Thursday, 29 October 2015

Trick or treat: A marketers guide to Halloween

My favourite day of the year is almost here! Happy HALLOWEEN! 

A recent survey found that 25% of all Australians plan on celebrating Halloween this year. This number is steadily growing year-on-year but is still relatively small when compared to the 64% of Americans who celebrate the festive holiday by spending an estimated $6.9 billion annually. With its growing significance in the minds of the consumers, many companies are looking for novel ways to tie in to the festival with playfully spooky advertising. 
Earlier this week, Coca-Cola South Pacific announced the launch of its new campaign ‘Tastes Like’ Halloween. Through an integrated marketing campaign the brand will look to target both mums and teenagers. The brand manager for Fanta, Ramona Spiteri, said, "The 'Tastes Like' Halloween campaign is a direct reaction to the increasing popularity of Halloween celebrations in Australia and its role in driving significant growth across products in the Fanta portfolio in recent years.”


Over in the UK, Burger King has released its infamous “black burger” just in time for Halloween.  However, this won’t be the same as the Japanese version of the burger, which comes with black cheese made from bamboo charcoal and sauce coloured with squid ink. Instead it will feature traditional whopper fillings but with an unusually dark sesame seed bun. Burger Kings director of marketing, Matthew Bresnahan, said, ‘'We love creating new and innovative experiences for our guests and we felt that Halloween was the perfect occasion to satisfy this demand!'


Perhaps my favourite Halloween themed campaign came last year from Oreo. In the Oreo Laboratorium they cooked up the idea of the spooky cookie creatures called ‘nomsters’.
Each day the cookie manufacturer created new videos using stop-motion technology and invited fans around the globe to suggest new names for their creations. I think this is a really great example of how to successfully engage your social media community through Twitter and Facebook to become more involved with the product.


The award for the most frightening marketing campaign goes to the website, who dared customers to stay at some of its most haunted properties during the scariest week of the year. In 2013, the hotel booking website picked its most haunted hotels and created scary movie style posters for each with accompanying horror stories for its “stay if you dare” campaign. The pick of the bunch was for The Stanley Hotel, which is best known for its role in the Stephen King novel “The Shining”. They also featured the historic Gettysburg Hotel, whose resident Civil War ghost nurse Rachel is said to walk the hallways at night waking residents.


Robert Brunning
Current student in the
Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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