Netflix Plans to Put Advertisers Into Interactive ‘Squid Game’ for TV Upfront

Before marketers can start putting their commercials into Netflix programs for the year to come, they’ll get to step into those programs themselves.

Netflix plans to host an interactive “Netflix Experience” for advertising clients and buyers, all via an event to be held throughout Thursday, May 16, at New York’s Pier 59 Studios. Those who choose to participate will traverse through rooms and experiences built around Netflix series like “Stranger Things” or the comedy offerings of “Netflix is a Joke.”

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The company also plans to hold what it calls “an intimate first-look presentation” with its executives on Mary 15 in the afternoon. More details are expected in weeks to come.

The sessions, if they happen as scheduled, would represent Netflix’s first in-person events with Madison Avenue since it joined the industry’s “upfront” market last year. The streaming giant originally planned to hold a physical presentation on the Wednesday of a week of events last May, when the TV networks usually roll out their coming program schedules to the advertising community. But Netflix unexpectedly scrapped the event amid worries of protests tied to the recent Hollywood writers’ strike. Ultimately, it held a virtual presentation that would not have potential ad customers intersect with members of the writers’ union.

Netflix faces tough competition. Both Amazon and Disney have ramped up their ad-supported streaming offering in recent months. Both Disney+ and Hulu have ad-supported tiers and Amazon Prime Video recently made its service reliant on commercials unless subscribers pay an extra fee.

But Netflix has also started to gain traction with the ad community. The streamer recently signed Expedia to a global sponsorship deal that calls for ad buys in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K, France, Germany, Australia, Japan and Brazil. Commercials will be made appropriate for culture and language.

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