Friday, 4 November 2011

Remember, remember... What's the number one brand on Guy Fawkes Night?

Celebrations and festivities are big business. Christmas is obviously a time of increased commerce, but Easter, Mother's Day and Halloween are also times to cash in, as people pay out to make the special day even more special.

Companies look to make the most of these days, often launching specific campaigns aimed at the market, maybe giving adverts a spooky theme in the run up to All Hallows Eve or have them show Dad enjoying his new power drill, in the weeks before Father's Day.

Brands may even try to forge an association between the Holiday and what they sell, with the Holy Grail being them becoming synonymous with one another to the audience.

A famous example is Coca Cola at Christmas time. It's something of an urban legend that Coke actually invented Santa Clause, or at least the modern red and white version. In fact, this was already a standard look for the jovial gift giver before Coke adopted him into their advertising in the 1930's. But their campaign did get the word out and consolidated this image, along with the association with the soft drink, in the minds of millions.

And it still does. Every year, Santa is still central to Coke's advertising. They even use their original 1930's design by illustrator Haddon Sundblom, where Santa's enjoying a sip, and they always see a boost in their already massive sales.

So what about the fifth of November? What about Guy Fawkes Night?

What associated brand makes the most?

The photo above might give the game away, but I'll carry on regardless.

Fireworks sales are obviously up, but mainly in England. They celebrate in a few other places, but it's not an international holiday. Wood sales might be up. Perhaps toffee apples. Booze and party food too. Maybe scarves.

But all just in England and nothing particularly surprising or worthy of an article on the topic.

What about a film brand?

Like an advertising campaign, films can also be tailored to the time of year

There's been countless Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day, Halloween themed movies. If they're liked, they pack them in at the time and continue to sell on a yearly basis, through DVD's, Blu Rays, downloads and TV.

Even without a direct relevance, Star Wars made a mint at Christmas time, when their toys often dominated and made George Lucas a billionaire.

But there really aren't that many films associated with the fifth of November.

Again, it's an English celebration, on a single day, where most people are more likely to be outside enjoying a firework display than going to the cinema. There isn't a worldwide market, so Hollywood would never, ever make a film about the subject. Even Mel Gibson hasn't.

But Hollywood did make a film about a different 5th of November, inspired by the original, where a masked vigilante/anarchist/freedom fighter/terrorist succeeds where Guido Fawkes failed, and blows up the Houses of Parliament.

Released five years ago, V for Vendetta didn't do particularly well at the box office. It doubled it's production costs, but didn't set the world alight. It's perhaps a cult hit at most now.

But it's merchandise is a different story. It's merchandise has taken on a life of it's own, perhaps making sure the 5th of November will never be forgot. More next week...

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