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7 Beyond-the-Obvious Films and Shows Every Marketer Should Watch on Netflix

By The Leadpages Team  |  Published Feb 15, 2019  |  Updated Oct 06, 2023
Leadpages Team
By The Leadpages Team
person watching netflix

Netflix is perfect for cozy Friday nights spent on the couch, a Valentine’s Day date with your “bae” and, of course, marathon binge-watching shows alone in your pajamas. As it turns out, it’s also not a bad source of inspiration for your small business marketing.

With over 137 million customers who watch a combined 1 billion+ hours of movies, documentaries, and television shows every month on Netflix, one thing’s for sure: we spend a ton of time on this oh-so-popular streaming site.

While we could apply these scenarios to everyday life, what we may not think of is how we could use Netflix in the professional sense. Believe it or not, your next Netflix binge session could actually be educating you on the latest and greatest marketing and business skills.

If you think you’ve tapped into every resource as a marketer, don’t worry—you haven’t. There are a number of shows on Netflix that are interesting and also packed with marketing insights! Read on to discover the list of the best Netflix marketing shows.

Ready to inspire your Netflix queue with a dose of marketing savvy? In this article, we’ll recommend our top favorite 8 beyond-the-obvious films and shows every marketer (and entrepreneur) should watch.

1 - Jiro Dreams of Sushi

jiro dreams of sushi

The Gist: This foreign documentary profiles sushi chef Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old master who owns an obscure, $300-a-plate restaurant. His restaurant is legendary among foodies worldwide… But, why?

Category: Documentary | Length: 1 hr. 22 min.

How It Will Make You a Better Small Business Marketer: How does a ten-seat sushi restaurant in the basement of Tokyo’s Ginza subway station that serves no appetizers or dessert earn three stars from the most prestigious restaurant guide in the world?

The chef and owner Jiro Ono creates an unforgettable customer experience. Why are his customers so convinced a quick, underground sushi meal is worth $300? Sure, taste is a big factor. But the experience is right up there with it.

In an article for CNN, customer Dan Shapiro recounted his experience upon arrival:

“I am escorted to one of 10 seats at this shrine to Japanese sushi, offered a warm towel to cleanse my hands and face, a cup of tea and even a small rubber pad so that my camera doesn’t make direct contact with the altar-like counter top.”

Chef Jiro then plates each of the 20 pieces of sushi by hand one at a time before setting each down in front of the customer. He takes time with each customer, and care in the delivery of his product, the sushi.

Long story short, customers leave the restaurant talking about much more than just the sushi—they talk about the experience. So, this begs the questions as marketers…

  • What kind of experience are you offering your customers?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Are you creating a personal experience for each of your customers?
  • Is your brand worth raving about?

These are the questions “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” will challenge you to answer.

jiro dreams of sushi quote

2 - The Founder

the founder

The Gist: “After a fateful encounter with the McDonald brothers, struggling salesman Ray Kroc becomes driven to change the way hamburgers are made and sold,” says Netflix. Kroc is a ruthless and money-hungry man who took McDonald’s from the McDonald brothers and turned it into a global corporate chain.

Category: Movie | Length: 1 hr. 55 min.

How It Will Make You a Better Small Business Marketer: This is the story of capitalism at it’s finest—and at its most frightening. Ray Kroc, a travelling salesman specialized in the restaurant industry, stumbles across McDonald’s: a family-owned and operated restaurant with a novel approach to speed and efficiency. Instantly, Kroc wants in—all in. As he partners with the founding brothers, their relationship strains as Kroc seeks full control of a fast-growing empire, while the two McDonald’s brothers watch as their restaurant, wealth, and legacy is wrenched away from them.

In the movie, where Kroc’s sense of morality is lacking, the narrative has an abundance of marketing genius and business know-how that fuels the franchies success. The proof? Krock is able to replicate, maintain, and scale the same brand experience across every McDonald’s enterprise.

While Kroc is certainly an antihero, marketers can take away the fact that with a consistent and prolific brand, exponential growth is possible. The key is maintaining a consistent look and feel and delivering the same expected customer experience each time.

the founder quote

3 - Mad Men

mad men

The Gist: This 92-episode period drama chronicles the lives of 1960s advertising executives in an age where anything can be marketed with the proper tagline.

Length: 30 min. | Category: Television Series

How It Will Make You a Better Small Business Marketer: “Mad Men” offers an immersive experience into the inner workings of agency life in the 1960s; including structure, client interactions, and the creative processeven if whiskey is included. In the intro alone, the show unveils the core of advertising, which is “making people happy.” In a day in age where consumerism equaled happiness for many, this series offers great tips on how to pair marketing strategies with maintaining or earning customer happiness.

So how do you put this to practice?

You need to show the customers not what our product is, but what it will do for them and how it will make their life better. All marketing messages should reflect a brand’s user benefit.

mad men quote

4 - Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things

Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things

The Gist: This documentary follows the lives of those who sold most of their possessions and live the lives of minimalists and ponders the answer to the question, “How might your life be better with less?” Two friends share one thing in common: the desire for less. They team up and petition nationwide to show Americans that less is really more, giving away most of their worldly possessions.

Length: 1 hr. 18 min. | Category: Documentary

How It Will Make You A Better Small Business Marketer: This documentary is all about people dedicated to rejecting the American mantra “the more, the better.”

As marketers, we can challenge the idea that quality trumps quantity. Think about it: in our personal lives, we know having less clutter around can clear our minds, so think about that principle’s application to marketing… Creating clear and uncluttered copywriting and design is the best way to resonate and reach your audiences.

Take it from a recent blog post we wrote on 2019 design predictions:

“More likely than not, your content is being consumed on the go—on trains, on buses, and in that split second your user is at a stoplight. Pair this with ever-shortening attention spans, and you’ll find that site speed is key to getting your message across quickly. Design will have to adapt to ensure that load times stay low. How do you go about this?

By keeping your design minimal (less is always more), and supplementing the clean layout with unique details — think either small bursts of hand-drawn type and patterns, brief animation, or quick dashes of bright color! Experimenting with new techniques will help your message pop, and let the personality of your brand shine through.”

5 - Something Ventured

something ventured

The Gist: This documentary deep dives into the world's most revolutionary brands, like Apple and Intel, and how they grew from basement startups to household names through venture capitalism.

Length: 1 hr. 25 min. | Category: Documentary

How It Will Make You A Better Small Business Marketer: This documentary follows big brands—and their founders—from conception to full scale, so you can grasp what it takes to grow a business not only operationally and fiscally, but also marketing-wise.

So, what can we take away as marketers in this documentary? The revolutionary individuals and companies featured share one common thread: risk aversion. We can learn a lot from this documentary because you’ll see that risk, in many instances, resulted in unprecedented reward.

While you may not be a company founder, entrepreneur, or venture capitalist, there is a hidden lesson that marketing campaigns should push boundaries. Surpassing boundaries can lead to customer attention, intrigue, and ultimately conversions.

Feeling inspired? Check out a few cutting-edge campaigns in 2018 from CMO.com.

6 - FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

The Gist: A reckless entrepreneur markets the Fyre Festival as a luxury music festival hosted on a private island. However, his team is ultimaty unprepared to deliver on the promises made in their wildly successful marketing campaign.

Length: 1h37m I Category: Documentary

How It Will Make You a Better Small Business Marketer:

This documentary acts as a cautionary tale to marketers and business professionals across the board: don’t sell something you can’t deliver. While the protagonist’s actions are a classic case of ‘what not to do,’ there are elements of marketing genius that can inspire your own small business marketing.

Take for instance the influencer marketing campaign that transformed an unknown festival into a buying frenzy. While outrageously expensive and ultimately unsuccessful, the campaign’s unique tactic to blanket social networks, spark curiosity, and inspire FOMO are certainly praise-worthy.

7 - 20 Feet from Stardom

20 feet from stardom

The Gist: This show highlights the world of modern music’s most talented backup singers and the stars they sing for.

Episode Length: 1 hr. 30 min. | Category: Documentary

How It Will Make You a Better Small Business Marketer:

Marketers share a common thread—creativity.

Enter the life of a backup singer. A delicate balance of controlled synchronicity and freewheeling creativity. It’s fascinating to watch the incredibly talented singers walk the line between remaining in the background and being stars.

And just like marketing, good background singing ties to perseverance and being the best at your given craft. “20 Feet From Stardom” will supply you with ample motivation to keep trying no matter your role you are as a marketer, while also giving you a blast of creativity in campaign planning this year.

Sometimes, it can be a struggle to know when to unleash that creativity and when to keep it in check.

  • “Should I try something different with this headline…or play it safe?”
  • “Should this video about our product be simple and straightforward…or tell an emotional story?”
  • “Should this Facebook ad be clever and funny…or clear and to-the-point?”

8 - Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

anthony bourdain parts unknown

The Gist: This series follows the late chef, author, and television personality, Anthony Bourdain, as he digs into the culture of often-untraveled destinations around the world.

Length: 42 min. | Category: Television Series

How It Will Make You a Better Small Business Marketer: As the title suggests, “Parts Unknown” will transport you places you’ve never experienced. While that may seem like an odd way to become a better marketer, this show stretches your creative mind and allows you to envelop a broader grasp of the world. This is especially helpful when it comes to global marketing. If your brand markets beyond the boundaries of the U.S., this series expands your view of monolithic humans and societies.

While watching someone else chase down life’s curiosities, travel the world, and meet people from different cultures is certainly no replacement for doing those things yourself, it can, at the very least, open your mind to new ideas and perspectives, right?

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What Did We Leave Out?

The big screen offers a magical medium for conveying a lot of information in a short period. The above-mentioned documentaries, movies, and shows are just some of the examples that can trigger all sorts of marketing insights and motivation that will be useful to you in your career as a marketer.

And, the question that’s indefinitely captured your mind: “What Netflix selections on have inspired your inner marketer?”

Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Leadpages Team
By The Leadpages Team
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