No, Netflix is not spoiling its own shows. If you’ve seen pictures of billboards ruining the latest seasons Stranger Things or Love Is Blind, the ads aren’t real—though the spoilers are. That said, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea.
The fake campaign is the brain child of Seine Kongruangkit and Matithorn Prachuabmoh Chaimoungkalo, known as Brave, of the Miami Ad School Europe in Hamburg, Germany. They figured that the best way to stop coronavirus is to stay at home, and what better way to get people to do that than threaten to spoil their beloved Netflix series?
It all started when the pair—Kongruangkit is a current fifth quarter student at Miami Ad School Europe and Prachuabmoh Chaimoungkalo is a recent graduate—returned home to Thailand last week and noticed that the government wasn’t effectively communicating the dangers of the pandemic to the public.
“So we decided to help by doing what we know best, coming up with creative ideas,” Prachuabmoh Chaimoungkalo says.
Since the spec campaign was put online Thursday morning, local sites from all over the world and plenty of people on Twitter have mistaken it for a real campaign and assumed the billboards, which are all digital, actually exist.
“Don’t get me wrong, we knew it’s a beautiful idea from the start and that it should at least get a chance to be presented to an agency or best, the client, but our goal was to help create a piece of communication that could really make a change,” says Prachuabmoh Chaimoungkalo, who didn’t expect the ad to go viral the way it has.
Of course, the campaign would double as an ad for Netflix, reminding people not only to go home, but also to go home and finish Kingdom or Narcos. Though it doesn’t seem that Netflix, which Prachuabmoh Chaimoungkalo says rejected the ad, needs much help. Since January 31, the number of new unique streaming viewers is up 25%, according to data from to data from TV measurement company Alphonso. And while that does not include information from Netflix—the streamer is notoriously tight-lipped with it’s information—it’s indicative that Netflix, too, has experienced an uptick.
“You can imagine, all viewing is up. It’s up on Netflix, on CNN, on television in general. The system has been very robust and can help out a lot of people,” Chief Content Officer Ted Serandos said in a CNN interview on Sunday, adding that streaming helps “feel a little less isolated while we are being physically isolated.”
Since last Monday, when people began quarantining and governments suggested staying inside, Netflix’s stock has increased by 17%.
Netflix did not reply to request for comment for this story about how they would respond.