No matter what kind of industry your business falls under, there are certain times of the year when you should be pushing down on the gas. Holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Fourth of July, as well as the winter holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah, are prime times for selling your products. Everyone is looking for sales, and most businesses are offering them. If you want to keep yourself in the running, you need to know when to step up.
Halloween has also become an important holiday in America, one that people associate with spooky spirits, candy and costumes, and great savings. From the perspective of the business, it presents an opportunity to be creative and build up the customer base through Halloween-related promotions. If you’re not sure where to start, there are tons of examples of successful campaigns from the past. Read ahead for some of the best Halloween marketing examples so you can pick up some inspiration and some new fans, followers, and customers.
The Oreo Lab
Although every business has something to gain from the Halloween season, some companies are a bit more associated with the holiday. Candy, cookies, and anything else that goes into the trick or treating bag are in high demand throughout the fall, so it makes sense for these types of companies to make a harder push with their marketing campaigns. Nabisco had a particularly great idea that they called the Oreo Laboratorium.
The Oreo Laboratorium campaign used viral videos to boost attention to their brand. These short videos were centered around the Laboratorium, where Oreo cookies could be turned into monsters. Oreo is already a household name and most people are already familiar with the brand and its products, but here’s where it gets interesting: Fans could submit ideas for names for the monsters that spawned out of the cookies. This gave Oreo user-generated content to add to their campaign, and they rewarded those who chose the best names.
Guinness: Shadow Coasters
Halloween campaigns can be small and simple, as evidenced by Guinness’s spooky shadow coasters. Beer drinkers who don’t want to leave condensation marks on their tables use coasters all year long, but Guinness made coasters a little more fun for Halloween. These coasters look like they turn the shadow of your glass into creepier shadows of ghosts and ghouls by extending out to the side of the glass. Sure, they might take up a little more room on the table, but they’re a festive way of giving your everyday coasters a break. Of course, these coasters are just as spooky no matter what’s in your glass, but they encourage consumers to fill up with Guinness. Customers could also save the coasters and bring them back out every October.
There’s no wrong time of year to save money on delicious Mexican-style food, and Chipotle took advantage with their Booritos campaign. This annual campaign gives customers discounts on their meals, although the exact nature of the campaign is slightly different each year. The special discounts Chipotle offers encourage customers to come in for a burrito, drum up engagement on social media, and sometimes even turn stores into Halloween dining parties.
Chipotle also took this opportunity to raise awareness regarding the additives that their competitors add to food products, additives you won’t find in Chipotle’s ingredients. How did they do this? They created a video telling customers to come to their local Chipotle in costume, with one component added to the ensemble that doesn’t seem necessary. This creates a visual representation of the unnecessary additives that many fast food chains use.
Fanta: The 13th Floor
It’s common to see more Halloween-centric designs on your favorite products during the fall season, but a simple design change isn’t much of a campaign. That’s why Fanta added QR codes to their Halloween Fanta multipacks in addition to vampires and skeletons on the can designs. Consumers get to use Fanta’s Halloween Snapchat filters when they scan the QR codes, and Fanta gets more exposure every time they share these snaps with their friends.
This wasn’t the only aspect of Fanta’s Halloween campaign. The 13th Floor experience was based in London, and it had participants use virtual reality while riding an elevator to the 13th floor. Thanks to the VR, many spooky experiences awaited riders as they took the elevator upwards.
Snickers: Horseless Headman
You’ve heard of the Headless Horseman, but Snickers went with their own twist on the mythology in introducing the Horseless Headman. This was a viral video featuring a giant head trying to scare a group of kids on Halloween. They weren’t afraid at all and knew something was wrong, so they offer him a Snickers and he transforms into the Headless Horseman. This is a perfect play on the famous Snickers tagline “You’re not you when you’re hungry”. It’s just a simple and silly video based on wordplay, but many found the campaign to be creative and endearing.
Svedka Vodka: Curse Video
Targeting ads based on collected consumer data can be creepy from some people’s perspectives. Some don’t like seeing banner ads for products they’ve searched for on a seemingly irrelevant site, while others find it fascinating. Svedka Vodka took a risk with their Curse Video, which used retargeting to bombard users with personalized advertisements.
This Halloween campaign is particularly interesting because it deals with real modern marketing techniques that some people find legitimately creepy. Svedka customers who were particularly tech-savvy would understand and perhaps appreciate the duality between actual holiday marketing and showing how marketing is done.
Rice Krispies: #ScaresVendor
Tricks can be just as much fun as treats, which was the Rice Krispies philosophy when they unleashed #ScaresVendor. Not your typical vending machines, these vendors offered free “Rice Krispies Scares”. They would have smaller windows so people could make their selections without seeing too much of the inside of the machine. What participants didn’t know was that once they made a choice, a human hand would sometimes shoot up and slap the glass. Then, people who reached in to grab their treats would be met with a human or zombie hand reaching out to grab them.
Strongbow Cider: CarnEvil
Much like Fanta’s 13th Floor campaign, Strongbow Cider’s CarnEvil involved two parts. The first part was for anyone who purchased Strongbow Cider products at participating bars. Bartenders received point-of-sale kits from Strongbow, and customers would receive Halloween-themed promo gifts like beer mats and other decorations after every purchase.
The second part of the campaign was CarnEvil, and this aspect was a bigger deal. Strongbow Cider started a competition that offered the winner a trip to New Orleans for him and her and three friends. This part of the campaign piqued plenty of interest, as the contest had a valuable prize.
Halloween marketing comes in all forms, including viral videos, haunted vending machines, and virtual reality experiences. Some are quick, cheap, and easy, while others are a little more complex. No matter what medium you use or how much effort it takes, create a Halloween marketing campaign that makes sense for your business and your goals so you can reach more customers and sell more products during the fall.