Can Brands Learn Netflix's 'Bandersnatch'?

Over the recent holiday season, millions of binge-viewers were sucked into Netflix’s groundbreaking new interactive episode of Black Mirror:Bandersnatch. Similar to its ancestor, the Bantam Books Choose Your Own Adventure novel series, the episode offers viewers the ability to determine the direction in which the story will unfold—allowing us as viewers to seemingly control the protagonist’s fate.

The first choice Bandersnatch presents is which cereal the protagonist should choose: Sugar Puffs or Frosted Flakes. While simple, this immediately opens the floodgates for product placement and brand marketing opportunities that Netflix is likely fully aware of (if not already taking advantage of). From there, the options become more and more crucial as lives of the main characters are placed in jeopardy. Each decision unravels a unique story that speaks to the choices of the viewer. A mentality that all brand storytellers should embrace.

This interactivity between the consumer and video content is a feature brands can explore in the advertising space as well. Through interactive video features like a decision tree or shoppable video, brands can generate more actionable data and insights than any standard video or advertising unit. Not only is the experience more engaging to the consumer, it also allows for a more seamless path to purchase through customization. For example, a video ad feature like the decision tree enables brands to ask the viewer 3-5 preliminary questions, suggest a relevant product based on their responses, and drive viewers directly to the product landing page. A process that is beneficial to both the brand and the consumer.

In fact, according to one study, interactive video content generates 2x more conversions than passive content. Not only that, 88% of marketers say interactive content differentiates them from their competitors, according to a report from Business2Community.

Before jumping into the interactive trend, brands should consider whether the experience is worthwhile for the consumer. While you may think you’re the cool kid on Madison Ave., the content must make the experience more exceptional—it needs to surprise and delight in a way that consumers couldn’t have experienced with traditional formats. A challenge most video advertisers are willing to take on.

-Frank Pasquine, Content Manager at Tremor Video DSP