Summer’s here and that can mean only one thing – the countdown to Halloween has begun!! 🎃
Okay, okay. So maybe we’re not all as hyped as the team here about the spookiest (read: best) holiday of the year, but we’re here to tell you there’s a lot more of us Halloween crazies out there than you might think. And with cash money for the occasion too.
True, traditionally our American friends have always been the big spenders when it comes to Halloween, but recent stats show that the UK market is really sinking its teeth into this spooky time of year.
According to research, 51.5% of UK consumers splashed out on Halloween goodies last year and total retail expenditure on Halloween products grew from £310m in 2016 to £419m in 2018. Given the steady year on year rise, it’s a no brainer that Halloween is an ever-growing trend and related spending is on the rise.
But who is spending?
According to research by Mintel, the two key demographics shelling out for Halloween are (shocker) millennials (77%) and parents of under-fives (85%). Halloween was also the second most shared event on social media in 2017, so it’s a safe bet that the digitally native Gen Z are also going to be heavily involved. Of those that join in the fiendish fun, more than half (56%) say they enjoy taking part in Halloween activities such as dressing up and attending parties/themed events.
Fangtastic. So what have brands been doing about it?
We’ve been looking back through the archives at how some brands have really nailed their Halloween marketing and compiled some of our favorite examples across all channels.
Get creative on social media
When it comes to getting inspired, the same research by Mintel found that 40% of Halloween purchasers use social media for inspiration. Some cleverly curated photos of your products in spooky arrangements can help influence those going online to get ideas for their own Halloween celebrations. Reward and share User Generated Content (UGC) as part of the campaign to encourage your audience to get involved.
Beauty brand Soap and Glory made use of influencer photos and and sign posted to their own appropriate products to achieve these ghoulish looks.
Social Photo competitions
Let’s be honest, when people put the effort into Halloween it’s going to end up all over social media. So why not get involved by challenging your followers to send in/upload and tag their best Halloween snaps to be in with the chance of winning a brand prize.
These contests can be for best costume, best pet costume, best Halloween recipe made with your product, best pumpkin carvings etc. Photo comps like this are a great opportunity to connect with your audience and produce some great UGC, especially if you’re employing dedicated campaign hashtags so users can find you and each other easily.
C’mon, you must have known this was going to sneak into this blog somewhere. It’s not about invested interests, folks- it’s about sharing marketing ideas that work!
Branded games can add an interactive element to your standard email marketing, encourage engagement on social media and reward your target audience with fun and prizes all whilst helping you capture data.
They can also extend to promoting real world purchases. A great example comes from Burger King who used a branded game to help promote sales of their special Halloween edition burgers. Players could play the game within the Burger King app and unlock special themed levels by scanning codes on promotional Halloween burgers.
YouTube and online videos
YouTube and social media have made video adverts accessible to brands of all sizes and Halloween is a perfect time to get your witchy hats on and come up with some great visual content for your seasonal campaign.
Admittedly the following example comes from a brand with a big ol’ budget, but Renault show how, with a little creative thinking, you can create great Halloween content, even if your core offering isn’t especially spooky.
The brand made the active decision to focus on social media content for key consumer and calendar moments. Renault’s partner agency, Publicis, explained that “While we wanted to piggyback the Halloween wave and create something bold for Renault, we also needed to create something meaningful for the brand. We have shown Renault’s commitment to making customer’s life easier, by inviting classic Halloween characters zombie and vampires to act as consumers.”
It’s on theme, funny and (most importantly) memorable.
Keep in mind that in the lead up to Halloween there is going to be lots of traffic from Halloween lovers looking for costume/make-up tutorials, jump scare videos and other seasonal content so make the most of this will well placed YouTube ads.
Themed pages on your website
How about putting a Halloween twist on your website pages, favicons or creating some blood-curdling banners for your site.
A great example from Comfort Insurance comes in the form of a landing page instructing site visitors on how best to zombie proof their motorhome. Brilliant.
Halloween is all about being scary so why not dial up the remarketing creep factor in a way that’s going to really grab people’s attention! As discussed earlier, a big spending market for Halloween is millennials and these folks spend a lot of time online. That’s ample opportunity to creep them out in the best way and stick in their minds by having your spooky themed banner ads stalk them as they surf.
Svedka Vodka absolutely nailed this in their 2017 Halloween ‘cursed’ campaign which saw eerie banners following users around like a stalker and reminding them that their every move is being watched, measured, and weaponized for advertising. In an ode to The Ring, users could break the curse and free themselves from these creepers by visiting the brand website and sharing the cursed articles, passing the stalker ads on to their friends and family.
Sharing clickbait. Evil.
You only need to walk into any supermarket to see aisles overflowing with themed packaging. These package revamps help capture the attention of shoppers and promotes impulse purchases, especially given the seasonal timeframe.
If you consider that 56% of those surveyed by Mintel said they’ll be taking part in Halloween-themed activities, many of those consumers will be on the look-out for seasonal products to use at their parties and events so timely packaging can put your product in the running.
This works even if your product isn’t traditional party fare. Take this brilliant example from Marmite:
Halloween-themed promotional gifts
To go along with any promotional packaging, consider offering some spooky treats to encourage and reward purchase. These can be things that shoppers will want in the lead-up to Halloween so think themed costume accessories or decorations.
The great thing about free promo items is that though they’re offline, they can result in some great online interaction. Guinness’s use of Halloween coasters is an old but good example of this; Guinness offered a free creepy shadow coaster with every pint of Guinness bought in local pubs. This resulted in great UGC from drinkers sharing their snaps of the coasters in action across social media.
YouTube is more accessible, but it seems that TV is still king in terms of ads leaving lasting impressions. According to a study on 19-32 year olds by the University of Bern earlier this year, TV advertising has a stronger immediate impact on the recipient than YouTube advertising: It leads to more attention and to more positive emotions.
M&M’s are no strangers to the Halloween treat bucket, but last year was the fist time in 11 years they ran a TV ad. In the ad featuring their lovable Red and Yellow characters we are reminded that not all sweets make it out of Halloween alive!
Spookify your site and POS
If your offering relies on brick and mortar locations, then you have the perfect opportunity for some haunted house shenanigans.
As covered earlier in this blog, Millenials and Gen Z are part of the key spending demographics for Halloween and they’re also the ones that will be seeking out sharable experiences from their retail outings. Many retail outlets are already pandering to this audience by creating an Instagram-worthy, or ‘grammable,’ experience on site and Halloween is the chance for businesses to get involved in the fun.
The best part? You don’t need to go as big as Topshop did in 2017 when they converted their flagship store into the Upside Down from Stranger Things (though going big never hurts in our opinion). Check out the example below from Tesco’s Spookermarket.
Throw a themed event
Don’t have a store to decorate? No bother! Rent a space and throw a spooky party filled to the rafters with bats, boogeyman and brand activations!
There are loads of great examples from other brands out there doing just this. Tennent’s Lager had their 666 Night Bus ferrying petrified passengers between promotional pubs whilst entertaining them on board with comedians and costumed actors. Mexican restaurant Wahaca held a two-day Day of the Dead rave at the Vaults in Waterloo with music, performers and themed art. Mobile phone provider, Giff Gaff, partnered with a Nail Salon in Soho to offer Halloween makeovers to the public before they went on their night of revelry as well as hosting a Nail Rave in the salon basement.
You don’t need to go as big as all that and you can tailor the level of scary to the age of your target audience. Remember, the parents of under-fives? Try something with a family-friendly focus (face painters, light-hearted scares and lots of sweets!)
Or, ya know, just a bit of everything.
Of course, budget depending, you could offer the whole dang package. Think social, offline and event marketing rolled into one devilishly delightful experience-based extravaganza! Last year Fanta nailed this.
2018 saw Fanta claim Halloween as their priority season, as Marketing Manager Rosalind Brown stated, “Fanta is to Halloween what Coca-Cola is to Christmas”.
With their £3m multi-channel campaign ranging across new product lines and Halloween inspired packaging, Snapchat filters, influencer campaigns and experiential Twisted Carnival festivals across 4 sites in the UK. Fanta clearly see Halloween as a key calendar moment and promise an even bigger 2019 campaign and we’re all shivering in anticipation!
We hope this has given you some inspiration for your own Halloween campaigns.
If you want to know more about our Halloween themed, ready-to-go Witchy Whizzer branded game, give Leanne a shriek! She’s waiting to take your call 👇👀🤡 *She doesn’t normally look this we promise!