Killing it: How to create a successful Halloween campaign

Hayley Coleby, head of social at The PHA Group, takes a look at past successful social media campaigns and explains what brands can learn from them.

A pile of pumpkins.

Halloween is upon us once again and whether you love it or hate it, it’s a significant opportunity for brands to reach engaged audiences. But how can you ensure your social media campaign doesn’t turn into a nightmare this Halloween? Brands need only look to the past for inspiration.

Using influencers

Brands can use influencers to reach younger users effectively. Authenticity will be key to success and finding a unique campaign angle can support this. Dior is a great example of how to use influencers in its Halloween content. The #DiorMakeUpHalloween campaign used celebrity, Bella Hadid, to promote its long-term usability products and showcase how to use them to create seasonal looks. It featured video content from its YouTube channel across other platforms. With the rise in awareness of single-use plastics, many consumers may be wary of adding to waste disposal this year by buying costumes – making make-up campaigns particularly powerful.

Getting into the Halloween spirit

Dior proves that you don’t need to be a scary or alternative brand to get into the Halloween spirit. And Fanta is another mainstream brand which has been able to capitalise on the heightened consumer engagement at this time of year.

Halloween is particularly relevant for Fanta, providing an opportunity for the soft drinks brand to reach younger audiences who make up a large portion of its key target market. Its Snapchat campaign ran in 2019 across Europe and used Snapcodes on exclusive Fanta packs to unlock two face lenses on the platform. On the day of Halloween itself, a new national lens was released by Fanta with Snap adverts building engagement on the platform in the run-up to the day itself to raise further awareness of the lenses.

Halloween campaigns on a budget

You don’t need to be a household brand like Dior and Fanta either to give your competitors a scare at Halloween. You can run seasonal social media campaigns on a budget. Online fashion retailer Boohoo for example simply repurposed a well-known viral video, while brands can also re-use popular gifs and memes and add personalised captions or relevant context to amplify engagement at this time of year.

The rise of TikTok in particular has given brands new opportunities to use viral content to build awareness and engagement. By looking through trends from the past year and reinvigorating TikTok videos with a spooky twist, brands can present themselves as relevant to modern culture or to a particular audience.

Rubies showed us how to successfully market its products at Halloween on a budget, by suggesting ways consumers can create a spooky sanitiser station during the lockdowns.

Halloween in the post-pandemic era

In person events are still a great way to create genuine user-generated content (UGC) and brand awareness. However, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has of course elevated the importance of having an online presence and social media marketing strategy at key consumer events such as Halloween. Those brands which are once again planning live events at Halloween this year as we continue to emerge from the pandemic must join the dots between online and offline.

It’s important to remember that Halloween is a global interest, so engaging consumers who can’t attend via social media will be key. And ensuring the event itself is COVID safe is still extremely important to demonstrate the brand is responsible.

As important as it is for brands to engage with Halloween on and around the event itself, it is also a useful opportunity for brands to test their marketing strategies ahead of the busy festive period including Christmas and Black Friday.

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