotion will allow a better engagement of the fans, who will be able to identify themselves. These emotions will then be translated into values that fans will appropriate.

Unity and brotherhood

The main values in the communication of La Casa De Papel accounts are unity and fraternity, which can be found in photos and texts.

Sympathy and affection

Another emotion that is highlighted is sympathy and affection for the characters. The characters will have very different values and personalities, allowing fans to identify even better with a character in the series.

Revolt

Finally, one of the last emotions conveyed by the communication strategy of La Casa De Papel is the feeling of revolt personified by the anti-hero side of the characters. The image and the values of the anti-capitalist revolt of the series are much appreciated by a part of the fans of the series.


Communicate effectively to animate online communities

Turning a digital craze into a physical event

The Spanish production knows how to get the best of the physical and digital worlds. Indeed, its social networks regularly relay information about physical events stamped LCDP. This way, the digital communities’ enthusiasm for the series’ universe materializes, while the official accounts enrich their content creation. This is an example of a multi-channel communication strategy and a good capitalization on its success.

La Casa De Papel | The Experience is a good example of the strategic choices, in terms of communication, of the Netflix production. It is an escape game that puts fans of the series in the conditions of a robbery. It is also another way to reinforce consumers’ emotional attachment to the audiovisual creation. This game has been set up in several major cities worldwide, further emphasizing the global virality of the series.

Rewarding fan loyalty to drive consumption

Beyond being a simple competition, this game is, above all, a new showcase for the show. In 2021, Netflix France organized a contest to designate “The Biggest Fan” of La Casa De Papel. Six videos were published on the French YouTube channel Netflix to follow the adventures of the six participants.

This is an excellent strategic choice. It allows for three things:

  • Glorify personal identification and attachment to the series while putting its fanbase on the map. The repercussions are noticeable on digital channels: every user wants their piece of the pie and the opportunity to shine. Concretely, this manifests itself in republications of official posts, hashtags’ virality, and fan communities’ rise. On the other hand, these phenomena are opportunities for Netflix to exploit.
  • Also, it is a great chance to detect lead users and opinion leaders, which are the most influential fans of digital platforms.
  • Netflix has understood this. We define part of our identity based on our possessions and consumption habits. This kind of content pushes its consumers to replicate the same behavior. As a result, La Casa De Papel fans are making more noise than others on social media!
  • Picking user-generated content (or user-generated content, UGC) to feed the feed of LCDP accounts. Consumers then become “providers” of the series; they feel involved in the life of the Netflix production.

 

 

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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