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Netflix made sweaty billboards so you can touch Chris Hemsworth’s wet brow

Chris Hemsworth attends Netflix's "Extraction 2" New York premiere at Jazz at Lincoln Center on June 12, 2023 in New York City. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Yes, you read that correctly. You may not be able to share a password with friends and family anymore, but fear not, Netflix is putting that new revenue to work by inventing a billboard that sweats.

Actually, two billboards that sweat. The interactive advertisements have been deployed in Los Angeles and New York to promote the streaming giant’s latest Chris Hemsworth action movie, Extraction 2.

And Netflix isn’t hiding them on the side of buildings or above highways. No, they’re at street level so you can get up-close and personal with the Thor actor’s wet brow.

A promotional video from Netflix shows reactions of awe and disgust from people who came across the damp display. One woman considered collecting the beads of sweat dripping off Hemsworth’s likeness and selling them.

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According to Variety, the sweating billboards are a “first-of-its-kind innovation” — but it’s a wonder no one beat them to this inspired idea.

As for how the billboards work, Variety revealed that small holes were laser cut into Hemsworth’s forehead “to replicate pores.”

The “pores” are connected to a water supply — a bucket labelled “sweat (Hemsworth)” as seen in the Netflix promo — via a series of tubes. The so-called Hemsworth sweat is then “pumped through the holes at a pressure and frequency to mirror the consistency” of real perspiration.

OK, but why?

Netflix used to be the sole upstart in the streaming game, but a lot has changed over the years. The growing adoption of Disney+, Prime Video and Apple TV and many others has taken a bite out of Netflix’s market share — and these streaming services have billion- and trillion-dollar parent companies backing them up.

Perhaps, then, Netflix is looking to differentiate itself from the crowd with bigger and bolder marketing moves. Netflix’s chief marketing officer gave an interview with Variety that sheds a little light on the company’s thinking:

“We have traditional billboards, too. But the sweaty billboards were great,” Marian Lee said. “Fans want elements where they can interact.”

“They want to interact with talent,” she admits. “But they want to participate with interactive and photographable moments. It’s really important to have tangible things that fans can do.”

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So maybe we can point our fingers at Instagram for bringing these sweaty billboards into existence.

In any case, Extraction 2 had an immensely popular debut, bringing in 42.8 million viewers in the first three days it was available on the streaming service. The movie’s popularity brought it to the top of the most viewed title of the week list on Netflix, and also drove renewed interest in the original film, Extraction.

Netflix has already announced that Extraction 3 is in the works. We just hope they can find some way to top themselves with the marketing for the third instalment.

“It’s an interesting dilemma,” Lee told Variety. “Who knows what insane innovation will be around when Extraction 3 comes to Netflix.”

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