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“Cobra Kai”: Introducing a New Generation to a Classic Franchise Through Social Media

Published on April 14, 2021 at 5:40 p.m. 
by Rachel Breeding.

It is undeniable that Netflix is now a film and television powerhouse. The streaming service has released hit show after hit show, and it shows no signs of stopping.

Netflix always seems to be on-trend with its new releases, and with 1980s pop culture making a comeback in recent years, Netflix has capitalized on that with incredibly popular shows like “Stranger Things.”

Photo via Cobra Kai Facebook

Netflix’s latest “vintage-inspired” project, “Cobra Kai,” is different, though. Instead of it being a show like “Stranger Things” that takes place in the 1980s but features original characters that all generations can enjoy, or an updated sequel of a classic franchise with a new cast, “Cobra Kai” is a total reboot of the wildly popular 1980s “Karate Kid” series — and it features the original cast.

This is a bold move for Netflix. From the first announcement of the show, it was marketed as a continuation of the “Karate Kid” story, providing a look into the modern lives of beloved characters like Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence.

Knowing its audience
For the Gen Xers of the world — the ones who saw the original “Karate Kid” movies in theaters and were teenagers at the same time that the characters were — the idea of this show was great. Those same people, now middle-aged with families of their own, get to see their favorite characters also in the same stage of life.

However, the Gen X and middle-aged audience is not enough for Netflix to pour millions of dollars and hundreds of hours into a new project. Netflix is modern, hip and very much reliant on the younger generations for viewership.

So, how was Netflix supposed to get millennials and Gen Zers on board with a show that centers around the lives of two middle-aged men from a 40-year-old movie series? The answer is simple: social media.

Using social media to reach new publics
Within days of the announcement of the official release date for “Cobra Kai’s” first season, there was an official “Cobra Kai” account on Instagram and Twitter, and a trending “Cobra Kai” hashtag, ‘#CobraKaiChop’ on TikTok.

Photo via Cobra Kai Facebook

The “Cobra Kai” social media accounts are incredibly active and engaged with followers — creating the perfect environment to get younger generations talking about the show and anxiously awaiting new seasons.

“Cobra Kai” is a perfect example of a company knowing its publics and understanding how to interact with them to promote a new “product.” Now, the comment sections of the “Cobra Kai” social media pages are full of young and old alike discussing favorite moments and characters from the show.

Netflix understood how to promote its show to a younger audience who may not have initially been interested. The streaming service used social media platforms that the younger audience better understood, and it paid off. “Cobra Kai” is one of Netflix’s most popular and most positively reviewed shows ever, and with the fourth season currently filming, “Cobra Kai” is here to stay.

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