LOS GATOS, CA: Netflix is spreading holiday cheer beyond its library of Christmas rom coms.
The streaming platform chose six small towns around the country for its Here for the Holidays activation, stringing up lights in the municipalities to boost spirits at the end of an unprecedented and largely locked-down year.
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Mayor Tarah Probst was surprised when she got a call from Blue Revolver, an experiential agency that partnered with Netflix on the lights displays.
"We got a call from Blue Revolver, which said they had a big client who wanted to spread holiday cheer to small towns, so of course we were like, 'Yeah, right,’'' said Probst.
But the offer turned out to be genuine. "Netflix chose us, and I'm so glad they recognized how beautiful our town is,” she said.
Adding to the borough's town Christmas tree and menorah, Netflix laid strings of icicle lights, festive signage and wreaths. Netflix holiday movie titles and light up logo N's are also displayed on a few posts.
The holiday cheer was a hit with the town. Probst's Facebook post about the partnership garnered 124,000 impressions after two days, a record for the small town, and she has received positive feedback from residents.
Other towns boasting Here for the Holidays displays include Vallejo, California; Augusta, Georgia; Natchez, Mississippi; Alton, Illinois and Norman, Oklahoma.
Augusta, Georgia, Mayor Hardie Davis thanked Netflix in a statement for bringing more holiday spirit to the town.
“When we rang in 2020, no one knew what was just around the corner. With the news warning people to stay at home for the holidays, we wanted to bring some extra cheer to our residents,” he said. “As the lights go up and shine brightly over the next few weeks, it is my prayer that they bring hope and joy to all that see them.”
The six small towns also see the lights displays as a way to boost their local economies.
Probst has received messages from out-of-towners looking for an address to find the displays. Stroudsburg's economy depends largely on tourists visiting from the Philadelphia and New York metropolitan areas, but the pandemic has throttled their flow.
"During a time like this, this support [from Netflix] is really, really important," she said. "The people in the town have been doing everything they can to keep these businesses alive."
“We wanted to keep the merriment alive during these unprecedented times by resurrecting displays and bringing some holiday cheer,” a Netflix spokesperson said via email. “Whether you’re in a big city or a small town, Netflix is here for you, delivering holiday cheer wherever ‘here’ is for you this year, and we’re hoping to make ‘here’ truly feel like everywhere.”
Netflix’s lights could also become part of the cities’ annual holiday traditions. The company is letting the municipalities keep the displays and put them back up each year.
"We're so thankful, and they've been really awesome to work with," Probst said. "Everyone just needs a boost right now with COVID-19 and everything else going on this year, so this just makes our main street shine in more ways than one."