The Deconstructed Brief

"Lines of Coke"

"Lines of Coke"

Brand: Netflix

AgencyDoner Los Angeles


More than 500 scripted television shows were expected to air this year across broadcast, cable and streaming services, according to Variety. How do you get your show to stand out in the era of “peak TV”?

One Thought:

The blow must go on.



To highlight the new season of “Narcos,” which tells the story of the Cali Cartel drug lords, Netflix launched a guerilla marketing campaign of stickers that look like rolled-up dollar bills next to a line of cocaine. The stickers were placed in the bathrooms and clubs in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Miami, where cocaine was big in the 1990s. The stickers have been so popular that they have already gone missing from some locations. The agency also made coasters that look like mirrors.

What they told Business Insider:

“We wanted to not only be disruptive and place the idea where people would least expect it, but it was just as important for us to continue the story that Netflix is telling,” said Jason Gaboriau, Doner Los Angeles chief creative officer. “Netflix is first and foremost about storytelling. This is just a continuation of the story.”


Lessons to be learned:

  • Focus on impact, not reach — This edgy stunt was designed to grab people’s attention and make a splash. That can be more effective than a frequency play, especially if you need to cut through clutter.
  • Build on past success — The copy of the sticker reads: “Here in the ‘90s? There’s an 80% chance this powder came from the Cali Cartel.” This builds off previous seasons’ campaigns that used statistics to show the massive scale of the Cali Cartel. (It earned more than any Fortune 500 company in 1995.)
  • Emphasize the storytelling — The coke stickers brings the story Netflix is telling back into the real world. It makes the storytelling feel more authentic by giving it real-life context.