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The Best of Halloween
In case you didn’t notice the 14 people dressed as Lil Nas X in “Old Town Road” during your commute, today is in fact Halloween (which is this newsletter writer’s favorite holiday). Marketers come up with all kinds of brilliant ideas for Halloween-themed ads and activations, so we’re going run down a few of our favorites from the past few years this morning.
- Burger King typically nails its Halloween stunt (this year’s was a little odd), but the fast-food brand nailed its stunts the last three years. In 2018, it created a Whopper that gives you nightmares. The two previous years, the King trolled its top competitor by dressing a restaurant up as the ghost of McDonald’s and then gave away free Whoppers to anyone dressed as a clown.
- Budweiser found people who were arrested on Halloween and remained in costume for their mugshots as a reminder to party responsibly. Bud also celebrated its little-known link to John Carpenter.
- One of the best Halloween stunts came last year from Reese’s, which created vending machines at which all kids exchange all their trash candy for Reese’s Cups.
- Svedka Vodka used retargeted ads to its advantage by creating creepy Halloween ads that follow you around the internet.
- There’s an ongoing Addams Family advertising blitz, and the latest stunt is from Booking.com, which recreated the Addams Family house in Brooklyn.
Exclusive: How Apple Used Dramatic Outdoor Ads for the Surprise Reveal of AirPods Pro
Apple and creative agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab revealed the AirPods Pro through a two-phase outdoor campaign. First, giant and unbranded images of dancers appeared in major global markets. After the AirPods Pro were announced, the images—some more than 40 feet in height—were updated to include the new devices in the dancers’ ears.
Streaming Chaos Is About to Begin
There’s been a flood of streaming news over the last couple weeks as Apple TV+ debuts tomorrow and Disney+ is coming in about two weeks. So here’s our latest coverage about the services as they sprint to scale up:
- HBO revealed many details about HBO Max on Tuesday, including that there’s a Game of Thrones prequel on the way. TV editor Jason Lynch broke down what he likes and doesn’t like about HBO Max.
- Netflix hinted it would let users watch content at a higher playback speed, but it pulled the plug on that after consumer backlash.
- NBC isn’t revealing many details about Peacock, which debuts next year.
- Hulu has a new chief creative, plucking Scott Donaton away from Digitas.
- RIP, Playstation Vue Live TV. You didn’t make it long enough to actually do battle with all the new services.
Best the Rest: Today’s Top News and Insights
Creativity Editor David Griner’s Favorite Halloween Ad: Mars’ “Bite Size Horror” Campaign
For Halloween, we asked marketers what scares them the most about their jobs:
Bill Cochran, creative group head, The Richards Group
The possibility of a data-driven copywriting artificial intelligence that can write smart-ass survey answers better than I can.
Sarah Simonetti, account supervisor, BSSP
As an account person, you are haunted (not just during Halloween) by conflicting industry news about our role and function, and whether we will even exist within agency models of the future. While some camps believe we’re an extension of the client team, focusing primarily on the bottom line and how to best bring our agency team along for the ride, others say it’s all about creative first and our kind of brand stewardship is irrelevant. Now, more than ever before, account people need to be strategic in prioritizing business and creative equally in order to survive.
Kelli Miller, creative director and partner, And/Or
As a small-business owner the scariest thing is the red line in our cash flow and its ever-present creep. We do our best to keep it at bay, but inevitably it marches forward. That pressure can force difficult decisions about what work to take on to keep it at bay. Even if our intention is to be selective about the work we create, sometimes we need to feed the monster. As a studio that puts the quality and craft of our work at the very top of our values. It’s very scary to feel the pressure to make sacrifices for capital.
And the industry:
Selena Pizarro, svp, director of video production, RPA
People who insist on trying to templatize the art of advertising.
Anda Gansca, CEO and co-founder, Knotch
What frightens me about the marketing industry today is that we’re facing a real lack of transparent, accurate data. Oftentimes, the incentive structures behind data reporting prevent transparent, trusted data getting back to brands in real time. The data that publishers and agencies provide on campaigns isn’t always sufficient, and it’s often delayed. This has led us to a place where trust is a difficult currency to earn in the industry for decision-makers.
Max Ottignon, co-founder, Ragged Edge
Branding is about turning complex concepts into simple, meaningful ideas. But if we’re so good at that, why have we done such a bad job at branding branding? Ask 10 people to define branding, and you’ll get 10 frighteningly different answers. And if we can’t agree on what we offer, what right do we have to tell other people what they offer?