Confirmed: Netflix Are Not Total Wastoids

The year was 2011. The world was in emotional recovery following the royal wedding, Jennifer Lopez was apparently still a thing, and, somewhere in England, a small child was writing a letter to Sainsbury’s, informing them that tiger bread should instead be named for giraffes. What followed was an online media frenzy, as the company’s response went viral, showing that really good customer service is (one of) the key(s) to word of mouth marketing – Sainsbury’s went on to update the name of their bread, in accordance wth the innovative three year old’s wishes. I can confirm it is no more or less delicious since becoming a different animal.

Although perhaps not the first case of quirky service bolstering a company’s reputation, this one stands out for a couple of reasons. 1) toddlers talking nonsense are adorable, and 2) Sainsbos turned off the corporate speak long enough to put a little humanity into their communications, which is still a rarity in the world of business. Until this week, I was yet to see another CS letter that captured the heart quite as well as this classic case.

… Enter Netflix, stage right.

To set the scene, we have to talk a little about Stranger Things. The Netflix breakout phenomenon of 2016, Stranger Things is a show about a group of kids in the 80’s, being stalked by a monster called ‘the demogorgon’ who lives ‘in the upside down.’ A Netflix Original, Stranger Things has everything an 80’s nerd could dream of – there are huge glasses, bad hair, a cop with a terrible attitude, a top secret research facility experimenting on kids and, to top it all off, Winona Ryder at her very best acting wise, and possibly her worst in terms of flattering clothing. An instant favourite amongst the masses, the show has inspired many-a merch opportunity and, for a bar in the US, a pop up – said pop up being the reason we are here. Although true to the universe created by Stranger Things insiders, the temporary fixture was both unauthorised and in breach of trademark, forcing the hand of the legal team at Netflix HQ, who quickly issued a cease and desist to the enthusiastic fanboys at Emporium, Chicago. Rather than a bitchy message ala Tinder (who threatened legal action against a blog dedicated to hilarious Tinder dates, way back when they were still a novelty) however, Netflix wrote a letter that reads a little like fan fiction, setting out entirely reasonable terms, and the internet (/the team at Fox Socks – aka me and the dogs) absolutely loved it.

The note:

 

Danny and Doug,

My walkie talkie is busted so I had to write this note instead. I heard you launched a Stranger Things pop-up bar at your Logan Square location. Look, I don’t want you to think I’m a total wastoid, and I love how much you guys love the show. (Just wait until you see Season 2!) But unless I’m living in the Upside Down, I don’t think we did a deal with you for this pop-up. You’re obviously creative types, so I’m sure you can appreciate that it’s important to us to have a say in how our fans encounter the worlds we build.

We’re not going to go full Dr. Brenner on you, but we ask that you please (1) not extend the pop-up beyond its 6 week run ending in September, and (2) reach out to us for permission if you plan to do something like this again. Let me know as soon as possible that you agree to these requests.

We love our fans more than anything, but you should know the Demogorgon is not always as forgiving. So please don’t make us call your mom.

Thanks,

 

Personally, I’m not a lover of Stranger Things (I also didn’t take a shine to Pennywise the dancing clown – the vibe of ‘IT’ is very similar to this show – who, it has to be said, needs lessons in both dancing and in basic manners), but this letter? This I like. A lot.

In short: Bravo Netflix, you did good. And right in time for the season 2 release next month, too. You sneaks.