You might have heard that Gilmore Girls is returning — kind of — in November with a series of 4 episodic movies on Netflix. Big news to those of us who were fans of the Stars Hollow duo in the late 00s. Today, the marketing team at Netflix devised a fun way to experience the town’s charms and quirks in hundreds of pop-up “Luke’s Diners” across the country. Free coffee and backwards baseball caps were promised.
Only one was located in Denver proper, so we set out to see what this whole thing might be, hopefully get some complimentary java and maybe a picture or two. Two hours later, we did have some cute pics, but the free coffee ran out at 10:30 and so did the GG coffee cup holders.
Fortunately, the Denver location was Purple Door Coffee, which is a great non-profit that has great coffee, and also helps run job training aimed at homeless who want to leave that life behind. So I’m far from mad that I spent $4 on a latte there.
Back to the Gilmore Girls promo. Aside from clearly underestimating the sheer amount of interested parties (mostly women) in the show, who would gladly take off from work to stand in a coffee line, the entire thing was pretty fun.
The shop had a Luke’s Diner sign out front, the order taker dude was dressed just like Luke (too smiley to be totally authentic, but I appreciated the friendliness) and our cups came with a Lorelai quote. (The title of this post makes sense if you watch this, by the way). We may or may not have been on the news, too. Hi Mom!
Experiential marketing with social tie-ins still feels more like an “experiment” than an “experience,” but I think brands (even those with ALL the cash like Netflix) are afraid that no one will show up. Their worst-case scenario is hosting a party and no one comes. But my advice to every company or brand is this: trust your fans, give them the tools to share and post and have fun, and they’ll show up for you. Even if there wasn’t free coffee.