Halloween is to giffgaff as Christmas is to most other brands, so the mobile network is going all out once again in the spooky season to capture its customers’ attention. For the fourth year running, it is running a Halloween-themed film, which is, somewhat unusually, this year directed by its brand director Tom Rainsford (also one of CR’s Creative Leaders 50 this year). Rainsford draws inspiration from horror movies from down the ages, as well as Netflix’s hit TV series Stranger Things in the film, which asks viewers to ‘end the nightmare’ of fixed two-year mobile contracts.
giffgaff has long had a rather unusual approach to creating its advertising. While in the past it worked with traditional ad agencies, it has more recently brought all its creative in-house, commissioning individual directors and designers for projects as they are needed. So while it might seem odd to some for the client to turn director, it is not quite so unexpected at giffgaff.
“Our model demonstrates that we don’t view things with walls and processes,” says Rainsford. “So therefore it seemed like a really natural thing to just go and do. Do I think I would have been right to do our major TV campaign? Probably not, but because of how I view Halloween from a strategic brand perspective, it just felt a very natural step and opportunity. If I’d pitched it and Abi [Pearl, head of advertising at giffgaff] had been like ‘this is rubbish’, then we would have just stopped there.”
“Halloween is our Christmas,” says Pearl. “It’s our time to be the most creative and probably the most free with the brand and showcase our personality. We don’t take looking at Halloween lightly.
“We were probably harder on ourselves with this than we have been with any piece of work we’ve done, because it absolutely has to deliver,” she continues. “You have to believe in each other and you have to believe you will create the best work.”
Alongside the film, which is shown online and also at selected cinemas, giffgaff has also created some entertaining Halloween-themed activity on Snapchat and Facebook, including an app, which asks users what their worst nightmare is, with the phone screen then appearing to shatter when touched. In addition, there will also be a one-off, pop up Halloween salon held in Soho in London on the afternoon of October 28, where visitors can get their face painted in time for Halloween parties that evening.
Agency: giffgaff in-house
Creative/director: Tom Rainsford
Head of advertising: Abi Pearl
Chief marketing officer: Ashley Schofield
Agency production: Like Minded Individuals
Production company: Riff Raff Films
Post: Big Buoy
Digital agency: Big DB