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Trick-or-treating next Tuesday? Halloween is now one of the biggest retail events of the year in the UK, with consumers predicted to spend a mammoth £320 million on Halloween goods in 2017.

Some of the world's most famous brands use Halloween as a key marketing opportunity, launching campaigns to push awareness of their brand before the Christmas countdown begins.

Whatever your business, it's easier than you might think to cash-in on the Halloween trend. From decorating your shop window to launching an online contest, it's not too late to join in.

With just under a week until the big day, we've looked back on 3 of the top Halloween marketing campaigns in recent years to hit our Twitter feeds, TV screens and er...drinking establishments.

Airbnb (2015) – the online competition

Thanks to the rise of social media, it's now easier than ever to connect online with your customers. In 2015, home rental website Airbnb offered two 'lucky' people the chance to experience an over-night stay on Halloween in the sprawling Catacombs in Paris, a major tourist attraction and home to 6 million dead 'souls'.

To enter the contest, prospective visitors took to the website to say why they were brave enough to stay the night.


Airbnb's eerie setup in the Paris Catacombs. Image source: CNN

Airbnb's 'Night At' series caught on and the following year the company offered the night at Bran Castle, otherwise known as Dracula's Castle, in Transylvania. Airbnb shared the competition on Twitter and received over 100 retweets and 300 likes between the 17th-31st October, with Meltwater's social media data reporting that there were around 4964 conversations on social media discussing the campaign (Source: http://www.thedrum.com/). The competition winners beat a whopping 88,000 others to the prize, proving just how powerful social media is for generating interest in a competition or brand.

Guinness (2009) – the gimmick

In an effort to reach new customers, Guinness released a range of promotional beer coasters in Romania where the brand had struggled to gain popularity due to its niche taste and colour. Making the most of these suitably Halloweeny characteristics, advertisers created dark 'shadow' coasters in the shape of ghosts and devils to mimic the genuine shadow cast by a Guinness pint glass. Handed out in pubs all over Romania, fans and new Guinness converts purchased multiple pints and the coasters proved to be a simple and low cost but highly effective strategy.

Guinness's ghoulish beer mats. Image Source: ODM Group


Snickers (2012) – the TV ad

Famous for their hauntingly successful Halloween adverts, Snickers scored an unlikely hit in 2012 with their Headless Horseman parody: the Horseless Headsman. In the ad, a group of seasoned young trick or treaters encounter the Horseless Headsman and are hilariously unaffected by his odd but non-terrifying appearance. Out of pity, one of the jaded children offers the Horseman a Snickers – a move which changes him back into his traditional guise of the Headless Horseman. Proudly frightening away the children, the familiar tagline affirms: “You're not you when you're hungry.” A simple play on words, but high in comedic effect.


Feeling inspired? It's not too late to get your business ready for Halloween! Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages between now and next Tuesday to get daily marketing tips that'll help you grab new customers.

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