Why “You” has Brilliant Branding


The Netflix sensation “You” has achieved a record-breaking 40 million views. TV Guide proclaimed the series one of the top 5 shows of 2018, and the season two resurgence this past December has only grown the series’ viewership. The show has been compared to similar narratives like ABC’s Revenge and CBS’ “Dexter”. But You trampled those in viewership with “Dexter” reaching 8.1 million views and “Revenge” at even less with 6.4 million views. Between its platform, casting, and content, “You” has exceptionally branded itself.


“You” started on Lifetime in early 2018 with little praise. It reached a mere average of 0.679 million views and was considered to be a failure. Even Greg Berlanti, the show’s co-creator, admitted that it was the worst of his projects. Berlanti’s other projects include “Love, Simon”, and “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”. 


What saved the show was its move to Netflix in September 2018. Not only does Netflix provide the opportunity to binge the show over and over again, but it also is approaching 150 million subscribers, while Lifetime only has 18.8 million viewers. “You” rebranded itself to a platform that allowed it to get more than 2x the number of viewers it could reach on Lifetime. 


The producers of “You” made the smart choice of casting well-known actors and actresses that were already popular with the show’s main demographic. Penn Badgley, who plays the main character, Joe Goldberg, had already stolen the hearts of 18 – 24-year-olds in Gossip Girl as Dan Humphrey. In addition to Penn was Shay Mitchell, who previously starred in Pretty Little Liars as Emily Fields. Both Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars ran for over six seasons. Is that anticipating the length of You?


The final piece of branding You used lied within its content. Why You has brilliant branding is in the name itself. With all of the streaming platforms available, people often ask each other what they’re currently watching. When asked about You, viewers respond “I’m watching you.” This choice adds an extra layer to the creepiness of the storyline, tying a perfect bow on the show’s brand. 
You is taking Netflix by storm. If you haven’t watched the show already, now is the time to jump in and live vicariously through a charming psychopath. I don’t know what you’re doing, but “I’m watching You.”

-Kyra Beckish

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