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The hit Netflix series Stranger Things is set in the 1980s and also has drawn many comparisons to movies released in that decade. One of the similarities has less to do with style and more to do with the effective use of product placements to create a character, but also create new demand for the product itself. Just as E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial led millions of consumers to start snacking on Reese’s Pieces, Stranger Things is getting fans to reconsider Eggo waffles.

Kellogg’s, which owns the Eggo brand, did not know that its products would appear in the series before it aired. But we can assume it doesn’t mind much, considering its response in the lead up to the second season. In addition to granting the series’ producers access to its 1980s-era commercials, which they used to promote the upcoming second season, Eggo has developed its own tie-in promotions and products in parallel. In the weeks before Halloween for example, it provided a list of costume ideas that people could make that integrated empty Eggo boxes. It also published a list of recipes featuring Eggo products, matched to the titles of the different episodes of the show.

Then at the premiere of the second season, Eggo posted a waffle truck outside the doors, giving attendees a sweet snack. It developed a toaster that can brand waffles with a play on a famous line from the series, which it will send out to influential social media users, along with sample packages of its breakfast foods, in an effort to seed some viral marketing.

There are hints that the character Eleven will return, still eating waffles, in the second season. Thus, Kellogg’s hopes that it can avoid entering the Upside Down and instead keep selling more of its frozen products.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How is Kellogg’s leveraging its product’s appearance in Stranger Things? What other promotions might it undertake, to make the most of this product placement in a popular show?

Source: Jessica Wohl, “How Eggo Is Playing Up its Moment in the ‘Stranger Things’ Spotlight,” Advertising Age, October 16, 2017