On 31st October every year, numerous countries around the world celebrate Halloween, an occasion that is dedicated to remembering the faithful departed. The occasion is followed by All Hallows’ Day, the Western Christian feast. The Halloween period marks one of the biggest festive periods in the Christian calendar and people typically do a lot of holiday shopping in the build-up to it.
Over the years, countless big brands from a wide variety of business niches have used the pre-Halloween period to advertise their products in several spooky ways, getting the festive feeling going amongst their audiences. In this post, we’ll take a look at thirteen of the spookiest marketing campaigns that have been undertaken by some globally recognized brands in the build-up to Halloween in recent years.
The #ScaryClownNight campaign by Burger King
Burger King is one of the world’s largest fast-food chains and its 2019 Halloween campaign was centered around clowns. Through a spooky YouTube video that was filled with clowns, Burger King promoted its campaign with the #ScaryClownNight hashtag and offered free Whopper burgers at select stores to the first 500 customers who visited dressed up as clowns.
The spooky and highly successful campaign was lauded by fans of the fast-food chain and critics alike, particularly as it took a cheeky dig at McDonald’s, one of Burger King’s biggest rivals on the global stage.
The #DiorMakeupHalloween campaign by Dior
Dior, the reputed luxury goods brand based in France, has a global customer base now and in 2019, it undertook its Halloween marketing campaign entirely on social media, as it partnered with American model Bella Hadid.
The campaign, titled #DiorMakeupHalloween, featured “how to” makeup videos that showcased Bella Hadid sporting a variety of spooky looks that are the ideal fits for Halloween.
The Buffalo Wild Wings football campaign
Through this campaign, Buffalo Wild Wings, based in Atlanta, targeted American football fans and it featured a fan of the Florida Gators who was dressed up as a Georgia Bulldogs fan for Halloween. It was a symbolic campaign and quite a spooky one for both Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs fans in real life as the two teams are big rivals.
However, the ad ends on an optimistic note by stating that Buffalo Wild Wings doesn’t make any distinction between fans from rival football teams and serves their Buffalo-style chicken wings, tenders, and legs to all.
The #JoinTheFearless campaign by Budweiser
American beer brewers Budweiser put a totally unique spin on their #JoinTheFearless campaign for Halloween. Instead of targeting audiences in countries where Halloween is a celebrated festive period, it targeted audiences in places where Halloween is not celebrated at all. The ad featured a man and a woman putting on makeup and masks and then heading out to join a Halloween party on the streets, a party that had its fair share of Budweiser beer obviously.
Budweiser approached American singer-songwriter Kehlani Parrish to partner them in creating the campaign, which resulted in the creation of the anthem “Touch”. Even though the anthem isn’t a very spooky one from a musical standpoint, the campaign’s efforts at encouraging people from countries where Halloween isn’t celebrated were lauded.
Jeffree Star Cosmetics 2018 Halloween campaign
Jeffree Star Cosmetics, founded by YouTube sensation Jeffree Star, created a Halloween marketing campaign that required very little effort but one that proved to be very successful due to its innovative concept. The campaign encouraged users of Jeffree Star Cosmetics products to send photos of their Halloween looks on Instagram.
In the build-up to the Halloween period and during it, the official Insta page of Jeffree Star Cosmetics posted selected photos from the ones sent to them by followers, and over time, some stunningly spooky faces graced the brand’s page. In terms of customer interaction, it doesn’t get much better than this campaign.
Skoda’s 2017 pumpkin carving campaign
Renowned Czech automobile manufacturer Skoda has impressed the world with its vehicles for many years, but its 2017 Halloween campaign’s main commercial was just as impressive as the company’s cars. It featured a child carving a scary face on a pumpkin and years later, after he has grown up, he is seen carving the same spooky face on a car hood cover.
The commercial garnered over 250,000 views on YouTube and left a mark on both adults and children and to stay true to the Halloween scheme of things, it included the iconic pumpkin carving practice as well, which has been practiced during Halloween since centuries for chasing evil spirits away.
Fanta’s packaging graphics campaign
As a result of Fanta’s success in the past with Halloween campaigns that featured graphics and images of witches and other spooky characters on its bottles, it’s become a yearly Halloween campaign theme for the soft drink giant.
Last time around, the campaign went a step further by allowing buyers to scan the graphics to Snapchat, which allowed them to access special Halloween-themed filters. By combining both digital and physical elements in this campaign, Fanta made sure that its fans had a fun-filled time during the Halloween festive period.
Tesco’s 2018 Spookermarket campaign
The 2018 Spookermarket campaign from supermarket giants Tesco featured a commercial that showed one of its markets where the carts were moving on their own, employees in Halloween makeup scaring customers at the billing counter, and as they were shopping as well. The background music was straight out of a classic horror movie as well.
Even though it was one of the spookiest Halloween marketing campaigns in recent years, it had its moments of light-hearted playfulness as well, which made it endearing for all those who do their grocery and essentials shopping from Tesco.
Lyft’s Stranger Things campaign
Stranger Things, the highly acclaimed Netflix horror show, and Lyft, the San Francisco-based vehicle-for-hire app company, joined hands for a bone-chilling marketing campaign to not just promote the show, but to get followers of the respective brands in the mood for Halloween as well.
The commercial featured a variety of passengers being picked up by their assigned Lyft driver, but as their respective rides ensue, strange things do indeed start happening inside. The lights start flickering, static sounds go off, slugs (fake) make the unsuspecting passengers feel beyond uncomfortable, and when the car is stopped, men wearing hazmat suits approach it. All this made for an undeniably spooky campaign.
Urban Decay’s influencer marketing campaign
Urban Decay’s 2019 Halloween campaign was all about influencer marketing and in recent years, the brand has shown that when it comes to social media, there are not many brands that are better than them. Using influencers who also use their products, Urban Decay showcased a wide variety of makeup ideas for Halloween, similar to the campaign launched by Jeffree Star Cosmetics.
However, Urban Decay went a step further by complementing the makeup ideas by uploading dedicated tutorials for each look on YouTube. The tutorials clearly explain how to use different cosmetic products from the brand to achieve incredibly spooky appearances on Halloween.
The Oreo Laboratorium marketing campaign
Back in 2014, Oreo’s Laboratorium marketing campaign for Halloween proved to be a huge success. The marketing campaign revolved around a fictional story about a lab straight out of those spooky horror movies, whose job was to turn Oreo biscuits into “nomsters”.
The five-day campaign revealed a wide variety of “nomsters” and Oreo fans were asked to name them, promising to reward the best entries with gifts. Not surprisingly, the campaign received thousands of entries from fans and was lauded for being one of the most iconic user-generated content (UGC) campaigns ever.
Chipotle’s Boo-rito TikTok Transformation campaign
Chipotle’s Boo-rito campaign has become somewhat familiar as it has made its presence felt every Halloween for the last few years. In 2019, the campaign really hit new heights as it partnered with social media app TikTok to promote its products. The campaign, titled TikTok Transformation, challenged Chipotle fans to make videos of themselves on TikTok before and after getting into their Halloween costumes.
The response was immense and there were some pretty spooky getups. The campaign awarded free burritos to the top five fans whose videos were liked the most for an entire year, nothing short of a sumptuous treat for burrito fans. Chipotle put in a lot of work to promote the campaign and they had help from renowned social media influencers such as Brittany Broski and Zach King, who had 1.4 million and 24.7 million followers on TikTok respectively, when the campaign was launched.
Halloween 2020 is just around the corner and after seeing the spooky yet really interesting and entertaining commercials and marketing campaigns listed above, we just can’t wait to see what the big names have in store this time around. One thing’s for sure; the campaigns can only keep getting better with each passing Halloween.