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The Squid Game Effect: Brands that enjoyed the unintentional marketing

Squid Game has become one of the most talked about shows of this year. It has already been watched by millions around the world and is on its way to become Netflix’s most popular original series of all time.


The TV series is based on the events of poor people in debt participating in children's themed games with death as the consequence if they lose. Ironically, Squid Game had virtually no press or marketing in the U.S. before its debut compared to all the other big Netflix shows, but it still managed to become the topic of the year.



Now coming to the brands that are enjoying the benefits without any investment, the first of the lot and the most remarkable one is Vans. The 456 participants in the show compete while wearing green tracksuits with white shoes. This look has since then become iconic.


Although Vans didn’t pay a penny for product placement, they’re presently enjoying a 7800% increase in sales! There is a 97% increase in search for ‘white slip-on’ after the release of the show.



The guards in the show wear red boiler suits and that outfit has also seen a 62% increase in searches as viewers are eager to buy merchandise to match the show’s characters.



Remember the second round of the series? The nail-biting scene resulted in sales for Dalgona witnessing a massive increase. The Korean candy featured on the show are now in demand and one vendor reported a 250% increase in sales.



Netflix is also making use of this merchandise craze and has announced a partnership with Walmart to open a section on their website dedicated to selling merchandise from Netflix’s hit shows.


Squid Game also sparked Korean media stock surge as Bloomberg reported that Bucket Studio stocks surged 70% in 3 days after a week of the TV show’s launch. Bucket Studio Co. holds a stake in the agency representing Squid Game’s lead actor Lee Jung-Jae.


And last but not the least, the TV series is also helping Brand Korea. Duolingo, the language app, saw a 76% increase in new users looking to learn Korean in Great Britain and a 40% increase in new Korean language learners in the U.S.


Well, if it wasn’t for the high viewing numbers, Netflix will undoubtedly push for a season two because of the ongoing merchandising opportunities!


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