Halloween is fun. It's scary. It's sweet. Halloween is all-around an incredible American experience. Like every other holiday, it's also a chance for brands to flex their creativity with Halloween marketing campaigns. This holiday is especially fun for us, because we enjoy seeing how companies push the boundaries of what makes good "marketing."
These companies serve us new unforgettable Halloween promotions and advertisements every single year. They're highly entertaining, but they're ALSO perfect learning experiences for your own marketing. With each example, we'll give a quick point on what we believe made them successful or unsuccessful, and what you can take away from the Halloween campaigns.
Without further ado, here are 6 Halloween marketing campaigns that we'll never forget.
6 Unforgettable Halloween Marketing Campaigns (+ Tips!) 🎃
1. WD-40's creaky doors
Yes, this DOES entirely defeat the purpose of WD-40's most popular application. It's memorable because it's ironic. Check it out:
Tip #1: Think about what your product or service is designed to do. Now flip the script - what's the OPPOSITE of that, and how can you use it to your advantage? Here's an example of an article we wrote for a client that uses irony to promote what they do: 5 Expert Tips for Designing the Worst Roll Formed Part Ever.
2. M&M's Interactive Ghost Story
Mars, the maker of M&M's, developed a campaign involving a series of digital, interactive ghost stories throughout October leading up to Halloween. This series, consisting of seven 30-second videos, was titled "Millie & Max: A Ghost Story."
Each week, the video would be posted with an open ending. From there, viewers/followers would vote on one of two possible decisions the characters should make. The following week, the video would incorporate the most popular decision. This video is a compilation of all chapters.
Tip #2: Interact with your customers. Getting customers involved will increase interaction and brand awareness. Additionally, the more people involved in a campaign, the more brand awareness you'll see. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to market your brand -- and it's free!
3. Svedka's First World Horrors series
Even before you press play, you know exactly who Svedka is targeting with this Halloween marketing campaign: tech-savvy millennials. e.g., us. They do a fantastic job of creating an emotional connection from nothing - in just 20 seconds, we felt like this brand understood the trivial struggles facing today's average American. We feel this connection even though we understand the marketing strategy behind it. Check it out:
Tip #3: Knowing your audience's business pain point is good. Knowing their personal pain points is even better. Whether B2C or B2B, buyers tend to choose vendors that seem to Get It -- whatever "it" is.
4. M&M's Dark Movies challenge
This is a classic. We will never not talk about this piece of marketing/graphic design genius. We know it's from 2006. Just let us have this.
What's so great about it? It's a challenge to its viewers. It's highly shareable viral content. It's moody and aesthetic. It appeals to nostalgia and sense of belonging by referencing 50 well-known movies. It makes you interact with the brand over a long enough time span to find 50 different movie references in one poster.
The combination of visuals, length of time spent staring at the image, and competitive call to action make it a hugely successful piece of content marketing. Click on the image below for a larger version.
Tip #4: Don't underestimate the power of viral content. Even if the content doesn't relate to your product directly, having it published and shared under your name is an easy way to increase brand awareness and get eyes on your website and social profiles.
5. Bacardi & Kenzo's haunted house in Brooklyn
We absolutely LOVE when marketers go for a full interactive brand experience. This is one of the best ways to cement your name with your target audience.
In 2016, Bacardi partnered with Kenzo Digital to set up an entire haunted house in Brooklyn. Only 400-500 people got the full experience, but the project generated a buzz. It clearly aimed to promote Bacardi's image of a respectable mid-shelf alcohol.
- Short guest list
- High-profile celebrity interest
- Artistic/higher purpose of the project
Here it is described by IBTimes:
Named "Nocturnal Awakening," the installation featured various innovative technologies, visual and auditory effects meant to delve deep into the psyche of each visitor, and upend their notions of physical space, to create an unimaginable and emotionally vibrant evening.
While it's difficult to find video footage of the project, there are plenty of stunning images that convey the atmosphere of the haunted house:
6. Chance the (W)rapper
Candy, Halloween, AND puns? We're in. Watch the world-famous rapper take a break to promote one of America's favorite Halloween candies in this pun-derful commercial.
Tip #6: Make your mark on the world, but don't take yourself too seriously. Modern marketing is quickly moving away from the strict professionalism in favor of genuine human connections and more casual interactions. You and your company can produce awesome goods and services while still appealing to the person behind the purchase order.
Takeaways From These Halloween Marketing Campaigns:
- Find a human thread you can pull on to create a buzz
- Use irony to make people stop, think, and interact with your content
- Learn your audiences' work AND personal challenges
- Create content just for your customers, prospects, and evangelists
- Harness viral content to raise brand awareness
- Make connections online and offline and use those connections
- Be relatable