Cannes Lions


MSLGROUP, New York / NETFLIX / 2015

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Ever get mad at someone who spoiled a major TV plot line? You’re not alone. Always an issue, spoilers took on increased significance once Netflix started releasing all episodes of a series at once. People watching at different times meant passionate discussions often ‘spoiled’ others watching at a different pace. Spoilers became a disruptive truth about modern television viewing.

Netflix set out to address this sensitive issue head-on: de-stigmatize spoilers and in the process prove to consumers that great television was spoiler-proof.

Netflix tapped cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken to interview consumers and discovered a big insight: while viewers could claim to be upset about ‘being spoiled’, they actually regarded spoilers as acceptable. He even found distinct spoiler attitudes and motivations. In fact TV had gotten so good, consumers couldn't help themselves from talking about TV, even seeing spoilers as ‘teasers’ for great shows. Quantitative research bolstered the story.

Netflix had the hook. They launched a holistic campaign taking a provocative stance: it’s OK to spoil.

Netflix teased the topic at a sponsored panel at Austin Television Festival, sparking discussion among TV influencers. A multi-phased media strategy put the story on the map. And then we drove consumer discussion and engagement through a microsite where consumers could identify their own ‘spoiler personality’ and even ‘spoil themselves’.

Follow up metrics from website engagement reinforced story—millions of consumers actively watched spoilers of Netflix programming. Spoilers were seen as a positive. We diffused the issue, and in the process positioned Netflix as a TV leader.


ATX TELEVISION FESTIVAL--#SpoilerAlert panel with House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon, actress Uzo Aduba, Tim Goodman (Hollywood Reporter) and McCracken opened up a public debate about spoilers.

ONLINE HARRIS SURVEY proved a shift in attitude around spoilers.

ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH from the cultural anthropologist led to deep understanding about why spoilers had become OK and identification of distinct spoiler personalities.

NY TIMES EXCLUSIVE reframed the spoiler conversation, highlighting Netflix's leading role.

EARNED MEDIA CAMPAIGN made the spoiler shift serious news and pop culture trend, positioning Netflix as a bold innovator.

BRANDED CONTENT/SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO on spoiler personalities allowed people to identify themselves as a spoiler.

NETFLIX SPOILERS WEBSITE allowed people to explore spoiler culture, learn what type of spoiler they are (quiz) and post results to social media. The coup de grace of the site was the irresistible Spoil Yourself button where people could expose themselves to a random spoiler clip.



+178 unique stories including NY Times,, USA Today, Good Morning America, Ellen, Access Hollywood, Comedy Central, Huffington Post Live, Buzzfeed, Vulture, Daily Beast, Mashable.

+Users upvoted website to Reddit front page twice

+955,799,824 earned impressions

+We triggered a dramatic spike in people talking about spoilers in social media during the first 10 days of the campaign


+95% of coverage was positive

+90% of coverage included Netflix leadership messages

+80% of coverage positioned spoilers as mainstream/part of everyday life


+1MM website visitors in first 24 hours

+People averaged 6 minutes on the website

+People spoiled themselves 9 million times in first week, engaging with Netflix programming

+70,000 completed "which spoiler are you" quiz

+ We drove tens of thousands from the website to

The campaign established spoilers as an acceptable norm of modern culture, Netflix as a leader and significantly engaged people with Netflix content.

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