Best of 2018 TV/Film No. 9: Netflix teases 'Stranger Things 3' with '80s mall ad

Streaming service released an ad for the Starcourt Mall, the potential backdrop of the third season of the hit show

Published On
Jul 17, 2018

Editor's Pick

Through New Year’s on Creativity, we’ll be counting down the best work and ideas of the year in various categories: TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Out of Home/Design and Digital/Integrated.

At No. 9 in TV/Film, the marketing behind Netflix’s “Stranger Things” has delightfully extended the story beyond the typical series framework as fans wait for more episodes to drop. This 90-second film promoted the new Starcourt Mall coming to Hawkins, Indiana, where the show is based. It took viewers way, way back to when malls were still thriving shopping and social meccas (featuring retailers like Waldenbooks and Sam Goody). It aired online with no reference to the series itself--save for the fact that it was shared on the show’s social platforms and featured a cameo from one of the show’s stars, Joe Keery.  The film followed another excellent marketing push, a tie-up with Schwinn to sell a limited-edition Stranger Things” bikes that sold out within a week.

Original Story: 

The mall is the place to eat, shop and probably battle Demogorgons, according to a new teaser for the next season of "Stranger Things." A 90-second clip, released this week, acts as an advertisement for the "Starcourt Mall," the new shopping center coming to Hawkins, Indiana, next summer--ostensibly when the third season of the critically acclaimed Netflix series will air.

"Today, Hawkins is taking another step into the future with the brand new Starcourt Mall," a voiceover booms. Watch for character favorite Steve Harrington working at ice cream shop Scoops Ahoy.

The clip is a trip back in time for '80s enthusiasts, when brands like Claire's, Waldenbooks, Sam Goody and the Gap ruled the mall scene. Starcourt even has a Jazzercise. Few of the brands, and, indeed, malls, still remain as consumers choose e-commerce over brick-and-mortar, and landlords increasingly transition shopping centers to office space, fitness areas, grocery stores or hotels.

The "Stranger Things" tease comes at a trying time for Netflix. On Monday, the Los Gatos, California-based brand reported 5.2 million new subscribers for its second quarter, 1 million fewer than analysts had predicted. The slower pace of attracting subscribers is alarming analysts, who sent Netflix's stock down 6 percent by early afternoon Tuesday. A Bloomberg report cited lack of content for the slowdown. Indeed, if "Stranger Things" does release its third season in summer 2019, it will be nearly 20 months after the October, 2017 premiere of season 2. Perhaps there will be more '80s camp to tide over consumers in the interim. Orange Julius, anyone?