On Wednesday, streaming giant Netflix transformed over 200 coffee
shops across the country into the iconic Luke’s Diner, the fictional
eatery made famous in the 2000s-era hit Gilmore Girls. Baristas
donned aprons featuring the Luke’s Diner logo. Custom signage –
including cardboard cutouts of Luke himself, played by actor Scott
Patterson – completed the illusion.
Fans of the show lined up bright and early to nab a free cup of joe,
decorated with special Luke’s Diner sleeves. Hiding under the sleeve
were coffee-related quotes from the show’s fast-talking, java-loving
The effort was part of an elaborate marketing strategy to drum up interest for next month’s Netflix revival of the show, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Reuniting Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel and other cast members, the
four-part series debuts November 25. Netflix’s nationwide promotion also
had a social media element, with #LukesDiner trending on Twitter, and codes printed on the free custom coffee cups unlocking a special Snapchat filter for 24 hours.
This isn’t the first time Netflix has turned to promotional products
to promote its original content. Earlier this year, the company gave out T-shirts, buttons and other swag bearing the slogan “FU ‘16” to promote the fourth season of House of Cards, in which corrupt politician Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, schemes his way into the Oval Office
For almost a decade, the Tampa Bay Rays have called Tropicana Field
in St. Petersburg, FL, home. However, in recent years, attendance at the
stadium has steadily gone down. The stadium needs renovations, and,
though they show tremendous support for their home team, the majority of
Rays fans live more than 30 minutes away from Tropicana Field, making
it difficult for them to attend games regularly.
The Rays asked St. Petersburg’s city council to allow the Major
League Baseball team to search for a new location within the Tampa/St.
Petersburg region to entice fans to return to the games. However, St.
Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Chris Steinocher, president of St.
Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, wanted to persuade the Rays to stay
at Tropicana Field; so, in addition to offering renovation aid, the
summer-long “Baseball Forever” campaign was born.
Kriseman and Steinocher wanted to focus the campaign – which
incorporated more than 700 imprinted “Baseball Forever St. Pete”
T-shirts – on the St. Petersburg community, offering opportunities for
local businesses to grow.
Through word of mouth, city council members connected with a local
apparel decorator to design and imprint the baseball- and St.
Pete-themed tees. The designer of the shirt says he was thrilled to help
promote his hometown. “The mayor used this campaign to get the
community behind him and showcase the excellent market in St.
Petersburg,” he says.
The screen-printed “Baseball Forever” unisex short-sleeve T-shirts
were given out at Sports Bar and Fan Fest, where the mayor spoke about
the campaign and its benefits to the community. Fans also garnered the
tees before and during baseball games.
The shirts became so popular that St. Petersburg’s Chamber of
Commerce ordered more and started selling them at its St. Pete Store
& Visitor Center and best of all, it looks like the “Baseball
Forever” campaign has been working – the Rays have yet to leave the city
of St. Petersburg.