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Best bonfire night marketing campaigns 2019

By Michelle Hill, Marketing Manager`

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The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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November 18, 2019 | 12 min read

The winter marketing season seems to get busier every year with Halloween, bonfire night, and a growing list of events marking the calendar before we even think about Christmas. As things get more competitive, brands are spending more on campaigns for Halloween and bonfire night, which kickstart the winter shopping season.

Ian Schneider

Consumers are spending more, too. According to data from Google, UK shoppers spent more than £275m on Halloween alone last year.

We recently looked at the best Halloween campaigns of 2019 on our blog but, in this article, we’re looking at the brands that pulled off the best campaigns for this year’s Guy Fawkes Night.

1: The classic giveaway

The first campaign idea to look at is the classic giveaway where you ask people to actively engage with your brand in return for entering a competition. The idea is to expand your reach, increase brand awareness and engage with a wider audience. Travis Mathews did this by giving away free beanies to keep participants warm during those cold fireworks displays and the winter months ahead.

It’s not the only brand that came up with this idea for bonfire night this year.

You don’t need a particularly strong link to bonfire night or its related themes to pull this off either. The Bay Tree sells chutneys and sauces, and successfully managed to get in on the action.

2: Staying-in campaigns

There’s been a lot of talk about bonfire night traditions fizzling out in recent years. Austerity has hit the budgets of fireworks displays across the UK and one leading supermarket even stopped selling the explosives ahead of bonfire night. There’s also growing concern over the impact of Guy Fawkes festivities on pets and wildlife, which has been a big theme on social media this year.

All things considered, 2019 was the perfect bonfire night to stay in the comfort of your own home or get some friends round. This was reflected in a number of campaigns aimed at bringing some sparkle to the living room. Nintendo encouraged people to make a games night of it and even offered up a digital, environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional fireworks.

Red Door Gin had the drinks covered and there were plenty of offers for party food or a cheeky winter warmer. So, if you weren’t lucky enough to win a free beanie, at least there were plenty of options for a cosy bonfire night in front of the telly.

3: Animade does its thing

My favourite bonfire night campaign for 2019 comes from Animade, a London-based animation studio that creates video content for leading brands. True to form, the studio focused on what it does best by creating a short animated video simply reminding people to keep an eye out for hibernating hedgehogs in any bonfires.

An important message, perfectly divided in a way that also demonstrates what the brand excels at. 10/10.

4: Classic FM addresses a nationwide problem

Another favourite has got to be Classic FM’s attempt at a more practical solution to the problem fireworks pose to pets. There was a lot of attention on the stress these cause household pets (and wildlife) this year and growing calls for a fireworks ban, which will be considered by MPs after more than half a million people signed a petition supporting a ban.

Classic FM ran a show with a special selection of music for the nation’s pets between 7pm-10pm. It also encouraged listeners to send in pictures of their furry friends listening to the show and you’ll see a lot of thank-yous from pet owners among the Twitter comments.

5: Guinness keeps it simple

Guinness makes branding look easy with its back catalogue of memorable campaigns over the years. For bonfire night, the iconic brewer reminded us that sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that sparkle and reinforced the message with another piece of genius visual content. No other drink is recognised so distinctively that this kind of image could resonate in the same way.

Guinness knows exactly what makes its brand recognisable because it has spent decades crafting that image and it continues to make an impact with visual storytelling.


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