Cannes Lions

Narcos: The Censor's Cut

WUNDERMAN THOMPSON BANGKOK / NETFLIX / 2019

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Narcos is a flagship series of Netflix that has been aired for 2 seasons. It was a big hit in the U.S. and many other regions around the world. But the problem was no one in Thailand cared about the show because it’s irrelevant to them. And now, with the new storyline Narcos Mexico, Netflix wished to launch it with a bang. So, in order to promote the launch of Narcos Mexico, a series filled with sex, drugs, and violence, and get people hooked, we are asked to come up with a big, bold, and crazy idea.

Idea

Netflix wanted to promote Narcos Mexico series to Thai audience with a big, bold, crazy idea and get them hooked. But to promote it in a country that censors everything - even cartoon characters’ swimsuit - was not easy. In Thailand, everything deemed “inappropriate” cannot be overtly revealed, even with a rating system. That’s why Thais hate censorship. And that’s also why it was so perfect for our idea.

Sex, Drugs, Violence? Let the Censorship promote it for us.

We submitted the ads and, as expected, they told us to cut everything they considered inappropriate content. We did as they said. Literally. And then launched the cut version out there, triggering people's curiosity and capturing the nation's attention like never before.

Strategy

Thai people are one-of-a-kind. Besides having our own language, food, culture, we also have a unique mentality: we just love to hate. Every day thousands of complaints about the government, transit system, and even weather flood the internet. So, to attract the mass audience and turn the distant Netflix into something people love, we needed to find something that Thai people all know and hate. And we found just that. The much-annoyed Thai censorship became our key to people’s hearts.

Execution

We know that the more we hide, the more people will want to see. That’s why we used as many media we could get to show as least as possible. A week prior to the premier of Narcos Mexico on 16th November 2018, we bombarded the city with our cut advertisement. We launched our campaign first above the line, airing “cut” trailer on TV nationwide, followed by digital screens in Bangkok. Unsurprisingly, some exhibitors still found it inappropriate. So, we revised by cutting everything and launched our cut billboards, pole wraps with only warning texts in Bangkok’s prime areas. Then, as people began to capture our ads and talking about them online, we responded with online posts apologizing for not being able to advertise our content explicitly.

Outcome

Following the launch, our campaign made headlines in many news media including TV channels.

It created an online buzz which led to a social movement where the internet came together to help retouch our ads with more ‘appropriate’ props in an effort to get it past censorship. This made “Narcos The Censor’s Cut” become the most successful campaigns ever for Netflix Thailand, generating over 93 million impressions with 34 million people reached. Narcos Mexico reached the popular on Netflix section in Thailand. In the end,“Narcos The Censor’s Cut” made Narcos Mexico relevant to Thai audiences in a way that no other campaign ever could.

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