The Haunting Benefits of Halloween
Halloween is one of the many holidays that provides companies with tons of potential advertising opportunities and a chance to show their off their creativity. As it turns out, Halloween has some haunting benefits, making it the most profitable holiday of the year. Consumers are spending upwards of $9.1 billion annually on this holiday alone and many companies are beginning to realize the benefits of participating rather than standing by. Additionally, over the years, brands are getting more creative and going bigger to outshine the immense competition – think specially designed products geared towards the holiday, large PR stunts and ghoulish discounts. As a PR Agency, we are always thinking of new ways to start a conversation and Halloween is the perfect time to spark consumer interest as consumers’ notable willingness to purchase Halloween goods tend to be enough to shape business’s digital advertising choices. Here are a few killer advertising examples that we’ve seen this year.
If you happened to catch glimpse of a shadow monster in downtown Los Angeles earlier this month you were not hallucinating. Intel and Uproxx teamed up this month to show everyone why their new Optane memory products are to die for by playing with the notion of what’s real and what’ not. The two tech companies put together a 90-second performance in the Gallery Row district, turning a fairly empty parking lot and brick wall into a hair-raising spectacle; featuring both real actors and animated monsters. As the real characters walked past the wall, their shadow was seemingly normal – then transformed into massive wolf-like beasts, hiding and haunting along the way, and eventually taking on a life of its own. Massive stunts like these tend to go viral via popular sharing apps such as Instagram and Facebook and this was a great example of how a brand that seems so poorly aligned with Halloween can capitalize off the chilling holiday. In past years, brands such as Bacardi decided to go the experiential route with an immersive haunted house in Brooklyn called “Nocturnal Awakening”. The haunted house was a labyrinth structure featuring six rooms that create visual, aural and sensory illusions. From a PR standpoint, these types of activations are perfect for buzz-worthy press and typically help brands stand out amongst their competitors.
Brands know that Halloween marks the beginning of soirees and festive parties, and we’ve seen that tons of food and beverage companies have opted in to creating spook-tastic products just for the occasion. These limited-release Halloween-themed food products range from silly to downright gruesome – all of which you’ll be dying to get your hands on. Some brands take classic fan-favorites by adding a special touch like Mrs. Field’s Hocus Pocus inspired cookie cakes featuring their classic chocolate chip cookie cake topped with the Sanderson sister’s iconic witch broom, mop and vacuum. Paris Baguette, a popular fast-casual bakery concept, topped a few of their iconic cakes with piped Jack-O-Lanterns and ghoulish ghosts for a beautiful centerpiece that they know will get guests talking. Brands who can’t create Halloween-specific products show their creativity by positioning some of their everyday offerings with a chilling twist to make them more holiday-friendly. As a lifestyle PR Agency we must think outside the box and have pitched products such as KRAVE Jerky and Brazi Bites as Halloween party appetizers. Think jerky bits served and labeled as scabs and warm, Brazilian cheese breads flattened and turned into creepy crawlers.
The third way that we have seen brands get in the Halloween spirit is by offering discounts that align with the occasion. We all know that consumers are suckers for a good discount or free offer and so this is one of the simpler ways that companies can reel in the profits without committing to a new product or large costly activation. One of our clients, Mrs. Fields, takes part by offering fans 30% off Halloween gifts that include anything from Haunted House Tins filled with cookies to Ghost Story Boxes with decorated ghost cookies and multi-colored gourmet popcorn. Popular food chain, Chipotle, also participates in an annual boo-rito deal that gets consumers involved every year. This year they are offering $4 entrees from 3pm till close on Halloween day to anyone who comes in dressed in costume. They even took things further this year with an online costume contest where fans can upload their costumes, tag the brand, and ultimately win a year of free burritos. Last year, Chipotle raised over $4 million with their promotion, proving that discounts can be worthwhile when done right.
Some of the ideas above can be quite simple, proving that brands don’t need to pour huge amounts of resources into marketing campaigns for it to come out successful. If your brand is open to the idea, you may be able to launch your own themed products to create buzz. Alternatively, you can try an experiential activation to create viral press around your product/company. At the very least, revamp your social media and webpages, taking inspiration from these killer small and national brands.