As I and others have written over the last few weeks, the Netflix original movie Set It Up seems to have struck a particular cultural chord. It’s been heralded as the savior of the romantic comedy, seemingly stealing that title away from last year’s The Big Sick, which was praised for being a fresh and innovative take on a genre that had grown stale. Notably, both of these movies were acquired or produced by streaming companies, a sign of how far it’s fallen out of favor with traditional studios.
One indicator of just how buzzy Set It Up has become how much zeitgeist it generated has been, to my eye, how many Buzzfeed articles have been devoted to different aspects of the movie. Here are some of the headlines from the last couple weeks:
- How Well Can You “Set It Up”?
- 14 Tweets For Anyone Who Knows “Set It Up” Is Better Than “The Kissing Booth”
- Uh, Zoey Deutch From “Set It Up” Was Maya On “The Suite Life On Deck”
- I Watched A Rom-Com On Netflix Called “Set It Up” To See If It’s As Good As People Are Saying
- Netflix’s “Set It Up” Is The Perfect Millennial Rom-Com
- 16 Tumblr Posts About Netflix’s “Set It Up” That Are A Real Mood
- If You Liked “Set It Up,” Here Are 21 Other Romcoms On Netflix You Might Like
- 15 Rom-Coms To Stream After “Set It Up”
- Which “Set It Up” Character Are You Actually?
- 19 Behind-The-Scenes Pics Of “Set It Up” That’ll Make You Cry Some More
- 17 Tweets You’ll Only Relate To If You’re Newly Obsessed With “Set It Up”
- Guys, Netflix Has Just Released A Rom-Com That’s Actually Good
That’s a good dozen articles taking a variety of angles on the movie, from mild disbelief that Netflix could release a rom-com that legit worked to roundups of social media reactions and commentary related to the movie to recommendations on further viewing to a focus on star Zoey Deutch to the patented Buzzfeed personality quiz.
The site obviously knows what audience it has and how that overlaps with the target audience Netflix was trying to reach with the movie and has leaned into content designed to appeal to them. It’s both the editors there trying to drive the culture (“Here’s what’s cool”) and reflect it (“It looks like this is cool”) in what’s published. Keep in mind too that all of that just happened inside a two week period.
There was a similar concentration of stories on that site in advance of and in reaction to Netflix’s The Kissing Booth, which seemed to capture everyone’s attention for a period of time. Both instances are examples of how Buzzfeed is able to adjust quickly to be relevant to conversations around media as well as how its editorial strategy allows it to flood the zone with content geared toward a handful of audience types and interests in a way other publications just can’t.
All of those headlines listed above are organic posts, over and above the handful of paid posts that appear to have been published with sponsorship by Netflix Canada, and I’m sure they’ve played a significant role in the movie’s continued placement at the forefront of many conversations. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if “OK, but how is this going to be received by Buzzfeed” becomes one more criteria weighed by Netflix as it evaluates both what kinds of movies to make and how to promote them.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.