TBWA’s Netflix ‘Binge Candle’ Closely Resembles a 2015 EVB Pitch

By Patrick Coffee 

Great minds think alike. Or at least it would seem that way.

Last week, trade pubs and others got a pitch regarding a cute promo tied to Netflix’s revival of Gilmore Girls, the classic CW dramedy that we never got around to watching. It was a “Binge Candle” designed to last exactly as long as the season, which consists of four 90-minute episodes. The candle therefore has four different scents, with one tied to each seasonal-themed chapter.

You get it, but here’s the explanatory video, which appeared on AdFreak, Creativity, Campaign, PSFK, etc.

…and here’s the product itself, as seen on our desk. Note the “Stars Hollow Gazette.” (Stars Hollow is the town in which those girls named Gilmore live, we learned today.)


The agency behind the work was TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles, which has been working with Netflix since at least 2015. But it seems that at least one other party came up with very similar idea.

Last year Netflix (which just topped AdAge’s marketing A-List, btw) held a review for social media agency of record. We were aware of this because a source told us that MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER lost a portion of the business.

Here is a screenshot of a concept developed by art director Cassia Peterson and copywriter Ashley Rutstein, both of whom worked for Boulder, CO’s EVB at the time. It was part of an ultimately unsuccessful pitch portfolio from the independent agency.


In this case, the show was The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, with the scents again varied by episode. But there’s an undeniable resemblance, and some parties are not too happy about that fact.

“In this business, it’s not uncommon to see elements of your pitch work show up in someone else’s campaign.  However, it’s rare, and unfortunate, to see a very distinctive and unique idea lifted wholesale out of a pitch deck and produced by another agency,” wrote EVB founder and CEO Daniel Stein. “Normally, I can shake this stuff off, but I felt like this one cut too deep and was not fair to the team that actually came up with this idea and presented to Netflix a year ago.”

You all know that this is, like Stein said, a fairly common accusation in the agency world. Maybe it was truly an original idea in both cases?

A Netflix marketing representative declined to comment on the coincidence, and TBWA hasn’t officially gotten back to us yet today. Updates when they come in.