For Every Unfortunate Event, There’s An Advertising Solution

80 nationally representative participants read a digitised copy of The Metro while their eye movements were recorded, to see which ads gained the most attention.
This week’s winner was an ad from Netflix’s new series ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, based on the children’s novels by Lemony Snicket.

Netflix created an unusual, full page ad in the format of a letter directly addressing commuters reading The Metro. For anyone who has read the books, seen the film or the series, the letters wording is in keeping with Lemony Snickets dark humour and allows readers to relate to the ad by using a topical theme of the ‘winter morning commute’.
As the heat map above illustrates, the ad successfully grabbed readers attention, with high levels of standout, and held it there for an average of 18.5 seconds!
Safely beating the expected norm of 3.3 seconds.

Using lots of copy in ads can go one of two ways, however, this particular ad managed to keep readers engaged with  61% reading the letter till the end.
All paragraphs did well, particularly the bullet points in the middle of the letter, where 80% of the sample were engaged for an average of 4.8″
These bullet points use clever wordplay, one of the authors traits, to humour the readers and intrigue them to read on to where they find out that the ad is for a new Netflix series.

Is Lemony Snickets Secret Society too Secretive?

Although, this ad won readers attention, recall for the Netflix brand was weak.
Only 9% spontaneously remembered seeing a Netflix ad and only 16% remembered when prompted.
The letter cleverly spoke to its audience in the authors voice, however the brands voice seems to have been lost amongst this, with very low numbers of people remembering seeing an ad for Netflix.

There was no Netflix branding and it was only mentioned once in the final paragraph, which received the lowest standout and engagement levels of the four main paragraphs. However, the letter clearly created intrigue and illustrates the series’ secretive style.