No, Netflix’s Sweating Billboard Is Not a “Black Mirror” Episode

Does a sweaty billboard make you want to see a movie more?

Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth in front of a non-sweaty billboard for "Extraction 2."
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Netflix

Netflix is responsible for countless pop-culture phenomena we take for granted now, from the binge-watching model on down. They’ve changed the way people have watched movies at home — twice, even! — and turned American viewers on to international shows. And now, they can take a victory lap for their latest entertainment-related breakthrough: the sweating billboard.

No, that’s not a misprint. A sweating billboard is a thing that exists in 2023, and Netflix is behind it.

Arguably the biggest surprise here is that this sweat-laden billboard isn’t a tie-in with one of the new Black Mirror episodes that were recently released on the streaming service, several of which have riffed on Netflix itself. Instead, the billboards — available for viewing and, I guess, touching in New York and Los Angeles — were designed to raise interest in Extraction 2.

An article by Stuart Heritage at The Guardian has more details on the sweaty, sweaty billboards, including some information on earlier interactive billboards that can be seen as ancestors of this one. Heritage also seems baffled by the existence of this new billboard, writing, “What will the billboard for the next film do? Make Chris Hemsworth spit? Urinate? Transmit airborne respiratory illnesses?”

I suppose this is an example of all press being good press; I am, in fact, writing about Extraction 2 as a result of the sweaty billboard, which might well lead to more people watching the film in question. But I’m also not sure that associating your film with sweat is the wisest course of action. It’s like when ads show up in the bins used at TSA airport checkpoints — who, exactly, wants to associate a product with an experience that literally no one enjoys?

To be fair, the engineering behind the sweaty billboard is pretty interesting. But it begs the question of what Netflix might do next: release spiders in public places to promote Wednesday? Stage actual heists to announce new Lupin episodes? Create a real-life Squid Game? Oh, wait — they already did that one.

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