Halloween Campaigns Round-up

Post-Halloween greetings from Fusion Content. It’s been the season to be scary. The world’s biggest brands and content creators headed outside to trick and treat, as campaign activity took a frightening turn towards the paranormal.

Now that the pumpkin lanterns are well and truly out, read on for the best examples of Halloween marketing this year.

Stranger Things turns the internet Upside Down (spoiler free!)

The Internet loves talking about what it’s been watching. In recent months, few series have received more hype than the newest Stranger Things. Netflix released the show’s second season on October the 27th.

As a goldmine of pop culture throwbacks and retro references, the series presented super partnership opportunities to a range of brands:


Spotify allowed users to find out which Stranger Things characters share their musical tastes. Firstly, they tailored playlists to the season’s main characters’ preferences. Then, they compared them with users’ listening histories. Options ranged from the Demogorgon’s Upside Downers to Eleven’s Breakfast Jams!


Topshop converted their flagship Oxford Street branch into a Stranger Things shrine. They recreated a range of the show’s most iconic locations, such as Hawkins Lab, the games arcade and the Byers’ heavily graffitied living room:




These are the snack of choice of one of Stranger Things’ most iconic characters. Since series two arrived, the Eggo Twitter has practically become a Stranger Things fan account (with a few outrageously bad puns thrown into the mix):

All of these are instances of brands imaginatively tapping into mainstream pop culture events to create relevant and timely marketing. Kellogg’s activity is an especially excellent example. By capitalising on Eggo’s sudden uplift of pop culture relevance, and crafting a social strategy around it, they’ve been able to grow their brand in a new direction for a widened and younger audience.

Svedka Vodka uses display ads to haunt the internet

Svedka Vodka took an unconventional but eerily brilliant approach to its Halloween-themed marketing, which combined creative activity and remarketing to possess users’ social feeds with spooky Svedka Vodka content.

The campaign began by serving clickbait Halloween-themed cocktail recipes on users’ feeds. However, all wasn’t as it seemed. If a user clicked they link, they’d instead be spirited away to a video proclaiming that the curse had been laid:

From then on, they would be shown a cocktail of creepy banner ads. Geotargeting and retargeting methods made the curses uncannily unique: users in New York would be served New York specific ads, for instance.

And the user could only lift the curse by sharing one of the clickbait articles from Svedka Vodka’s Halloween hub. The curse would pass on to their friends and the cycle would begin again!

The brand’s multi-channel strategy created a memorable, outside-of-the-box campaign. Whilst we wouldn’t normally advocate shaping a digital strategy around hexing your audience, it certainly paid dividends on this occasion!

Burger King clowns around with McDonald’s and IT

Like Kellogg’s Eggos, Burger King’s Halloween content tied into pop culture happenings. Yet, rather than using pop culture to promote their own product, Burger King used it instead to take a swipe at a rival. The target? Historic arch-nemesis, Ronald McDonald.

This Halloween, BK invited the world to dress-up as scary clowns and, in many of its biggest locations (such as Leicester Square), offered free burgers as a reward. The campaign’s motto summarised the endeavour succinctly: ‘Never trust a clown’.

This isn’t the first time that Burger King has trolled its competitors in its Halloween content. Last year, one outlet dressed up as McDonalds’ ghost:

Credit: AdWeek

Nevertheless, it’s an inventive approach that capitalised on a seasonal opportunity to create conversations and serve up buzz around the brand at a competitor’s expense (which is risky, but fits within Burger King’s wider brand identity).

Come back next month, where we’ll be chatting all things Christmas!

September Campaigns Roundup

From a LADbible campaign asking the UN to recognise a country made from trash, to Cristiano Ronaldo showing he’s as good at marketing football as playing it, Fusion Content round up five of September’s best campaigns.

Unicef drives empty school busses through New York streets to highlight children’s education in war zones

Unicef estimates that around 27 million children aged 6-15 are unable to access an education due to the immanent threats of war and conflict. In the run-up to last month’s UN General Assembly, they combined with non-profit ad agency KBS in a creative campaign that poignantly illustrated the statistic by driving twenty-seven empty school busses through the streets of New York, bearing banners like ‘Books not bombs’ and ‘Avoiding land mines shouldn’t be an extracurricular activity’ and carrying just one passenger, Muzoon Almellehan, a Syrian refugee whose family fled the country’s civil war in 2013.

The busses brought the statistic to life with an appropriate urgency. Their convoy almost resembled a blockade as they drove sombrely towards the UN building, slowing down traffic and creating physical space in which the issue was able to become present and enter public consciousness.


Netflix gestures to the Upside Down in zany Stranger Things cease-and-desist letter (and shows us all how to do our monitoring)

From Narcos-inspired ads in nightclub toilets to giant billboards declaring ‘Netflix is a joke’, Netflix’s marketing strategy has lately been relatively out-there. They’re doing it incredibly well.

One of the company’s most recent successes showed succinctly how a creative strategy shouldn’t just be targeting big wins, as they turned a cease and desist letter into a brilliant basis for content:

The letter addressed to a Stranger Things based pop-up bar lacking the studio’s authorisation encapsulated the show’s kooky and charming tone to a T. The writer begins by confessing that their ‘walkie talke is busted so I had to write this note instead’, before saying soon after:

Look, I don’t want you to think I’m a total wastoid […] but unless I’m living in the Upside Down, I don’t think we did a deal with you for this pop-up. You’re obviously creative types, so I’m sure you can appreciate that it’s important to us to have a say in how our fans encounter the worlds we build.

This was a deft and elegant way of handling a potentially difficult situation, illustrating how brands can still – when appropriate – keep negative engagements with consumers engaging. ‘We love our fans more than anything,’ it ends, ‘but you should know that the demorgorgon is not always as forgiving. So please don’t make us call your mom’.

LADbible dives in at the deep end in Plastic Oceans campaign

Each year, eight million tonnes of plastic are deposited into the world’s oceans, devastating marine wildlife. The figures are so great that by 2050, scientists anticipate the plastic in the ocean will outweigh the fish. To confront the issue head on, LADbible teamed up with activist group Plastic Oceans and a star-studded line-up of influential names, like Mo Farah, Judi Dench and Ross Kemp, in an outside-of-the-box campaign that sought to make the UN acknowledge the country status of a giant patch of trash in the Pacific Ocean, which they’ve Christened ‘The Trash Isles’.

To be recognised as a country, a region must meet several criteria, and LADbible has ensured that the Trash Isles ticks the boxes: it has a defined region, a newly-formed government, an increasing number of registered residents (vis-à-vis a Change.org petition), is in dialogue with other states, and even has a beautifully designed currency that’s humorously called Debris.

The UN Charter dictates: ‘All members shall co-operate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem’. In other words: because UN member states are responsible for ensuring that member countries are ecologically responsible, gaining membership for the Trash Isles would oblige the UN globally to assist in a clean-up of the ocean.

This is an excellent campaign, supported by influencer campaigns, social media activity and onsite content, by a ground-breaking brand, whose 3.2bn generated views in March this year made them rank as the month’s most popular video creator in the world.

Lyft heads to the Wild West for new prospects as Uber’s stock continues to fall

After becoming embroiled in various scandals and controversies often of its own causing, the last few years for Uber have been a fairly bumpy ride. Their misfortunes have presented a rare opportunity for rival rideshare apps to increase their foothold in the market. To increase their brand’s prominence in relevant conversations, competitor company Lyft has begun honing its brand identity, in a series of humorous ads starring actor Jeff Bridges that tie into the American history of journeying with surreal references to the trends of today.

The ads show actor Jeff Bridges in various Western settings with nods to 21st century pop culture: one sees Bridge’s character sat in the passenger seat declare ‘Shame they haven’t invented the football yet. Sure would be good to have something to talk about’, whilst another sees a passenger texting ‘lol’ through a typewriter.

Capturing a sense of history with tongue-in-cheek flair, the ads demonstrate the worth of taking time to work on fleshing out your brand’s identity itself, rather than solely promoting your products/services. Doing the first can massively help with the latter.

FIFA brings Ronaldo off the bench for ad campaign

Few dates in the video games calendar are more hyped than the release of each year’s new edition of FIFA. This year, the game’s publishers EA Sports brought their marketing strategy literally to life by involving Cristiano Ronaldo, asking him to create his own footballing skill that would be included in the game.

It’s a brilliant example of using an influencer’s input to promote your own material. Fans keep returning to the video game because it enables gamers to embody their favourite football players. Personally involving Ronaldo’s creative input, FIFA has made that connection stronger than ever.

Come back next month, and we’ll see what October had in store!

Halfords Acclaimed for Super Summer

Whilst the intermittent wet weather of the last two weeks seems set to bring the British summertime to a close, we’ve recently been delighted to see the wide acclaim received by our client Halfords for their exceptional performance throughout the summer, making headlines in leading publications such as Internet Retailing and The Telegraph.

Halfords’ strategy focused on the on-trend phenomenon of staycations. Growing numbers of British families are swapping ten-hour flights for fish ‘n chips and pitching their tents a little closer to home. As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of holiday-making must-haves like sleeping bags, tents, bikes and roof-racks, it was essential for Halfords’ voice to be at the heart of the conversation.

In collaboration with Halfords’ internal teams, we implemented a cross-channel strategy to bring Halfords’ vision to life. With the objective of maintaining and increasing Halfords’ visibility for the camping category, we sought to create compelling content to drive organic visibility and secure coverage with major publications and features on high-quality lifestyle blogs. Production of an interactive camping guide whilst working alongside influencers to produce unique stories and advice helped Halfords increase SoV by 3.86% with over 50 pieces of coverage. Additionally, we supported staycation-specific products with promotional PPC ad copy to harness intent driven by the wider content strategy. Granular Shopping structure allowed dynamic support of key products during peak periods.

Image of Halfords' camping guide by Fusion Unlimited
A snap from our work on the guide! (Halfords)

Revenue-wise, our combined activity provided the brand with a summer to remember. In comparison to the first twenty weeks of the last financial year, total sales rose by 11.2%, revenue from retail services (such as bike repairs and car -part fitting) increased by 18.3%, and overall revenue went up by 4.8%.

Another significant action by the brand was their perfecting of their in-store collection services. 85% of all digital orders are now picked up in Halfords stores, which is important for a brand who specialise in items difficult to ship. The availability enables customers to enjoy the benefits of easy online purchasing whilst minimising the hassle of delivery.

It’s always great to see our clients gain the recognition their efforts deserve, and we’re excited to how our brands’ successes will be received in the future!

Interested in how we can help your brand flourish online? Explore our range of digital services.

Google Launches Google Posts

To a mix of excitement and surprise, Google have launched their new Google Posts feature, allowing all Google My Business customers to microblog directly onto the search results stream, enabling brands to reach their audience with unprecedented ease.

The Google Posts interface was first trialled in January 2016, in the build-up to the US election: Google gave electoral candidates the chance to summarise their responses to pressing political concerns in posts of up to 14,400 characters, and then made those responses visible on relevant search queries.  Searching for issue X, for instance, would show you the stances of politicians Y and Z towards it.

A year and a half later, Google has completely reimagined the tool and expanded its availability, now enabling all businesses to post content directly to the search feed.

Brands’ posts will be visible for up to seven days before they disappear, exhibited in a scrollable carousel that rotates up to ten posts at a time, in a move that encourages businesses to keep their content fresh and vibrant.

Like Facebook and Twitter, posts can be brought to life with images and photography, although the interface doesn’t currently support GIFs or video. There’s a 300 words limit; only the first 100 characters will appear immediately in the Knowledge Panel, encouraging brands to balance creativity and concision when delivering their message.

There’re various ways that posts can be made more actionable: they can be created as ‘events’, causing the content to display for the event’s duration as defined by the user, or they can be rounded off with a call to action, be it a link for users to follow for more information, or an ‘add to cart’ functionality for quick and easy purchasing.

The whole of the interface is superbly tailored for mobile use; it’s clear that mobile search lies at the heart of Google’s bold philosophy and plans for the future.

It ties in beautifully to the company’s ever-expanding focus on local search, empowering small businesses by giving them an even greater opportunity to spread the word of their services through curated content.

Google Posts equally presents a brilliant opportunity to larger multi-location brands, allowing for the publication of bespoke content relating to each store locality.

If there’s going to be an exciting event or a brilliant promotion running in your Leeds’ store, for example, you’ll be able to use Google Posts to advertise it specifically on the Leeds store’s GMB page.

It’s very new, and there’s certainly scope for several of the interface’s features to be improved, such as widening the list of available calls to action and broadening the reach of the Insights module, providing greater information for analysis.

Needless to say, Google Posts is an exciting direction for Google to be heading in, opening another channel for the creation and promotion of content, and one that brands would be wise to think about, too!

Fusion Cannes Lion Roundup

When we think of Cannes, we think of films. The stunning gowns and clothes of the awards ceremony, the gilded prizes, the sunshine rippling on red carpet and Hollywood’s brightest glimmering upon it.

Happening each year in May, Cannes Film Festival is one of the most acclaimed and prestigious events in the entertainment calendar. However, that’s not all the lights, cameras and action that the summer has in store for the glamorous Riviera city.

Every June, the Cannes Lions festival celebrates the greatest achievements in content creation across the globe: showbiz meets SEO, acting and Adwords, as best actor morphs into best advert and Spielberg into Google.

Across the many categories, so much of the content that’s been nominated is of an exceptionally high standard. Read on for our five favourite pieces from the Cannes Lions prize winners and nominations!

Chicago Gallery Brings Van Gogh to Life With Airbnb

The bedroom of Vincent Van Gogh’s 1890s’ home in Arles is arguably one of the most famous rooms in the history of art: it’s the subject of three paintings by the Dutch master, the first damaged by river flooding and the second and third painted as ‘repetitions’.

Last year, the Art Institute of Chicago had the unprecedented opportunity of presenting all three versions of Van Gogh’s painting in the same exhibition. In the run up to the event, the Institute partnered with agency Leo Burnett, creating a striking campaign that enabled the world to experience Van Gogh’s masterpieces more vividly than ever before:

The gallery and Leo Burnett commissioned a team of artists and designers to recreate the iconic bedroom as a real room, which they then placed on Airbnb for guests to rent out at just $10 a night, including tickets to the exhibition!

It’s a brilliant instance of an impeccable use of technology, mixed with some phenomenal thinking outside of the box and artistry. Life as art turns to art as life. We love it!

Björk Buzzes As VR Music Video Picks Up Grand Prix for Digital Craft

VR took the plaudits this year in the Digital Craft category, and no-one exhibited a better understanding or application of the increasingly-deployed technology than Björk in the sublime music video for her song ‘NOTGET’.

The jury unanimously praised Björk’s masterful and bold deployment of virtual reality, perceiving the video’s VR elements as being essential to the content’s success, profoundly facilitating the telling of its story.

Previously, brands have been criticised for excessively incorporating VR into their content for limited, novelty purposes, adding an advanced UX to material that may otherwise be completely lacklustre. This year saw content creators really adapting to VR’s opportunities; Google won second place in the category for their VR tech, the Google Tilt Brush.

Bank of Aland’s Green Cards Bloom with the Grand Prix for Cyber Tech

As part of a wider Unesco-supported education programme called ‘The Baltic Sea Project’, the Bank of Aland-who operate throughout Scandinavia-were applauded for their development of environmentally friendly payment cards and awarded the Grand Prix for Cyber in kind.

Made from biodegradable plastic, the cards provide customers with monthly insights into the impact of each transaction on their carbon footprint, advising how they can reduce it in the future.

Overall, it’s a really cool and smart campaign, executed with style and flair, and for a great and relevant cause, too.

Twitter’s Minimalist # Strategy Makes Major Impression

Known for being one of the most happening corners of the Internet, it’s no surprise to see Twitter in the Cannes Lions running. However, you may not be expecting the category in which they won their Grand Prix: Outside Advertising!

Using just the iconic Twitter #, the campaign shows a sophisticated, creative understanding of what it is we think of when we think of Twitter, masterfully and succinctly capturing and reflecting the brand’s essence.

‘Like My Addiction’

The winner of the Direct category was an advert we’ve already covered: Burger King’s iconic, mischievous ‘Google Home of the Whopper campaign’, facing off fierce competition from New York agency McCann and defeating their Fearless Girl statue by just one vote.

Another entrant in the category that caught our eye, and made enormous, continuous impact on the web, was a campaign led by BTEC Paris for French alcohol awareness organisation Addict Aide, titled ‘Like My Addiction’ and based around an influencer: Louise Delage.

From her Insta content, Delage seems like your typical online socialite: a Paris-born bon vivant with over 100,000 followers, jet-setting all across the world to live her flashiest life, regularly uploading stylish content along the way.

Delage’s Instagram presents a person who loves, lives, to party: there’s a drink in literally every photograph, no matter what she’s doing. Her fans followed her revelry with every like, watching her journey through day, night and the early hours.

Here lies the twist: Louise Delage doesn’t exist; she never has. She’s a character that BTEC Paris and Addict Aide created, an online persona on a fake Insta account posting scheduled and studio-crafted content, her social media presence inflated by the use of bot followers and the participation of leading influencers for outreach.

Vividly, and with outstanding creative commitment, the campaign illustrated the difficulty of identifying addiction and reflected back to us-the viewers and users of the Internet-the casual ways in which we can enable such behaviour with every like and share.

March Campaigns Roundup

Spring’s here and busily getting underway: the buds are opening, the birds are singing. Undoubtedly, May will alight with thunder and June will snow us in, but for now everything seems perfectly peachy, particularly because March proved to be such a superb month in content, seeing a sequence of stellar campaigns spanning myriad channels and topics, online and off.

Join us in exploring five of last month’s most vivid and stimulating campaigns. As with February’s entry, we’ve contemplated the factors that made these ads so successful, identifying the key lessons that every brand can take from them to refine and enhance their own image in the future.

Twin Peaks returns with more cherry pie

With Twin Peaks set to make its long-anticipated return to television in May, the show’s promotion has taken in an idiosyncratically Twin Peaks turn.

Last month, billboards began cropping up across North America that displayed nothing but a picture of a single cherry pie. A favourite food of the Twin Peaks population, there was little doubt among the show’s die-hard fans of what they were referring to!

That the campaign only makes sense to Twin Peaks fans seems like a risk, signifying a strategy that’s fated to lose rather than gain a potential audience. However, the confidence and directness with which the ad targets the show’s most committed fans is also its greatest strength.

People return to Twin Peaks because of its quirks and the way in which the show regularly and fearlessly gestures to narratorial obliqueness. It’s a show that’s situated as far away from ‘normal’ as television tends to get; marketing it as being anything otherwise, just another show to perch at the end of a Netflix queue, would fail to connect the fans who love Twin Peaks for its weirdness while missing out on an opportunity to create vivid content to get social channels abuzz!

The campaign summarily made sweeping impressions across social media, alerting viewers to the fact of the show’s return and reminded them of the quirkiness for which they loved Twin Peaks to begin with.

There’s so much value in being mindful of the ways in which you’re using your mediums. Could you be utilising your channels to get an even bigger slice of the cherry pie? Seek ways of expressing your brand in the recognisable terms and ideas that inspire your audience to keep returning to it.

Heinz adds Mad Men to the sauce

As opposed to Twin Peaks‘ quirky promotional campaign for an equally quirky show, Heinz have incorporated AMC’s series Mad Men into their latest campaign to bring a new yet vintage lease of life to their iconic tomato ketchup.

Mad Men follows the story of Don Draper, a fictional advertising exec working in the New York of the 1950s. One plot-line sees Draper actually pitching to Heinz; he proposes a thoroughly minimalist campaign that, to the puzzlement of the Heinz execs, omits the ketchup bottle entirely. Instead, Draper’s concepts simply show photos of the foods that ketchup best accompanies, alongside the caption: ‘Pass the Heinz.’

Mad Men‘s fictitious Heinz responded negatively to Draper’s proposal, but the Heinz of the real world today have made a considerable, belated U-turn and are now running Draper’s ads across the billboards of NYC!

AdWeek spoke to Nicole Kulwicki, Heinz’s head of brand, who said: ‘What we loved about the campaign is that it doesn’t require paragraphs of copy to explain it. It features mouth-watering food images, and all that’s missing is the Heinz.’

The campaign’s a perfect example of a well-known brand maximising the potential of pop culture references to expand a brand’s image, using Mad Men’s artwork to transform Heinz from a household name into a brand with a desirable vintage, emblazoning it with the retro notes that Mad Men’s stylistic flair and lush cinematography emanate.

Think about the potential of pop culture affiliation to shape your brand’s image and consider the exciting and vivid openings to which life combining with art can lead.

Nike pumps the nostalgia to the Air Max

Sunday the 26th of March marked the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Nike’s iconic Air Max 1. Like Twin Peaks shaping its promotion to reflect the aesthetic it’s famous for, Nike celebrated the birthday in quintessentially Nike fashion, evoking the contemporary flair and edge by which the global brand continues to be epitomised, in a series of “fake ads” that they, ironically, commissioned.

Nike collaborated with artists Ava Nirui and Alex Lee to refashion and customise old-school Nike Air Max ads materials, mixing their artworks with Nike’s classic branding.

Originally appearing in Dazed and now making waves across social media, Nike’s innovative collaboration with Nirui and Lee makes a vibrant, stylish example of high-quality content generating correspondingly high-quality conversations.

BT Sport channels Neymar and enjoys sublime night in the Champions League

When Barcelona met Paris Saint-German in the Champions League round of 16 at Camp Nou, it wasn’t really a matter of ‘playing’ a match; it was a rout, a masterclass in getting revenge, as Barça’s battalion of superstars combined to constellate one of the Champions League’s greatest ever performances.

BT Sport broadcasted the match on UK television and were able to get in on the action, running a dynamic a Twitter campaign that saw the brand’s average interactions increase by a whopping 1,730%. Some golazo for the BT Sport social team!

Rather than merely posting a timeline of the match’s events, the relatively new but leading sport channel posted graphics like GIFs and delivered their content through engaging, creative copy.

We looked last month at the power of creative social posting, vis-à-vis the kooky Tweets that American restaurateurs Denny’s continue serving up, and the same applies here. It’s also a great example of keeping your content current and flowing and allowing your social channel the freedom to start conversations when opportunities for them arise!

Refuge goes viral with moving music video

Content that’s done well is content that creates conversations. After all, the web’s a pretty big animal and every piece of content’s just another drop in the ocean. But the best content gets the ocean going, and when they combined with BRIT-nominated singer Frances to produce a music video for her song ‘Grow’, Refuge, the charity, achieved exactly that.

The video shows an animated woman walking through her daily life, returning at night to a starkly-coloured home, into which the camera never ventures. Only half visible, drawn as if a ghost, the figure becomes a moving, hard-hitting metaphor for the struggle people face for their struggles to be heard.

Eventually, after encountering someone who offers her a helping hand, the woman becomes fully visible; listened to and supported, she’s able to come alive, as the video’s pallet shifts to brighter tones, reifying a final sense of fulfillment and recovery.

Though Refuge only released the video on the 19th March, it’s already reached over 150,000 YouTube views. Seeking to go viral to spread awareness of the support that the charity provides, the campaign is a moving and important example of the impact that well-made content can have!

How Longer Journeys To Sale Are Driving Up Marketing Costs


In response to an emerging trend amongst our clients we have done some in-depth research into changes in buyer behaviour over the last 12 months. This identified a significant increase in the volume of site visits customers are making before their eventual purchase, and this has major repercussions on marketing costs and strategy.

The key findings were that 80% of clients are seeing an increase in the length of the path to purchase, with journeys of 12 visits or more seeing the biggest growth at 85%.

This potentially leads to increased marketing costs, as you could be paying more times to get the same visitor back to your site in order to convert them. Businesses need to respond by developing a considered strategy for both reducing traffic costs for returning visitors and removing as many reasons as possible for users to leave your site before committing to purchase.

Head over to Econsultancy to read the full article on our research and recommendations for how clients should be responding to this little discussed trend.


Updated stats from Q4 2015

We revisited this analysis to see how things have changed in the last 18 months, and the results are quite surprising.

Only 40% of clients showed an increase in path to purchase between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015, with journeys of 12 visits or more up just 16%.

So have increases in journey length slowed?

It’s difficult to say, as we looking at increasingly disjointed data. Over the entire period from Q1 2013 to Q4 2015 desktop traffic dropped from an average of 70% of total traffic across the clients analysed to just 40%. So with cross-device measurement still not nailed in Google Analytics we are effectively looking at 3 silos of traffic across desktop, tablet and mobile. How many visits are really going on behind each of these segments?

With device fragmentation increasing but journey to conversion relatively static according to the data it certainly appears that journeys must be getting longer in the real world. One thing is certainly clear – the need for reliable cross-device tracking has never been greater.