Halloween Marketing

Halloween Marketing: Brands That Embrace the “Boo”

By: Erin Robinson

Halloween has evolved into a major consumer holiday, with an estimated $6.9 billion in spending in 2015. While that figure is down from its height in 2012, it’s clear that Halloween has gone from a modest retail holiday with kids wearing a simple white sheet to parade around as a ghost to an empire, partially as a result of the influence of media and social media in disseminating the most popular costumes, candy and Halloween movies so widely.

Think about it—character-based companies like Disney have a whole stream of revenue based on costumes, and social media has created essentially a worldwide costume contest, not to mention that great Halloween costume idea you can find in Pinterest.

So, it’s no surprise that many notable brands are embracing this spooktacular occasion with major marketing campaigns—and not just the candy companies. From Crest and Oral-B (yes, the toothpaste and toothbrush brands) to Target, retailers are hopping on the haunted hayride. Of course, the sweet treats are playing their respective roles, as well. Let’s take a look at some of the most creative and effective Halloween marketing campaigns of the past few years.

The (Cutest) Curveball

Rather than hide from the holiday that is the arch enemy of oral hygiene, Crest and Oral-B seized the opportunity to highlight the other negative effects of candy than a few cavities—real life ravenous little monsters.

This campaign, which featured a series of hilarious videos, reportedly garnered 7.3MM views, not to mention a 3% spike in sales for the brands in a 4-week period.

Cookie Monster

The ad agency for Milk’s Favorite Cookie channeled its inner Tim Burton in its 2014 “Laboratorium” campaign, a series of short films creating “nomsters” out of Oreo cookies combined with common Halloween candy. The Mini Oreo Snack Trap, made in a beaker from a jelly bean, is my personal favorite.


Pumpkin Artistry
Snickers capitalized on the artful pumpkin carving trend of the past couple years in its 2015 ad campaign, featuring a scary talented pumpkin carver in a commercial that conjures the familiar fears of a horror film.

Photo by Kyle Nishioka CC BY 2.0

As far as I’m concerned, Target has simply outdone itself this year, launching a six-part, interactive YouTube video campaign that enables viewers to shop for the products featured in the video…from the video!

Imagine—Kids can enjoy a 360 degree Haunted Dining Hall while their parents shop for the items they’re requesting. With a 10% discount, of course. It’s marketing genius that not only acknowledges, but exploits the command multimedia in general (and video in particular) has on our lives.
So, who’s ready to watch Hocus Pocus? Happy Halloween!