Responsive Advertising Blog

4 Surprising Ways Retailers are Selling Halloween 2015

3 minute read

For the innovative marketer, an event like Halloween offers exciting opportunities—particularly in the ever-evolving arena of content marketing. If you’re thinking of Halloween as a fleeting minor holiday that’s not worthy of much marketing investment, think again: increasing adult participation has turned Halloween into an $8 billion industry. In fact, 13 percent of adults ages 18 to 44 list Halloween as their favorite holiday. 

These companies are making the most of Halloween fervor with creative campaigns designed to engage their markets:

Chipotle Builds on Viral Video History

Chipotle Mexican Grill was building on a solid history of customer engagement when the company targeted the larger world of prospective customers and brand ambassadors with the short film “Back to the Start” in 2012. Chipotle has continued to build on that foundation in the intervening years, and this Halloween is no exception.

True to the company’s video history, the Halloween offering is both entertaining designed to deliver information that promotes the company (this one involves a long chain of workers waiting to inject additives into the food before handing it off—they’re “using fresh colloquially”). And, the video ends with a direct invitation: come to Chipotle on Halloween evening with “something unnecessary” on your costume and they’ll gift you a $3 burrito.

Target Turns Content into Sales

Retail giant Target has taken marketing through storytelling to a whole new level this Halloween. Target’s Halloween video series simulates an adventure game. You can navigate the room, peeking into corners and shifting your perspective. But, that’s only the beginning. The real genius lies in the tie-in to Target’s retail website.

When a viewer sees something he likes in one of the rooms, he can simply click “shop this room” to visit a web page where he can order items featured in that room. The shopping page automatically opens in a new window, of course, so the consumer can quickly return to the adventure (and find more items to purchase) after picking up his favorites.

M.A.C. Cosmetics Shows Us How Halloween is Done Right

M.A.C. knows make-up, and Halloween is all about creating illusions. So, the company is showing us how it’s done in style. Few trick-or-treaters are likely to reach the bar set by M.A.C.’s artistry, but that doesn’t make them any less intriguing.

The company is using social media, including Pinterest and Instagram, to showcase some amazing artistry—along with suggestions for the M.A.C. cosmetics that would help achieve a similar look, of course. M.A.C.’s YouTube channel even includes step-by-step instructions for creating some of their featured looks.

Little Caesar’s Dabbles in Reverse Psychology

Knowing that few people can resist a “never open this door” type of warning, Little Caesar’s Pizza leads off its Halloween campaign by warning you not to enter your address into a text field on an otherwise largely blank page.

If you’re brave or foolhardy enough to type in your address, you’ll receive a notification that your house is haunted. Lest you’re skeptical, you’ll see proof: video-game-style cartoon ghosts circling over your building via Google street view. Click to “unhaunt” your place and directions to the nearest Little Caesar’s location will appear. If the power of suggestion isn’t enough to get you to pop out and pick up a pizza, maybe it will work on your friends: the experience ends with an opportunity to share the “warning” with your social networks so they don’t make the same mistake you did.

These are just a few of the creative ways companies are getting in the game for Halloween, combining branding, customer engagement and direct sales pitches into experiences that don’t feel like advertising. Like it? That's because it's different. And so is Marketing Architects. If you're looking for out-of-the-box marketing strategies for your product, give us a call today.

Brent Longval

By Brent Longval

Chief Financial Officer

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