Halloween Campaigns: A Trick for Consumers, A Treat for Business

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A key trait of a successful marketer is the ability to leverage inspiration from anywhere. For some, Halloween is just a night that entails hectic costume making and a scramble to purchase candy, but for marketers, it is so much more. Halloween, much like Christmas, is another excuse for marketers to inject festivities into their campaigns. Brands that may not otherwise be associated with Halloween can piggyback off the scarefest by circulating themed images, emails and campaigns through to the public, wetting their appetite for something other than bobbing apples.

Halloween ranks as my #1 favourite holiday season, so in tune, below is a collection of 5 personal favourite Halloween advertisements and campaigns throughout the years, that have brought about unparalleled success for the business, and scares for consumers. A number of the tactics the companies have used are quite simple to mimic, often only requiring an in-house design team and cunning digital strategist, so you may uncover some inspiration for your next ghostly campaign…

#5 Tesco Halloween: Introducing Spookermarket

Tesco is never one to miss out on a marketing opportunity, with the brand repeatedly being praised for its online efforts and attention to detail. In 2015, Tesco firmly saddled up on the Halloween bandwagon by creating a simple yet spooky video, which accumulated over 10 million combined views across Facebook and YouTube in less than a week.

The success of this ad can be owed to its simple humour. Involving the unsuspecting public in advertisement can pose a reel of risks, ultimately because you just don’t quite know how they’re going to react, however, Tesco successfully captured the spirit of Halloween by finding just the right amount of seasonal fun and spooks to jab at its customers, ambushing them in a tame yet laughable way. The personal effect of Tesco’s advertisement not only increases brand awareness but resonates with the public, making Tesco the “fun” place to shop.

#4 MINI Cooper Costume Campaign

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MINI Cooper in Canada used Halloween 2011 as an opportunity to launch an experimental, and slightly cheeky, one-size fits all MINI cooper costume campaign. The car costume was taken to the streets and used to disguise the appearance of rival car manufacturers.

The campaign was light-hearted enough to be amusing, but still left the lingering thought of“wow, my car would really look good if it was a MINI…” in the minds of Toronto locals. Every marketer wants to increase product awareness over its competitors, so what better way to hijack the competition than by quite literally covering them up with your own brand and hey, it was for Halloween, so it’s acceptable to dress-up!

#3 Doritos Hotel 626

Doritos created Hotel 626 to promote two flavours which had been ‘brought back from the dead’ due to popular demand. This wasn’t just a creepy video campaign; Hotel 626 used several techy techniques to dial up the experience. Doritos invited users to visit the website and immerse themselves into the scenario of being trapped in a hotel with the only way out through challenges using webcams, microphones and mobile phones.

What made this experience groundbreaking, particularly at the time in 2009, was that it would encompass the use of the public’s equipment. Visiting the hotel website would trigger the user’s built-in website to snap a picture, and instructions on how to escape would be relayed on the user’s personal mobile phone. Hotel 626 caused quite a stir, yet Doritos bagged itself numerous awards, including Best in Show from the prestigious New York Festival.

Creating a dedicated website and game-play with the functionality that Hotel 626 boasted, all in order to promote two flavours of crisps, is certainly an investment, but I can guarantee I was well and truly spooked.

#2 Universal Studios Halloween Horror Night

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Throughout October 2008, Universal Studios Hollywood ran Halloween Horror Nights. What better opportunity to dish some subtle scares? In tow with releasing Freddy Krueger loose in the park, the Nightmare on Elm Street theme was continued right down to the pillow cases.

The film night was promoted with print advertising, or should we say embroidered advertising as innocent messages were tainted with sinister warnings. The appeal of this campaign is due to the authenticity, as the design and execution rings true to traditional horror films – right down to the dates duvet sets displayed on the posters.

#1 IKEA Singapore: Halloween in Store

IKEA Singapore paid a timely homage to Stanley Kubrik’s cult classic, The Shining, in a short web film which transformed IKEA showroom lanes into the iconic hallways of the infamous Overlook Hotel. For psychological horror fans – yes, it has its niche – in particular, the advertisement pays a beady eye to detail with visual cues from the movie, including the notorious twin girls, “Redrum” and the poignant phrase “All work no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

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This Halloween advertisement not only ranks number 1 for me as I’m a dedicated Stephen King fan but also because of IKEA’s tactical sales and marketing twist. The company has not only produced a recognisable web film but has also manipulated The Shining to benefit its sales of particular products. The underlying aim of the advertisement is not to pay credit to a renowned horror film, but to promote IKEA’s daily late night shopping offerings.

In addition to the video footage, IKEA Singapore hosted a product hunt, which invited consumers to spot and win products that appear in the film. IKEA has successfully ticked all desirables of a marketing campaign; presenting innovative ideas and curating shareable and iconic content, involving consumers in product-orientated competitions to increase exposure and finally promote the store’s offering in a discreet and appealing manner.

Has your favourite Halloween ad not made the list? Tweet @FastWebMedia with your favourite spooktacular campaign.


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