Halloween Ads: The Best Spooky & Seasonal Marketing Campaigns We Saw

October is ripe for well-intended Fall-centric puns, a barrage of emails boasting flash sales and seasonal promotions, paranormal-inspired video content, social contests around pumpkin spice lattes, and brands vying for the attention of your everyday consumer. It goes without saying, but some definitely do this better than others. Without further ado, here’s our roundup of some of the top brands working Halloween in their favor (the right way) this year.

Without further ado, here’s our roundup of some of the top brands working Halloween in their favor (the right way) this year.

Best of Video: Mars

There’s nothing that says dedication to great marketing quite like a carefully-calculated series of weird, spooky short films. Mars, the company behind many of our all-time chocolatey favorites, does not disappoint with the elaborate, often eerie mini-movies that make us equally creeped out and craving more candy. Here’s the clip for Skittle, “Floor 9.5.”

Best of Social: Burger King

Sometimes feuds are childish, and sometimes they help you drive more sales. It’s just business. In the latest episode of the battle between Burger King and McDonald’s, the King has a new campaign offering free Whoppers to the first 500 guests donning full clown gear: #ScaryClownNight. In select cities, you just have to show up between 7pm and closing wearing a creepy clown costume on Halloween night and you’ll get free food.

The chain is, of course, also encouraging participants to post all their getups online using their #ScaryClownNight.

Best of Mobile: Iron Maiden + Angry Birds

This is one of those partnerships that sound absolutely ridiculous in theory, but in practice makes so much incredible sense. Angry Birds and Iron Maiden have teamed up to create a complete mobile game that’s themed around Halloween. With a new setting on a “heavy metal” island, the new game features Iron Maiden’s “Eddie the Head” and centers around each album the band has released to date. When you really think about it, it’s quite a spookily genius move for both.

Best of Experiential: TopShop

Okay, so we may or may not have already binged the entirety of the newest season of Stranger Things, but that doesn’t take away from our excitement for this campaign. At its flagship store in London, Topshop is hosting a crazy clever, in-store experience to go along with a ‘Stranger Things’ pop-up for the season. Fans and visitors can step inside Joyce’s living room, take a look at the Hawkins Laboratory, and even peer into Will Byers’ secret forest hideout.

What have been your favorite seasonal campaigns of 2017? Drop us a comment on Facebook and get the convo started. 

5 Reasons Why List Posts Will Never Be Beaten

list posts

We’re guessing you’ve landed on our blog here because you are in desperate need of inspiration. You’re not alone here, we can assure you. Especially with so much content out there on the web already, the blogosphere itself can feel overwhelming. To get your proverbial foot in the door is a tall order and not only that, how can you even guarantee that your blog content is captivating enough to engage your target audience?

Our team can help guide you through the best practices and increase your chance of blogging success. With this in mind, we’ll delve into one of the most common practices out there: list posts.

What Are List Posts?

 ‘5 Reasons Why You Need To Start Using List Posts’

‘11 Great Landing Page Examples You’ll Want to Copy’

‘10 Ways to Improve Your Content Online’

Look familiar? These lists have taken the internet by storm, and for good reason too. Nobody is sick of them. Why? Because these blog posts are often informative, direct, concise and most can be made fun. They tell the audience exactly the content they can expect to receive, with no surprises.

Why Are They So Effective?

1) List posts, more often than not, get results.

Wondering what constitutes ‘results’? We’re talking, more engagement, more clickthroughs, more social sharing, comments, conversions and a lower bounce rate. Not to mention the potential to go viral!

2) By using a number in the headline, list posts appeal to our want for specifics.

As Copyblogger puts it: ‘list posts make a very specific promise of what’s in store for the reader.” We really love clarity when it comes to content and list posts fulfill that need. Not only that, list posts can also be persuasive and influential in nature, perfect for when you’d like to market your own product within the list itself.

3) Lists are ethically neutral.

When reading list posts you don’t feel your brain frying. Sure, sloppy list posts exist, but these are generally due to bad writing or editing and not a fault of the format. We spend an average of 4 hours a day on our mobile devices, at an average of 23 minutes at a time. We need exciting and engaging content that we can consume quickly and which offers a light read.

4) Longer lists make people feel that they are getting more information.

Do you have a lengthy blog post which you’re now wondering could be converted to a list post? Do it!  It has been proven that odd numbers are the best way to get your audience to click and that the number 25 is particularly powerful. Reformat your blog content to reflect this and voila! You’ll have instantly more engaging content for your audience to engage with!

5) List posts serve the millennial need for instant gratification.

We currently live in a world where we can have whatever we want, whenever we want it. We have a question, and we want it answered. The internet is our go-to when we require quick validation, and as such, the fastest answer in the clearest format always triumphs.

List posts are a tried and tested way to entice your potential target. Love em’ or hate em’, they do get results and can be easily tested and growth hacked as your business progresses.

We love list posts at Oliver + Sons as they are a delight to compose and our target audience love them too! Do you have a list post title and subject which performed particularly well on your site? Tell us in the comments below!

Oliver’s Earbuzz: Halloween Music That’s (Actually) Awesome

As we prepare to pull out our darkest clothing, we’re venturing on a quest to find sounds that fit with every seasonal celebration. Old to new, classics to underground, there is a discovery in here for everyone. Every selection we have here should get you the thumbs up amongst your Halloween guests.

You’re Calling A Request For the DJ

The whole club relies on you – request with a warning, as these should only fit at certain times of the evening. You should go for the 80s weird groove at the end of the night, but Pendulum and Faithless are pure to present as the night takes you into the storm. Prepare to throw your limbs everywhere with this selection of dancefloor essentials.

Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters

Pendulum – Tarantula

Faithless – Insomnia (Monster Mix)

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Cities in Dust (Remix)

You’re in the Middle Of A Party, But No One is Dancing

Here are some classics that absolutely no one can deny. A variety of genres that will please everyone. You can even suggest a dance-off some sort of competition, then it will really get weird. In the order of relevance and time, follow this selection with some YouTube suggestions in between.

Stevie Wonder – Superstition

Rihanna – Disturbia

Shakira – She Wolf

Rogue Traders – Voodoo Child

You’re At a Chill Get Together 

A bizarre variety of instruments take the lead here, making it a worthy selection to slide around your friends living room whilst taking a hors d’oeuvres. With Ministry serving 10 minutes that will take you into a smooth groove, this can be played until you feel it’s the right time to switch to… Talking Heads. And continue.

Xymox – Stranger (Remix)

Ministry – Halloween Remix

Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil

You Work In a Bar or Shop and Need Playlist Recommendations

We’ve kept these suggestions worthy of a dance floor, but nothing for the club. This is strictly a combination for those to sway in their seats. Some have the potential to include a husky eye glare that will prompt the fangs to appear.

Depeche Mode – Black Celebration

The Cure – The Blood

David Bowie – Scary Monsters (Super Creeps)

The Doors – Riders In The Storm

You’re Staying Away From Trick-or-Treaters, But Fancy Something Haunting

This is a special collection of particularly scary podcasts, that include music. We have rounded up two podcasts that will tell you creepy stories from all corners of haunted settings.

Firstly, we hear from Glynn Washington, born into a cult but escaped when he was 19. After he experienced a life-affirming choice and left, he now presents stories from the families, experts, and leaders of the famous cult story: Heaven’s Gate. Named just that, Glynn speaks to those who were close to people involved in the 1997 mass suicide. Questioning how and why when telling their story.

Now we’re digging into the depths of the 1940s, in The Twilight Zone’s radio-era predecessor with Wyllis Cooper and Ernest Chappell. The time, setting and location are enough to freak you out, as we hear recordings from those who are now dead. They feature dramatically told horror stories from all around the world, and it’s up to you to decide how to set the crippling scene of realization.

Now all you need is your winning costume, and there you have the ideal evening all thanks to Oliver + Sons! Feel like we’ve missed the biggest song of the celebration? Please… fill us in below!

Halloween Costumes You’ll Either Love or Hate as a Marketer

halloween costumes for marketers

The marketing world draws all kinds of people — introverts, extroverts, Halloween enthusiasts, and those who just want to avoid the knocks of trick-or-treaters.

No matter your feelings on the spookiest holiday of the year, marketers have enough to keep an eye on without having to worry about what they’ll dress up as… or maybe that’s just me. As someone with little time to scrounge up a costume idea, I took to Google to find some of the best (and worst) Halloween outfit ideas for digital marketers and technology nerds.

Here are my favorites and most cringe-worthy picks from around the Internet:

1. DIY Emojis

halloween costumes for marketers

Source: Brit + Co

Our vote? LOVE IT.

When the outfits are perfectly arranged, I am surprisingly obsessed with these DIY emoji costumes. They’re so simple you probably don’t need to buy a thing, recognizable enough to not have to explain, and easy enough to do solo or with a crew.

2. Mad Men

costume ideas for marketers

Source: Retale

Our vote? ALL ABOUT IT.

Maybe it’s because we’re an agency, but the classic look of a Mad Men vibe is equal parts chic, cool, and relevant to life. Maybe if we were all together in one office, we’d be able to sport the same look…

3. Ghostwriter

costume ideas for marketers

Source: Tabitha Dumas

Our vote? YEAH, SURE.

You can go the simple route and grab a white sheet to cut some holes into, or don some fancier ghostly garb, for this costume. Then, get a book or notepad. Boom – ghostwriter. Get it?

4. Twitter Meets ‘The Birds’

costume ideas for marketers

Source: HootSuite

Our vote? OMG YES.

The basic idea here is to dress up as Tippi Hendron from ‘The Birds,’ but use the Twitter logo instead. You can use your imagination with the image above and even add in some specific tweet text if you’re feeling adventurous.

5. Snapchat Filters

Source: YouTube

Our vote? NO THANKS.

Unless you’re a makeup artist (who in digital marketing has the time for those skills?!), this might be a tough one to accomplish well. Kudos for creativity, but there’s something about that rainbow makeup that’s making me queasy.

6. Pantone Color

costume ideas for marketers

Source: Sugar and Cloth

Our vote? KINDA INTO IT.

I love pretty colors. Really, who doesn’t? Pantone is the marketing industry’s God of all things color, so dressing to fit that tone is a fairly simple, creative idea. Bonus points for adding in the right swatch and hex value!

7. Mark Zuckerberg

costume ideas for marketers

Source: Ecouterre

Our vote? PLEASE STOP.

Okay, yeah… relevant, sure. But Zuckerberg? Come on. Think outside the box, you can do better. Plus, the man could really use a wardrobe upgrade.

What are your votes? Let us know on Facebook, or drop your thoughts in the comments below!

SEO Trends: What to Expect in 2018

2018 seo trends

SEO is hands-down one of the most beneficial marketing activities you can tap into as a business today. With so many brands present online, you have to strategically stand out — not just in the way you present yourself, but also HOW you get yourself in front of qualified eyes.

Far from just trying to boost rankings in for a specific keyword, Search Engine Optimization is about finding a perfect balance of search marketing tactics and constantly putting forth the effort to grow and perform better. This post from Search Engine Watch summarizes all of the top 2018 SEO trends and efforts that will be critical to any marketing strategy.

According to their experts, there are seven main SEO trends that are the new rising stars in search engine optimization.

1. Voice Search & Digital Assistants 

Siri, Alexa, and other robots – *ahem* digital assistants – out there today aren’t going anywhere. This increase in voice search in recent months “brings out the need to focus on more long-tail search keywords and a natural language that matches the user’s conversational tone.”

2. Link Building

Link building certainly isn’t new, but getting coverage from industry-relevant sites is still super important. “A successful SEO strategy in 2018 will move towards relationship building, helping a brand develop powerful contacts and links that will be beneficial in a longer term.”

3. User Experience 

A smooth experience is never something to scoff at. 2018 is going to be the year of awesome UI and UX that improve readability, navigation, and how well content converts. “This helps search engines discover which pages are more useful for people, favoring them over others.”

4. Featured Snippets & Quick Answers 

Helping Google to extract the exact right content that you want to be featured is going to be huge. “According to Stone Temple Consulting, almost 30% of the test Google search queries show Featured Snippets. This brings out the need for a strategy on how to optimize a site’s content to meet Google’s standards for Featured Snippets.”

5. Mobile-First

Brands today really have to have a mobile-friendly presence to really get engaged with consumers. One thing often overlooked? Mobile keywords rank differently, so should be treated differently! In fact, “a recent study by BrightEdge found that 57% of web traffic comes from mobile devices.”

6. Visual Search

With hyper-visual sites like Google, Pinterest, and social sites, visual search is something that’s truly a sign of the times. Your 2018 SEO strategy should always take a look at how visual content works. “Rich visuals now become more engaging and the use of neuroscience and innovation bring out an interesting and competitive market.”

7. AI & Machine Learning

Deep learning algorithms are how Google really got liftoff — this kind of machine learning takes a consumer’s search history and actually changes based on the data. “Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already changing the way that search results are ranked. Machine learning can also facilitate the way searches take place, helping users find contextualized results.”

What is your company most focused on for SEO in 2018? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch with us to get some help on defining your perfect SEO strategy for the coming year.