When I first joined Tower, I was asked by a colleague what my favourite holiday was. In an awkward Miss-Congeniality-style answer, I explained that it was skiing, as opposed to beach holidays, as I now lived on a Caribbean island. Cue hilarity at my British misinterpretation of the word ‘holiday’. Now I get it, and my favourite ‘holiday’ has been and always will be – Halloween.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent close to $9.1 billion last year on Halloween, from costumes to candy, making it one of the most expensive and profitable holidays of the year. At the heart of all this spending is some frightfully clever marketing, so we’ve popped together not only some tricks (and treats) on how to nail Halloween marketing, but also some of our favourite creepy campaigns of all time.
A monster makeover
A quick but effective trick is to update your social media headers and website with a splash of spooky colours or graphics, like cobwebs and ghouls. Google’s doodles take top spot, injecting a little fun into their home page.
User-generated creepy content
Dunkin’ Donuts capitalised on our love of dressing up at Halloween, while also humanising its brand in an incentive driving fancy dress competition. Followers were asked to use a dedicated hashtag with their Dunkin’ Donut inspired costumes to be in with the chance of appearing on a Times Square billboard and year’s supply of coffee. Search #DDhalloweencontest for some inspo.
Don’t be afraid to be controversial
Is there a better opportunity to troll your competitors than Halloween? Burger King’s #ScaryClownNight campaign combined customer interaction with a sneaky dig at McDonald’s famous clown mascot. A terrifying TV ad, with nods to cult classics IT, Saw and Stranger Things, (watch the ad here if you dare), saw Burger King offering the first 500 people to visit select Burger King stores dressed as clowns, a free Whopper burger.
Old-fashioned fright fests
British supermarket, Tesco, had some frightfully good fun with their ‘Spookermarket’. With carts that moved on their own, hiding heads behind toilet rolls and some unexpected items in the frozen section, they went for the old-school fright fest which showcased that the brand has no trouble having a bit of fun with its customers.
Straight up horror
Confectionary giant Mars have teamed up with Fox to roll out their ‘Bite Size Horror’ films. Beautifully made and nothing to do with candy, the films are giving viewers the heebie-jeebies. The series of two-minute shorts each have their own chilling storyline and there’s one for each of the big brands – Starburst, M&Ms, Snickers and Skittles. You can watch them all here!
So what are you waiting for? Keep an eye out for your favourite frightening marketing tactics and campaigns this year and have a think about how you can capitalise on this creepy holiday for next year.
Halloween – it’s a marketing opportunity to die for.