10 March 2016

Last Friday afternoon, my spouse sent me this screenshot of the notifications on his phone:

Just Eat, the online food-ordering service, had sent him a text message urging him to stay home and enjoy a discount on their services.

The message is vague, but to anyone with an (un)healthy addiction to Netflix, the code “FRANK15” is clearly referring to Frank Underwood, the protagonist from House of Cards so expertly played by Kevin Spacey. And as all “binge watchers” know, Netflix released the show’s fourth season that very same day.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my spouse is a privacy-conscious man who claims to be impervious to advertising and uses ad-blockers on all his devices… But this one really had him stunned.

Was the ad a bit creepy and invasive? Maybe.

Was it so very relevant and tempting enough that we thought of cancelling our dinner plans? Definitely.

Did my spouse change his notification settings after it? No – instead he praised Just Eat on social media for their clever ad. And he wasn’t alone:

Did Just Eat know of our Netflix use or that we were eager to watch more of Frank’s shenanigans? Was it just a gamble with partial information, or just a general assumption based on trends? Regardless, the ad felt very relevant, and the delivery was downright brilliant. It’s simply a case of taking advantage of being at the right place at the right time.

A week later, we’re still left wondering if Just Eat reached this perceived level of intimacy with cutting-edge advertising technologies alone, or if they capitalized on a good idea that they tested with key customers.

Either way, well played!