It’s safe to assume a majority of internet users have an adblocker installed. Even I do. How do you target that audience? Netflix thought outside the box with this clever ad promoting their original show, Black Mirror.

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Netflix describes Black Mirror as, “A sci-fi anthology series that explores a twisted, high-tech near-future where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.” And that’s why this ad works.

First, the ad fits the vehicle, (TNW). TNW is tech blog that has been around since 2006 and provides content on both technology news and insights. Both the blog and the new Netflix series are related to tech and the future. Would this unique style of banner ads work if it was promoting Netflix’s, Bojack Horseman? If it was on ESPN’s website? Probably not to the extent of Black Mirror and TNW.

Second, the ad itself is well made. It’s simple, you know who made it, and it reels you in. The copy is a bit long in my opinion, but still very effective. I immediately want to know what Black Mirror is. How neat would it be if it was an animated ad and they typed that message?

Third and finally, Black Mirror’s audience are the people who have adblockers. It sums up my previous two points. A good ad with the correct target market is destined for success.

You’re probably wondering how it all works. In a post on Digiday, Rey Caacbay, Director of Partnerships for TNW, explained the process, “Netflix accurately detected the ad blockers: The majority of the ad blockers set the JavaScript variable “window.noBlocker.” Once the publisher detects that code, the background will change accordingly to display the Netflix banner.” As for the timing of all of this, the Digiday post indicates “This happens in milliseconds so the user doesn’t actually see the background change,” according to Caacbay.

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This ad has gone viral. Major publications are writing about it, and people are sharing their thoughts on social media as well. Here’s an example of someone’s reaction when they visited The Next Web:


This ad is a clever way to work around ad blockers. But the true test is if it’s producing its desired goal of motivating ad blockers to watch Black Mirror. Would you click the ad to find out more information or watch Black Mirror? Clicking the ad takes you to directly to Netflix, as it should.

Now go binge watch Black Mirror on Netflix and tell me what you think.

By: Alex Siminoff @alexsiminoff