According to the National Retail Federation, about 20% of retail sales occur during the five weeks between Black Friday and Christmas. It’s naturally a busy time for marketers, requiring months of preparation. Since Halloween is a holiday that occurs right before the holidays, it’s easy to gloss over.
While Halloween isn’t a traditional gift-giving occasion, 70% of Americans are celebrating this year, spending a collective $9 billion, according to the NRF. And the most popular purchases—decorations, candy, costumes—are a bit more open to interpretation than those from some of the other “B-list holidays,” since really, anything could be a costume.
There’s clearly an opportunity there for brands. Here are four of our favorite examples of those who went for it:
Consumers are projected to spend more than $2.5 billion on candy over the next few days, much of which is likely replacing candy they bought for trick-or-treaters two weeks ago but accidentally ate themselves. Needless to say, Halloween is a no-brainer for any candy brand.
Most of the candy brands’ 2018 Halloween ads are fairly straightforward and uninspired. Reese’s, our clear favorite, went the humorous route and nailed it. The spot centers on a pair of trick-or-treating teens who are so, like, over it that they barely react to a knife-wielding maniac or a banshee in a haunted house. Finding a house with a bowl containing exactly one Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is what sends them over the edge and evokes blood-curdling screams. It’s well-done, witty and has an important message: people who try to pass off regular clothes with cat ears as a costume don’t deserve candy. (This ad is airing exclusively on MTV and isn’t on YouTube; you can see the ad in full on Adweek.)
Pinterest is all about discovery, which makes it a goldmine for anyone looking for Halloween inspiration. According to the company’s data, Halloween searches are up 51% year-over-year. That means brands’ boards are full of Halloween content, which can be a bit overwhelming.
Walmart solves that problem by curating pins, separating them into three sections: party planning, recipes and costumes. The latter board includes both full costumes and makeup tutorials, deep linking to Walmart.com. But rather than linking to individual product pages, we like the way Walmart sends shoppers to collections for each look, making it that much easier to buy everything you need to turn yourself into an ice princess, including the tiara.
Some brands are more obviously suited to Halloween than others. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are one of the most popular Halloween candies—Skittles takes the top spot there, according to CandyStore.com data—and Walmart sells everything under the sun. A brand like Jagermeister has to be more creative and that, it did.
Jagermeister used Snapchat’s augmented reality capabilities to launch an experience called “Divine the Darke.” For a month, Jagermeister is stocking bars and liquor stores with branded materials with embedded QR codes. Scan one and unlock an AR game to read tarot cards. In less than three weeks, the campaign generated 32 million impressions.
The eleventh Halloween movie had a great opening weekend, generating more than $76 million in sales. Universal’s marketing involved a mix of digital, experiential and user-generated content with an art contest for fans.
Digital designers submitted their work, pored over by a team of judges from Universal Pictures… oh, and Jamie Lee Curtis, no big deal. The five winners get $2,000 and the opportunity to see their artwork included in the movie’s marketing. Can anything create engagement as effectively as Jamie Lee Curtis saying she loves your version of her movie poster?
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