Halloween special: The Marketing, Media & Tech Raven Round-up — 31st October

Captured by @mattketing

Matt Goddard
Nov 1, 2019 · 9 min read

It’s the final Raven of Series 2. Flying to warmer climes for the winter, it’ll return next spring, refeathered. Will the Musk Zone hang in there? Will the scope widen after this year’s successful inclusion of green talking points and environmental issues? Stay-tuned.

In the meantime, keep an eye on @mattketing and mattketing.com for some hints of what’s to come as well as the customary Christmas Ad Sketch. Up this week:

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Elon plants some trees, the government pulls some ads, I dredge through Halloween advertising, pumpkins have a green future, the BBC has a tough time - but may have itself to blame, Facebook wants to read your mind, Christmas gets greener, Twitter bans political ads, Facebook most certainly won’t, and repeat series are about to become rarer…

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This year, the Raven Playlist has celebrated many great returns (Yorke, Cave, Specials!) and stunning debuts (Adigéry, Villagers!). Political turmoil has rumbled on in the background, but while the Raven has remained mostly Brexit-free, it’s worth celebrating the often overlooked existence of political tune smiths. Yes, they exist. Idles may be one of my current favourites (did you see that blistering Glastonbury set?), but we leave this roost with She Drew the Gun's Trouble Every Day. “'I’m about to get upset from watching my TV...' Find every intro song on the Raven Playlist even between series.

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Halloween Special

A Halloween splurge, naturally — but it’s not a classic year. Will Halloween ever take off?

Food’s the real winner in October (see Squawking Point 1), but supermarkets remain perversely unimaginative.

Asda’s Monster Mash (they didn’t even use the name!) fell into the usual poetic tropes (a long way from their eye-catching effort in 2017).

While Aldi wasn’t far behind with its Backstreet riffing.

They were narrowly beaten by Lidl’s Monster Market with its splash of CGI.

Tesco were pragmatic, if fantastically horrid.

Meanwhile, Superdrug made a stab for the cosmetics market.

But a particular well done is due to to CoOp for thinking a little outside the box, near the halfway line.

The Slightly-Fudged It award goes to Burger King for their Spirit Taste Test. Why has no-one employed the dead for taste testing before? Well, perhaps because it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Then again, we can’t expect scary clown-baiting every Halloween.

Kudos to Budweiser for re-spinning it’s ‘Drink Wiser’ campaign for the season. These “Don’t Let Halloween Haunt You Forever” ads tie in with an online promotion offering Lyft vouchers.

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Budweiser, Drink Wiser

1. Halloween and horror what is it good for?

The ads may not have been up to the standard of previous years — given Halloween will never be Christmas when it comes to advertising or sales — but that doesn’t tell the whole story? Just as the BAFTAs moved to usurp the Golden Globes as an Oscar indicator, recent years have seen Black Friday swoop in to snap up consumer attention before Christmas — and a more diverse advertising campaign too. As if our days didn’t go quickly enough… But Halloween is still major business, going from strength to strength as Black Friday fails to find the same foothold in the UK as in the United States.

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If you think Halloween wasn’t always a big deal, you’d be right. And we’re not talking decades of difference. Halloween spending has more than doubled since 2013, reaching £419m in 2018. It’s a huge driver in the food market with sweet and confectionery spend far outstripping costumes or decorations (source: Statista).

How about horror in general? Has political turbulence, particularly in the UK and US, turned people away from escapism-with-jumps on the big screen? No. The past year has set dazzling new records. The strongest revolt against the homegeny of Disney Marvel’s Tinsel Town domination has been Warner Bros. and its clowns. IT: Chapter 2 and Joker have taken $1.3bn between them. Not bad for two R-rated films. It may have seemed impossible a few years ago, when Dimension and other production houses held rights in a vice-like grip and churned out straight-to-video instalments to retain them while weak reboots of 30-year old franchises stumbled at the box office. Now the critical heft of Blumhouse’s Get Out and Warner Bros’ It in 2017 have unleashed a golden age of horror,

2. Tech. Facebook Wrist reading.

A follow-up on a throwaway line from a couple of weeks ago. Facebook bought some mind-reading wristbands. No really, they did. The startup CTRL-Labs

We can only guess the value the social giant sees in wearable tech that can read neural pathways. It’s mildly worrying, isn’t it? These articles certainly think so.

Mind you, some things require no such mind reading. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t get grilled about telepathy on Capitol Hill last week, there is something Facebook is a lot keener to deal with than fake political news, misleading adverts or when board members actually became aware of Cambridge Analytica: 🍆 🍑

Twitter took the initiative after Facebook’s brash fumble — on Wednesday Jack Dorsey confirmed that the platform would be banning all political adverts.

3. Green. Crackers will never be the same again.

It’ll be Christmas before we know it. Pleased to say that the jokes will remain — something needs to get you through the long winter nights with no Raven after all.

But — and I’ve never said this so literally — all jokes aside, say goodbye to a Christmas institution. No more untrimmed single-mould plastic penny whistles, magic tricks or startled fish. At John Lewis & Partners anyway.

4. Media. Ofcom sums it up for the BBC.

Last Raven we took a look at the BBC’s plan for a refreshed iPlayer that could replenish its fading streaming market. Ofcom’s report shouldn’t have surprised the Corporation too much, even if it seems a little too damning (and avoids some well-voiced plans). There’s no doubt tough challenges lie ahead.

Their journalism is faring better than their modernity in the regulator’s eyes, but that’s not stemming the complaints.

Roy Greenslade summed up the difficulty the institution faces in a changed country.

(BBC Creative)

With either awkward or perfect timing, BBC Creative brought out these ads, with a self-deprecating touch similar to the recent Channel Four complaint campaign. Seems state funded broadcasters are gaining feist.

As the tribunal continues, this story is taking some extraordinary twists and threatening to grow for the BBC.

6. Tech. Roaming Eagle.

When the unlimited quest for knowledge meets regional constraints and whopping bills. That or, As Bob Peck might have whispered, Clever Girl.

7. Media. Signing off the year for Netflix.

It’s as if Netflix knew this was the final Raven, serving up a list of its most popular shows on the back of its new found love/hubris of publishing statistics. Could this hint where the rapidly expanding content of VoD is heading? Perhaps not much to read in the star pull that comes with actors (but not directors, eh?). More threatening is the viewing habits that favour new series. Multiple seasons are going to become rarer.

Habits may be either fast or quick depending on this feature’s survival. A jaw-droppingly hideous one it is too.

So hideous it was quickly toned down in the face of a wave of opprobrium. Not the kind of blasé approach to content you want to promote when you’ve got you’re Oscar-baiting films signed up to limited cinema runs.

Staying in the VoD space, Inc saw a way Apple could turn the tables on the Netflix and stave off other new pretender: A $25 per month all-inclusive plan.

Seems quite Apple. Although, initial reviews of its theoretically strong flagship show were not convincing out the traps.

Meanwhile, HBO Max received a US launch date: Spring 2020.

8. Green. Think of the Pumpkins.

What happens to the pumpkins when you’ve finished carving and the candle’s gone out? Fortunately, they don’t turn into carriages.

9. Musk Zone. An Environmental Case.

Staying on the green theme, Elon Musk made a bold environmental pledge.

Could that be in opposition to his recent claims of illiquidity, as an unfortunate date in court is set? Oh Elon, during a Raven series-break too!

10. On my side…

Look out for the following over winter:

  • Christmas Ad Sketch — my annual take down, I mean, round-up, of seasonal ads.
  • More at mattketing.com — a new look coming for the new year.
  • Keep an eye on Jokertoons.com — More changes over at the cartoon studio, including recent opening of an Amazon store across the UK and UK.
  • Catch the latest reviews and pop culture content over at Medium.com/jokerside, including weekly reviews of HBO’s new hope: Watchmen:
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Resources: http://www.mattketing.com
That’s it for this Raven — see you next time! While you wait, keep up-to-date and join the conversation @mattketing.

Two last things

The elephant the Raven may avoid but often sits on the head of. The UK Government was forced to pull its £100m no-deal ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ advertising campaign.

And couldn’t resist signing off with a font pun. Especially for Halloween: Hell Vertica Kern in Hell

Give me goosebumps. See you in 2020! [Flies off]

The Raven by @Mattketing

The Raven regularly delivers 10 squawking points from…

Matt Goddard

Written by

Tech and FinTech startup CMO, writer & journalist, artist and designer, ed-in-Chief @ Jokerside.com. Curates the Raven @Mattketing round-up right here | London

The Raven by @Mattketing

The Raven regularly delivers 10 squawking points from #marketing #media #technology … Captured by @Mattketing, delivered by first class RAVEN.

Matt Goddard

Written by

Tech and FinTech startup CMO, writer & journalist, artist and designer, ed-in-Chief @ Jokerside.com. Curates the Raven @Mattketing round-up right here | London

The Raven by @Mattketing

The Raven regularly delivers 10 squawking points from #marketing #media #technology … Captured by @Mattketing, delivered by first class RAVEN.

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