I recently experienced an incredibly moving form of marketing from an unlikely source. I didn’t even realize it was happening at first, but it had a profound effect on me.
A few weeks ago, I was perusing Netflix for a new series to watch. I didn’t want anything too deep or dark at the moment—just something interesting and entertaining. So when I saw a new series called Tales of the City pop up on my home page, I thought I’d check it out.
Under “Genre” it listed, among other things, “LGBTQ shows”. This initially made think I wasn’t their target audience, and that perhaps I should find something else. But it also said “TV shows based on books” and “TV dramas”, which I am into. I also liked the cast and the premise of the show, so I started watching. And I was immediately enamored.
It was full of interesting characters whose lives are intertwined by the place they live, but each who has their own story and set of circumstances that makes them unique—some who just happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was exactly their target audience. Not because of my sexual identity, but because I’m a human being.
Watching these stories unfold over the course of the series gave me a perspective into the lives of people living outside the conventional norms of our society. Because, let’s face it, while the world is getting more tolerant of alternate ways of living, we’re still a long way from the belief that every person is equal.
Of course, it was no coincidence that this show first appeared during Pride Month, but that didn’t hit me right away. As the month progressed, more LGBTQ-focused stories emerged in the news, more shows in the genre were released, and more posts appeared in social media with stories of love and acceptance for everyone, no matter how they identify. As I watched the final episode of the series, which happened to be the same day of the Minneapolis Pride parade, I was struck by how emotional I got.
I’ve long considered myself open-minded and accepting of all beings, but this serendipitous collision of events gave me a much deeper sense of compassion and understanding of those who dare to be themselves, even when the odds are stacked against them.
Thanks to Netflix for serving up the right messaging at the right time to the perfect audience, and for delivering a great product. For me, that’s the best kind of marketing.