‘tis the season

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make the most out of seasonal events with content marketing

Dancing around the Maypole. Dressing up as witches and ghouls. Burning effigies of political plotters. Here in the UK, we have some interesting traditions that reach far back into previous centuries, but we continue to take part in them.

Whether their origins are a little lost to the mists of time, or they refer to a particular historic event, our folk traditions and festivals can be weird, wacky and kind of wonderful.

They also provide a great opportunity to create content that gets people talking. These seasonal events can generate interest in issues or products, and if you can tap into that in a way that reflects your customers interests, you can develop a reputation that is fun, current and, most importantly, has a human connection.

Modern Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas celebrations may now have a corporate incentive behind them, but they are still popular, communal events that have a social basis in something - even if we’ve forgotten exactly what.

There are plenty of companies who have made impressive uses of festivities in their marketing campaigns. Take Halloween, for example. Christianised as All Hallow’s Eve, it has roots in the pagan festival of Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. And it’s now seen as a great marketing opportunity.

By playing with different themes to their usual marketing, a brand can show another side to themselves - whether silly or, as in the case of this Burger King, advert, deadly serious.

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They’ve riffed on their ‘rivalry’ with McDonalds in this horror spoof that features creepy clowns and a John Carpenter-esque soundtrack. Released around Halloween, it offered free burgers to the first 500 customers that came to stores dressed as a clown.

Fanta also caught our eye with this clever Halloween campaign. The fizzy drink released special bottles and spooky Snapchat filters. The brand’s command of the season worked, as last year sales increased by 23% over the Halloween period.

As for Bonfire Night, you might think of a modest fireworks display in the local park, or a couple of sparklers in the garden. But these events can be exciting and really tap into the zeitgeist.

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We love making videos around interesting festivities because they allow us to show a lesser-known side of festivities. We filmed the famous Lewes bonfire night celebrations, which see the whole of this usually sleepy Surrey town turn out for an evening of fiery shenanigans. It can be a headline-grabbing event, with different societies competing to burn large effigies of the year’s biggest news names, such as Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Of course, most brands probably won’t want to stir up any controversy, but Bonfire Night is a perfect opportunity to get creative with imagery. As the nights close in, brands offering warming comfort food, hot drinks or warm layers come into their own. We enjoyed these two simple but effective social media images from Guinness and Weetabix.

Of course, these are good examples of what established brands can do with very well-known festivals and seasonal traditions. In our home city of Bristol, we’re excited to see so many growing and innovative brands that have great creative marketing and events teams, such as Bristol 02, Colston Hall and Rough Trade. We’d love to see what they could do by tapping into the style of these national campaigns.

It’s a good time of year to amp up marketing, as it marks a break between end of summer and pre-Christmas. With the majority of people engaged in these events, it’s a good way to attract attention and target your customers. Our friends Maboo, for example, could have made a giant bonfire out of their trademark bamboo, or Matthew Clark could offer all sorts of brewed potions and elixirs at Halloween.

With Christmas fast approaching, have you considered your seasonal marketing strategy? How are you going to be standing out from the crowds?