A number of outlets picked up on the tweet, reporting that Netflix wants everyone to stop calling Bundy “hot” and lusting after the serial killer. Except, doesn’t the streaming service feed off these memes? Doesn’t it want Bundy, and its documentary specifically, to be a trending internet topic? Doesn’t it, deep down, need people to keep making dumb and insensitive Bundy memes? Netflix might not admit it, but helping generate a storm of memes is its whole public relations strategy.

Because Netflix TV shows aren’t released weekly and Netflix films usually don’t come out in movie theaters, the streaming service has had to figure out another way to keep buzz about afloat for more than a day or two. The streamer’s answer has been to make its shows ubiquitous on the internet, to make conversations about them unavoidable: Its accounts retweet fan-made memes, craft memes of their own, tweet from corporate accounts in the third person, and more. Netflix is quietly pulling the strings on much of what you see on social media in response to its latest hit shows.

Take Bird Box. There were so many memes for the apocalyptic thriller that Netflix was actually accused of making fan accounts to mimic grassroots interest in the film. (There wasn’t much evidence for these charges, but it probably wouldn’t shock anyone had Netflix really done that, given how often the company has been able to exploit the social media zeitgeist surrounding its viral film). When the “#BirdBoxChallenge” led people to walk into the street or drive cars blindfolded, Netflix tweeted pleading with people not to hurt themselves doing the viral challenge. It didn’t say anything about not doing the challenge at all. The challenge, in general, is amazing PR for Netflix. In fact, the mere act of commenting on the challenge likely boosted its popularity, continuing a cycle that benefited the streaming service.

Its recent Fyre Festival documentary is another example. Andy King, one of the doomed festival’s producers, commented in the documentary that he was prepared to perform fellatio in return for acquiring water for the festival. Naturally, that spawned dozens of memes. The streaming service tweeted an interview in which he responds to those memes. It’s not hard to imagine this drew more viewers to Netflix’s documentary, which came out a few days after a competing documentary from Hulu.

Netflix marketing executives know that these kinds of memes, whether they’re mostly innocuous or unfortunately glorifying a man convicted of unspeakable crimes, are good for business. They increase interest, drive up viewers, and, ultimately, boost subscriptions. Netflix might claim it doesn’t want you to think Ted Bundy was hot, but every time someone does, it’s another dollar in the streaming service’s pocket.

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