The Swirl: October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween! Today you have an excuse to eat as much candy as you want, so take advantage of it. Or celebrate by watching our favorite Halloween video of all time by Crest and Oral-B. In this edition: ghosting, a new studio, and more holidays.


Teal pumpkin (n) - not just a DIY trend to get you in the Halloween spirit. In fact, it's a movement aimed at raising awareness of food allergies and promoting inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.


Remember when Burger King proposed a collaboration with McDonald's on Peace Day to create a McWhopper? And then McDonald's said no. Awkward. Burger King must be feeling bitter, because this Halloween they came back with a prank that puts McDonald's to shame. In honor of the holiday, Burger King took it upon themselves to dress up as the ghost of McDonald's. How? They covered their entire store with white sheets and spraypainted a sloppy version of their competitor's logo over them. But wait, it gets better. The sign below it reads ‘Booooooo! Just kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween.' Feel the burn.


Burger King left the prank to a single location in New York, but the resulting publicity would make you think otherwise. News sources are picking it up everywhere, not to mention the social media attention it's receiving. It goes to show that a small budget can go a long way, but Burger King is no magician. The reason this stunt worked so well was because BK was smart in their plan. For one, it didn't go too far. They kept the prank friendly by keeping it to one location. And they introduced the idea several days before Halloween, breaking through media before the holiday conversations got too cluttered. Anyone want a whopper now?


We all know the apple-style product ads: sleek, modern, mesmerizing. Sometimes even capable of driving immediate sales. The style has become somewhat of a marketing cliche these days, but Microsoft just set the bar even higher. With the release of their Surface Studio, a 28-inch desktop device, Apple has some new competition on the street. The spot is beautiful. It's set to the soundtrack “Pure Imagination” and takes you through close-up product shots, followed by a completely intriguing art demonstration. It's about two minutes long, but we promise you won't get bored. You might even watch it more than once. It's that good.


Apple is known as owning the creative class, just as Microsoft is known for dominating the PC space. But this latest move by Microsoft is an aggressive attempt to break up the monopoly and make its move into the artistic scene. What they're claiming as 'the world's thinnest LCD monitor' might be just what the creative world needs. The device is truly innovative and might be the only desktop that makes your jaw drop. You can say goodbye to boring PCs. And possibly some of Apple's market. We think Microsoft just created a new category. Only time will tell - get ready for the big show.


As we're busy watching Halloween movies and carving pumpkins, brands are already thinking about holidays down the road. And no, we're not talking about Thanksgiving. Christmas, actually - one of the highest sales times for some retailers. Target is one of these, and they just released a trailer to introduce their 2016 holiday campaign. What to expect: an 8-minute Toycracker production, a YouTube takeover, exclusive CDs, awesome deals that consumers can access through a holiday app, and a lot of celebs. No wonder they started planning so early.


This effort is massive to say the least, but there's another reason Target introduced it in October. Hint: it involves voting. With the election on November 8, Target wanted to use this time as an opportunity to open up warm and engaging conversations. So while social media is blowing up with election tension, consumers might come across a happy-go-lucky Target ad in places like Pinterest, The Food Network, HGTV, and movie theaters. Then hopefully go buy a toy, because we all know what it's like trying to tackle a mall in December. Start making those gift lists.


Ever stuck in a rut when brainstorming new ideas? Check out these 21 thought starters for a little inspo.