In Stranger Things 3, bad boy-turned-hero Steve Harrington works at fictional ice cream parlor Scoops Ahoy. Now, the real ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins is bringing the shop to life.
Baskin-Robbins and its agency of record, Atlanta-based 22squared, has partnered with Netflix to open Scoops Ahoy, to give Stranger Things fans a physical place to interact with the show. Netflix first reached out to Baskin-Robbins over LinkedIn, and asked the chain to pitch ideas to them.
A total of five elements were developed for this campaign. First, the shop had to be built. On 2 July, a Baskin-Robbins store in Burbank, California and another in Toronto uncovered a facelift.
From the sign out front, to the bow booth inside, to the smallest details on the menus, every piece was made to look and feel like the fictional 1985 store, including uniforms for employees. The shops will remain open for two weeks as Scoop Ahoy.
A 15-second commercial was made to promote USS Butterscotch, a limited-time offer flavor being sold in Baskin-Robbins stores nationwide. The Baskin-Robbins R&D team took the flavor name from the show and created the flavor.
“22squared purposely made it like a local TV ad from the 1980s, complete with bad acting, bad camera moves, and 4:3 aspect ratio,” said Curt Mueller, senior vice-president, creative director at 22Squared.
“Part of making this world feel believable is making every communication feel like it’s from 1985. Oh, and look for a very special number at the end of the ad.”
The Scoops-Ahoy ice cream yacht was then built, and manned by Scoops Ahoy employees, who gave out free USS Butterscotch ice cream at select California locations. The campaign utilized social media to get the word out.
The fun continued when fans discovered Morse code hidden in select Baskin Robins items and commercials. The code translated to a phone number (1-888-273-9152) that, when called, prompts the caller to enter a password, which prompts the caller to play a mystery augmented reality game.
David Nagel, senior director of consumer engagement, Baskin-Robbins, said: “Netflix and the Duffer Brothers [co-creators] went to great pains to bring an 80s authenticity to the show and we’ve worked tirelessly over the last 12-plus months to extend that authenticity into our own work so super fans will feel like this is all a real-world extension of their favorite show.”
Matt O’Rourke, chief creative officer, 22squared, added: “Working on this campaign has been an awkward walk down memory lane. Growing up in the 80s was a strange time, and I speak for many of us at the agency when I say many of us relived some childhood memories through this process, which is essentially what watching Stranger Things evokes and why I think this work is so spot on.”
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