Let’s just hope the Demogorgon isn’t throwing the ceremonial first pitch.
Stranger Things fans get ready! Netflix is launching the third season of the massively popular show on July 4th and to help celebrate they’ve released a new Snapchat AR filter that opens a door to the creepy world of the “Upside Down” right in the middle of Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field.
The AR experience is part of Wrigley Fields “Stranger Things Night” taking place during this evenings game between the Chicago Cubs and the visiting Atlanta Braves. Using the Snapchat app, those attending the game can snap the entrance to Wrigley Field to unlock a gateway into the “Upside Down,” after which the skies above the baseball stadium will transition into darkness and begin raining down a light hail of grey ash.
Through Snapchats AR filter, the lettering on Wrigley Fields iconic entrance will be replaced with the same typeface made famous by the Stranger Things series; as an added bonus, fans at the stadium will be able to submit their own names as part of the experience and display them on the marquee for all to witness.
Of course, the “Upside Down” is a dangerous place where evil lurks in all corners. As you continue to explore the dark augmented world, tentacles will slowly overtake Wrigley Field’s marquee before a giant faceless Demogorgon hellbent on taking control of the overworld viciously tears through the entrance.
Over the past two years, AR has become a hot commodity among brand marketers looking to take advantage of new engaging technologies. According to MarketandMarkets, AR is on track to becoming a $35+ billion industry by 2022. The technology brings an additional layer of brand/consumer interactivity that marketing agencies have fantasized about since the mass adoption of smartphones.
Lauren Fritts, vice president of marketing for the Chicago Cubs, said in a statement, “As the Cubs look to super-serve fans with unique content and experiences, tapping into an ingrained behavior such as taking a photo of the Marquee was a unique place for us to innovate,” adding, “The combination of an iconic Wrigley Field equity, Snapchat’s latest AR tech, and one of the hottest entertainment franchises, Stranger Things, makes this a really fun experience for our amazing fans.”
As if having a Demogorgon burst through Wrigley Field wasn’t enough, fans in attendance of the game will get a cool Stranger Things fanny pack – you know, because the ’80s are cool again.
Talking with longtime Chicago Cubs fan, Greer Hamilton, “Talking with longtime Chicago Cubs fan, Greer Hamilton, “I think right now the nostalgia for me with the Cubs is more of an Ebbetts Field Brooklyn Dodgers feel, whereas my nostalgia for Stranger Things is real. I lived that era. It brings me back to the Goonies and Stand By Me Days where I replicated their adventures.”
Netflix and its Stranger Things franchise are no strangers to AR marketing. AR filters were used to promote the shows second season on Snapchat and Facebook, and now it looks like Netflix is currently in development of a Stranger Things location-based AR game—much like the Walking Dead: Our World.
As of right now, there aren’t a lot of details about the game, other than it’s a mobile-based experience in development by Next Games (The Walking Dead: Our Worldslated for release sometime in 2020.
As for bringing the worlds of Stranger Things, baseball, and AR together, Hamilton said, “Watching a baseball game or watching a TV show are more or less passive activities. If bringing them all together can bring more stimulation or engagement, then that’s great. It’s even better if you can get up and move.”
What’s most interesting about this collaboration, however, is seeing Netflix move away from traditional marketing strategies in favor of more engaging and interactive forms of advertising. With Disney set to launch their own streaming service, Disney+, this coming November, Netflix is clearly on the lookout for any advantages they can take in anticipation of an all-out streaming war.
Those looking to activate the Stranger Things geofilter will have to attend tonight’s game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. No word yet on whether or not we can expect a non-location specific version in the future.
Which is a bummer, because this means only Chicagoans can check out the AR filter leaving the rest of us curious folks left in the dark.
Featured Image Credit: Chicago Cubs/Snapchat/ Netflix