The Y2K revival is about more than just low-cut jeans and Juicy Couture. Streaming services and celebrities are finding success by launching nostalgic documentaries to boost their popularity.
Netflix’s Beckham documentary series launched in early October 2023 and amassed 3.8 million viewers in its first week. Detailing the life and career of former England footballer and pop culture icon David Beckham, it was the streaming service’s most watched TV show episode in Great Britain since Harry & Meghan premiered in December 2022.
The series created significant social traction – #Beckham has 4.2 billion TikTok views. In its first week, it was responsible for 44% (12.8 million of 29.3 million actions) of Netflix’s total weekly engagement on social media, according to Comscore. This was more than six times as much as Harry & Meghan generated. Hollywood star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (who has four times as many Instagram followers as Beckham) dressed as the footballer for Halloween, and social engagement for Beckham’s former clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid was also boosted, proving the ripple effect of the show.
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Though football was a central topic in the series, it attracted viewers with little to no interest in the sport, mainly due to David Beckham’s equally famous wife and former Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham. Netflix’s clip of her claiming she was “very working class” even though her father drove her to school in a Rolls-Royce has been viewed more than 12 million times on TikTok. The video where the singer-turned-designer revealed she told her husband she was pregnant with their first child the night before the biggest game of his life has more than 20.9 million views on Instagram.
Another wife of a former Manchester United player to make a mark in recent weeks is Coleen Rooney, who told the story of her Instagram leak allegations against Rebekah Vardy in Disney+’s Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story. Though the main topic is a more recent issue, Rooney and her husband are every bit as much 2000s icons as the Beckhams.
#ColeenRooney has more than 25 million TikTok views and #WagathaChristie has more than 18.7 million. Google search results for her name peaked between 15 and 21 October, the week the documentary series aired. This marks the biggest interest in her since the “Wagatha Christie” scandal started with her infamous “It’s………. Rebekah Vardy’s account” post in October 2019.
Opportunities for brands
Netflix’s Robbie Williams documentary is another example – it launched on 8 November and the streaming service hosted a London pop-up event to mark the occasion. Williams also made his TikTok debut to promote the series. At the beginning of 2023, the streaming service released Pamela Anderson’s Pamela: A Love Story, which went straight into the top ten list and sparked a renewed interest in the actress. #PamelaAnderson has 1.2 billion TikTok views and countless makeup, hair and fashion tutorials were created in her honour.
Brands can capitalise on the hype around these shows by linking a product or service to the celebrities in the spotlight, from favourite travel destinations and hit songs to fashion inspiration and memes. For example, Ryanair used the Victoria Beckham “working class” meme in a TikTok viewed more than 384,000 times. British Vogue released a “what’s in my bag” video with Coleen Rooney the week her documentary series launched, and she also featured on the cover of the magazine’s September 2023 issue. Not convinced yet? Fashion creator Mollie Campsie’s October TikTok getting dressed using a Victoria Beckham styling tip has been viewed more than 1.6 million times.
By Dina Zubi, CORQ news and features writer. Picture credit: Victoria Beckham via Instagram