Halloween Marketing Campaigns & Their Effect on Q4 Earnings


Halloween is not usually thought of as the best time of the year for sales. However, thanks to the continued widespread use of the internet, mobile commerce, and social media, consumers have access to products 24/7. So now, there are no longer, really, any bad times of the year to sell. However, it still is the case that the months leading up to Christmas are some of the most successful months for e-commerce businesses. People’s buying habits still peak in this season, as some of the more successful holidays, such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday, bring people to the stores both physically and online. 


So, with Cyber Monday and Black Friday, and the whole holiday season including Christmas and New Year, earnings really concentrate towards the end of Q4. Considering this, what use can Halloween marketing campaigns have, considering it’s not at the most important time of the year for sales? How are Halloween marketing campaigns used to bolster the entirety of a company’s Q4 earnings? 


Happy Halloween visualization


Are Halloween marketing campaigns really useful? 

Halloween marketing campaigns don’t tend to boost your sales immediately. However, they can provide an excellent opportunity for building brand recognition, and ultimately, brand trust. Halloween, with its endless possibilities for marketing, with strange costumes and songs galore, is a great time to engage with consumers. Added entertainment factor will make them associate positively with your brand, especially if you’re creative with it. 


Seeing as it’s right before the major sales holidays for Q4, Halloween is primed at the right time to engage your consumers, just before the highest spending points of the year. In 2018, Black Friday broke all the records. Online shoppers spent $6.22 billion, a massive increase of 23.6% up from last year. We’re going to delve into some examples of some companies who have had creative, and successful Halloween marketing campaigns, and have evidently continued building brand recognition because of it. 


M&M’s Milly & Max Interactive Ghost Story

The Milly & Max Interactive Ghost Story is a great example of creative Halloween advertising. In it, you’re invited into a story, where the product is an integrated part. It’s even thrown in the air as Milly encounters a ghost! And there wasn’t just one example of this: there were a whole series of 30-second animated videos, which were all released across social media on sites like Instagram. Because many of the videos included an option for the consumer to dive into the action, by clicking on the screen and choosing the fate of Milly and Max, consumers kept coming back again and again.


"Halloween, with its endless possibilities for marketing, with strange costumes  and songs galore, is a great time to engage with consumers."  -Click to Tweet-


M&M’s also combined this series of posts with a ghost theme on their packaging. This successful Halloween marketing campaign not only thoroughly engaged consumers, making them more likely to boost their sales for the end of Q4 but used the holiday as an opportunity to release a limited edition product. This is an effective example of a Halloween marketing campaign that’s creatively taken advantage of the holiday season, especially with the effective use of an engaging social media campaign. 


Kellogg’s AR Trick-or-Treat

Kellogg’s went one step beyond their normal trick of hiding a physical toy in the box for Halloween. Instead, they went against the grain, and put Shazam codes instead of physical gifts inside boxes of cereal. On phones or tablets, these codes could be used to unlock augmented-reality tricks, such as virtual slime flying towards you. 


They even included some extra educational value, with some online videos on how to make special treats for Halloween. This approach is useful for a successful marketing campaign for Halloween, and for all of the final quarter. Adding content, such as themed recipes for Halloween or Christmas, can increase traffic on e-commerce sites, and increase CTR, and ultimately sales. 


Halloween online shopping


WD40 Creaky Door App

Another company that successfully and imaginatively used technology to make a Halloween marketing campaign, is WD40. They created an app, which, when used while opening a door, makes it sound like a creaky, haunted-house-worthy prop. The added entertainment factor with this marketing capping had consumers engaging with the brand time and time again. The amount of time that consumers would have this app on their phone is bound to increase brand recognition, and ultimately, ROI. 


Fanta Snapchat Codes

Although apps are a fun and creative way for consumers to engage with your brand, you’re far more likely to engage a larger number of consumers with a successful and arresting social media campaign. One great example of this is Fanta’s Snapchat codes. For Halloween, Fanta included on their custom cans, QR codes. Just for a limited time these fun, bright and colorful cans are released, unlocking special Snapchat filters once the QR code was scanned. These included fun, scary Halloween masks like a creepy china doll, crying. Because of the entertainment value, these filters were shared between friends far and wide, this throwing a huge, Halloween themed, net for the brand’s reach of consumers during the holiday. 


Buffalo Wild Wings: the Red Zone

The Buffalo Wild Wings, a restaurant chain, used another useful tactic for Halloween marketing campaigns. They brought football into their advertising. They released a three-minute video, depicting a Florida Gators fan dressing up as a Georgia Bulldogs fan for Halloween. And trust us, the results were terrifying! With creepy music and a typical horror film shooting style, they depict every sports fan’s worst nightmare and thus attract two demographics of consumers simultaneously. 


Halloween Minecraft Xbox 360 Skinpack

Another effective approach, remember that this is a holiday, after all, is to incorporate charitable involvement into your Halloween marketing campaign. Microsoft launched a limited edition Halloween Minecraft Xbox 360 Skinpack, which was released for a limited time over Halloween. All of the proceeds were donated to four charities: Macmillan Cancer Support, Sands Lothians, Child’s Play and Block by Block. Seeing as successful Halloween marketing campaigns are engaging consumers creatively, a great way to build brand trust is then to champion a good cause. This attracts like-minded consumers, who can thus start to feel a loyalty to your brand. 

Halloween shopping cart visualization


Uber and Hershey’s Kisses

Another successful approach for Halloween marketing campaigns is to combine them with physical interaction with the consumer. This could take the form of a pop-up shop, or performances for example, but one great example of this was from a co-branded operation between Uber and Hershey’s Kisses. On October 30th, Uber customers could simply press KISSES on the app, and an Uber driver would bring them two packets of limited Halloween edition Hershey’s Halloween chocolate Kisses sweets. 


This led to loads of consumers taking pictures of themselves on social media with their give away, increasing exponentially the brand’s reach on social media, up and beyond the need for a social media campaign. Physically engaging with the audience is another way of effectively building brand identity to boost Q4 earnings. 


Burger King and McDonald's

One tactic that we would not recommend, unless you already have the clout of a name like Burger King or McDonald's behind you, is using your Halloween marketing campaign to troll another brand. But that’s exactly what Burger King did to McDonald's! They released a funny video trolling the famous clown mascot, dressed as the Joker. Of course, they’re big enough that they can get away with it. 


They also combined it with consumer interaction, offering a free Whopper burger to the first 500 people to visit select Burger King stores dressed as a clown. And they topped it off with the hashtag #ScaryClownNight, making this Halloween marketing campaign a social media success


These are 8 examples of Halloween marketing campaigns, each with their own unique benefit.

Some are done creatively, using technology or social media to uniquely engage consumers time and time again, like the M&M’s Milly & Max Interactive Ghost Story and Kellogg’s AR Trick-or-Treat. The effect of campaigns such as these on Q4 earnings is that they increase consumer engagement, and thus increase Q4 earnings towards the end of the quarter, during the more successful holidays. This approach plays a long game.


Many brands on this list, Fanta for example, combine their unique social media campaign or marketing campaign with a limited edition product. This is a great way to make the most of the novelty of Halloween and the branding and marketing possibilities it brings. It’s also a great way to get a little surge in sales in the time when they’re usually lulling. 


Other successful Halloween marketing campaign strategies listed here include charitable giving and linking to charitable causes, or involving football in your campaigns. These approaches represent a more community-minded approach to Halloween marketing, which after all, is well suited to a holiday. Linking your campaign to your local football team, or giving a share of your profits to a local charity, will build brand trust and will help boost your sales at the end of Q4. 


But the most important part, with Halloween marketing campaigns, is to have fun! Consumers want to be engaged with entertaining material, they want to laugh, or be shocked. Make the most out of the holiday by creating fun and innovative campaigns, that really get them spooked. New call-to-action



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