Dear White People: A video marketing fail or success?

If you’ve been hanging around on Twitter lately, you might have seen that Netflix released an advert for a new show called ‘Dear White People’ and there has been massive outrage.

Upon viewing the advert a bunch of people headed straight to Twitter to share their disgust at the ad, claiming it is racist, anti-white and promotes white genocide. EEEK! They cancelled their subscriptions and encouraged others to do the same in order to boycott Netflix.

If you haven’t seen the advert yet, here is what Netflix released:

Marketing fail

Firstly, to the people attempting to boycott Netflix, CALM DOWN!

If you dig a little deeper into this wonderful thing we have called ‘The Internet’ you’ll see that the show is based of a film by the same name and by the same writer, Justin Simien. The film is unquestionably not-racist and focuses much more on tensions at a prestigious Ivy League college. The film tackles themes such as stereotypes, homophobia, oppression and there are powerful debates from the point of view of both black and white people.

However, this advert… is terrible! It doesn’t show any of that content.

It doesn’t focus on anybody’s point of view, and only shows the one main character and a bunch of stereotypes. Ironically, a main theme of the show (seriously Netflix?!)

We can see why people would think that it was going to be a racist TV show… but do you really think Netflix is stupid enough commission a racist TV show?

Marketing success

Which got us thinking, was this accidental?

Did Netflix know that by releasing an advert only showing racial stereotypes for a show called ‘Dear White People’, they would cause such an outrage?

Whatever their aim was, it worked. Although Netflix may have lost a few customers, it won’t cause them damage overall. The show has received massive publicity and the advert has already received over 4.4 million views on YouTube.


While we would never encourage brands to produce something offensive in order to get a response, it seems to have worked for Netflix, and overall the brand will regain their reputation once ‘Dear White People’ has aired on 28 April.

The lesson to be learned here is: a 30 second teaser is just that, it’s a teaser. It should always link to a longer video or more content so people can get the information they need.

Another lesson is: don’t delete your Netflix account after watching 30 seconds of video.

We’d love to know what you think about the advert. Marketing Fail or Marketing Success? Tweet us @doubleshotvideo.