We take a look at eight of the most impactful marketing campaigns of October, shedding some light on the production, reception and why these ads ticked our boxes.
October’s been a busy month for marketing campaigns, with predictions that many people will start their Christmas shopping earlier than usual due to fears of delivery issues. It’s been a month where John Lewis has seen itself in hot water (more on that below), Facebook Corporation has been rebranded as Meta (they obviously used our (Re)brand Workbook as as source of inspiration), and the classic mobile game ‘Snake’ has returned on Nokia’s new look ‘brick’ phone.
Here's eight of the marketing campaigns that have stood out this month, starting with a stunning spot from clothing brand Burberry.
It’s very rare that an advert gives me goosebumps, but Burberry achieved it with their new ‘Open Spaces’ marketing campaign for October. Directed by Riff Raff Films’ Megaforce, the story is simple – four friends are walking through a field in the British countryside when a magical breeze gives them the ability to fly.
The film, in their own words ‘blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.’ The company’s founder, Thomas Burberry, wrote in his book that shares the same name as the campaign ‘Inherent in every Burberry garment is freedom.’
This is a film that visualises freedom perfectly, the ability to ‘move into new spaces beyond boundaries and expectations.’ While wearing Burberry might not allow you to fly, the fantasy might be enough to tempt me to buy. Take a look for yourself:
Also utilising the talents of Riff Raff Films to create their latest campaign is Wagamama. To mark becoming the first British restaurant chain to make 50% of its offerings vegan-friendly, Wagamama has unleashed ‘Vegamama’ onto the world, Godzilla’s vegan cousin. Due to motivators such as public health, climate change and animal welfare, demand for more plant-based food is growing, and Vegamama is here to tell you all about it.
The October ad campaign was created by Uncommon Creative Studio and directed by Vedran Rupic through Riff Raff Films. Like Nokia, the advert plays on nostalgia with its influence of cinematography from the 50’s-70’s and saturated colour palette.
Arguably the month’s most controversial ad campaign. Created by agency adam&eveDBB and debuting on ITV during ‘DNA Fingerprinting,’ you might have been forgiven for thinking that John Lewis had released their famous Christmas spot early given the hype surrounding it.
Called ‘Let Life Happen,’ and promoting their Home Insurance, it showed a young boy in his mother’s dress and makeup dancing around the house to Stevie Nicks’ ‘Edge of Seventeen.’ As he does so, the boy creates a trail of accidental damage while his mother and sister look on and do…well…nothing to stop him.
The ad campaign got people talking for several reasons, and they can all be summed up from the 337 complaints and counting that the ASA has received about it. Some people weren’t happy that a boy is wearing a dress and makeup, others were concerned that it encouraged children to be destructive. Most, however, took issue with the fact that it was misleading, and that John Lewis’s home insurance wouldn’t pay out for the damage that the boy caused.
John Lewis issued a statement saying that ‘if customers have Accidental Damage Cover with our Home Insurance, then it would cover a range of major and minor home disasters, including unintentional breakages caused by children in the family.’ Despite this the ad campaign has now been pulled after the Financial Conduct Authority found that it could, indeed, mislead customers regarding the home contents insurance offering. Interestingly, it’s still available on their YouTube channel, so check it out:
If you’ve never been to Scotland before, you’re going to want to after seeing the new October ad campaign from VisitScotland. Titled ‘Scotland is Calling,’ the campaign repositions Scotland as a place to ‘slow down, re-charge, escape and enjoy an immersive and sustainable tourism experiences.’
The new advert features sweeping, cinematic shots of some of the country’s most stunning locations, beginning with Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and passing through attractions such as the Johnnie Walker Experience in Edinburgh and a Lobster Shack in North Berwick. But a picture (or video) is worth a thousand words, so here you go:
The Scottish Government hopes the new campaign, which will be worth around £8 million over the next six months, will help position the country as ‘one of the top destinations for visitors around the world’ in future.
Nokia are playing on nostalgia with the (re)release of the 6310 ‘brick phone’ for its 20th anniversary. Makers of the phone, HMD Global, said the device would have the original and iconic silhouette of the classic 6310 with its trademark long battery life. What’s even better (and absolutely lacking with modern phones) is that it will come with a copy of the classic mobile game ‘Snake.’
‘The yearning for nostalgia makes the new Nokia 6310 the perfect tonic,’ a Nokia spokesperson said, and we have to agree.
Nostalgia is a hot topic right now, reflected in the marketing campaigns we’re seeing. Nokia have gained attention by dressing this up as a redesign of a classic and are relying on the phone’s reliability (sturdiness and long battery life) to ensure it sells.
Here’s one to pull on the heart strings. Doritos’ has taken LGBTQ+ pride beyond the grave with their new Día de los Muertos spot for October. Continuing their #PrideAllYear campaign and created by Slap Global, the PepsiCo brand’s new animation features a family reuniting with their deceased relative, Alberto, to find him accompanied by the spirit of his new partner, Mario. While most of his relatives are surprised, his elderly sister is relieved. “What a miracle!” she exclaims. “I thought he would be alone forever.” The advert finished with the words “It’s never too late to be your true self.”
Pixar-like in quality, the production company Final Frontier is behind the touching marketing campaign launched in October, reminiscent of recent films such as ‘Coco’ and ‘Book of Life.’
To mark International Stammering Awareness Day on 22nd October, the British Stammering Association launched a petition alongside a supporting campaign calling for people who stammer to be visibly and authentically portrayed in the media.
The comical advert, entitled ‘Not Just One Day,’ includes the inner monologue of someone who doesn’t believe in petitions, finding them vague or unrealistic. The one exception being the one released by STAMMA.
The film was created by brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R London and London-based film collective Acid News. The voiceover notably marks a debut by STAMMA member, Paul Roberts.
TikTok – even if you’re not on it, you will have seen/heard about things that are. That’s the premise of their new ad campaign launched in October, helmed by Publicis Groupe’s Le Truc. The video takes inspiration from some of the platform’s most-viewed videos.
‘You Have to See It’ stars a combination of ordinary people, celebrities and TikTok creators discussing cultural moments on the platform, specifically @samanthartsoe’s viral video where she finds an abandoned mystery apartment behind her bathroom mirror.
What’s next – Let the Christmas marketing campaigns begin!
After a strong October for marketing campaigns, we now look towards November and the build-up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, of course, Christmas. Will John Lewis’s Christmas advert be as controversial as this? Will we see Coca Cola’s iconic lorry? Stay tuned to find out.