When it comes to holidays, arguably none is better suited for experiential marketing campaigns than Halloween. After you check out these examples, we think you will agree.
From candy to costumes, Halloween is a massive industry. This year, the US alone is predicted to spend $9.1 billion in Halloween expenditures. That’s a lot of pumpkins! But the merits of Halloween go beyond numbers. It’s one of the only holidays that thoroughly captures the imagination of people, regardless of age...or fear of clowns.
If you’re a marketer, this holiday season is a great time to build your brand through Halloween-themed experiential campaigns that pook, scare, or frighten your customers into engaging more with your brand. The choices may be limitless, but you don’t want to get lost amongst the thousands of others who are launching their campaigns.
Instead, try out an experiential marketing campaign to really engage your customers. From an interactive ‘Stranger Things’ display to a horror movie marathon with clowns to a night in a catacomb, these activations take Halloween to the next level.
Let’s take a look at how these brands are using experiential marketing campaigns to capture the imaginations of both their prospects and customers.
Table of Contents
- Stranger Things x Topshop
- Budweiser Halloween Takeover
- Burger King #ScaryClownNight
- Twin Peaks Pop-Up
- GiffGaff’s Halloween Salon
- Kraken Scream Fest
- M&M’s Interactive Ghost Story
- Skittles #31SkittlesDonation
- Svedka’s Stalking Banners
- Fanta: The 13th Floor
- Veero’s VR Horror
- ABP Secret Rave
- “IT” Haunted House
- Kellogg’s AR Trick or Treat
- Asda’s Halloween Face Filter
- LG Elevator Prank
- Ford Spooky Car Wash Prank
- Marks & Spencer’s Little Shwop of Horrors
- Airbnb Night in the Catacombs
- Carrie Coffee Shop Surprise
1) Stranger Things x Topshop
Photo source: Creative Review
Topshop is working with Netflix to bring an immersive ‘Stranger Things’ experience to customers this October. A full line of merchandise including t-shirts, hats, and bags will be sold in select stores. Customers are also able to step into Will Byer’s hideout, Joyce’s living room, or even the mysterious Hawkins lab. Stores will also be hosting a competition to win tickets for a viewing of the new season.
Budweiser is attempting to do what no brand has done—claim Halloween. Their “Join the Fearless” campaign launched in 17 countries where Halloween doesn’t exist. The beer company is introducing the holiday and own it in these countries. Through their own Halloween anthem, “Touch” by Kehlani Parrish and hosting their own Budweiser Halloween parties and events, the brand hopes these activations will bring in thousands of new customers all over the globe.
Burger King and McDonald’s have been long time rivals. And once again, Burger King is poking fun at their competitor for Halloween. The 90-second ad shows a young boy coming face-to-face with a clown that looks strikingly like Ronald McDonald and is then chased by a mass of clowns to a Burger King. The ending tagline is, “Come as a clown, eat like a king”. On October 31st starting at 7pm, the burger restaurant will be giving out free whoppers any guests dressed in a clown costume. Sorry, McDonald’s.
Photo source: NBC LA
Showtime is bringing their critically acclaimed show, Twin Peaks, to life for only one week in October. The Double R Diner will take over LA for a special Halloween pop-up featuring “Costumes, Collectibles, Coffee, & more.” Merchandise like Double R baseball caps and coffee mugs that read "Damn Good Joe," will be available for sale as well.
In response to the huge success of their Halloween Salon last year, the mobile network provider is bringing the event back again for bigger and better experience. Now with two levels, the salon features makeup artists that will offer scary makeovers to guests before they head out for the night. New this year is the “Nail Rave” along with a bar in the basement.
Photo source: The Spirits Business
Nothing is scarier than watching a horror movie about clowns while these clowns are surrounding you in the theater. Kraken Black Spiced Rum is taking full advantage of the Halloween season to promote their brand. The drink company launched an initiative called Screamfest that will host horror movie screenings with Kraken-themed clowns. There have been activations all over the UK and venues will also feature special cocktails, giveaways, and a scream-activated photobooth.
A post shared by M&M'S (@mmschocolate) on
Starting at the end of September, M&M’s has been telling an interactive ghost story through 30-second videos across their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The series is titled "Millie & Max: A Ghost Story" and the animated clips ask viewers to vote on decision for the main character at the end of the videos. Viewers can then see the most popular choice played out in the following episode.
Photo source: Media in Canada
Trick or Treat? Skittles have opted for treat. In their one-day experiential marketing campaign, the candy company installed a Skittles vending machine in Toronto on Friday the 13th. To receive a handful of free skittles, participants had to tweet “#Skittles31Donation” which donated 31 cents Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada. Although the free candy is gone now, the tweet promotion will last until October 31st.
Just like the killer that follows the victim throughout the movie, these targeted banners will track your every move online and will appear in an ad banner at every site. Svedka Vodka’s “Banner Ad Curse” locks in on a victim once they watch a forced-view pre-roll video. From then on, the wave of targeted banner ads that include specific information like location and time will begin. These include some phrases like, “I heart following you around New York,” and “You shouldn’t be up this late”. The only way to break the curse is to push it onto a friend. This may be more of a digital marketing tactic, but we'll darned if it doesn't create quite an experience.
Getting in an elevator accident can be a worst fear for many. Being stuck in a small space surrounded by people is a frightening situation. And this fear is exactly what Fanta is replicating with their VR experience in two locations in England. Guests will enter an elevator that simulates a “crash” as they eventually are taken to the 13th floor for a Halloween party and other scary surprises. Along with this experiential marketing campaign, Fanta is also introducing new spooky designs on their cans that will be released worldwide.
@bonathanmetcalf at Haunted Cinema this lunchtime. What did you have for lunch?! 😈👻 🎃 . . . #vr #cinema #london #halloween #virtualreality #scarymovie #popup #scary #spooky #zombie #movie #film #theatre #london #cinema #startup #venture #business #popupshop #horror #horrornights #horrormovies #vrcinema
A post shared by Veero. (@veero_vr) on
Veero is a virtual reality cinema company that is setting up a permanent location in London soon. In order to build their hype, the company has teamed up with Wearecinema, a pop-up cinema company, to create “Halloween Cinema”. Guests will get to experience a range of horror films using the VR headsets. The temporary installation aims to introduce VR cinema has a social experience to the city.
The Singaporean beer company, Asia Pacific Breweries, is launching a brand activation event titled “Desperados Secret Halloween Rave”. The company has released several teaser videos to bring awareness to the rave party. The idea behind the event is to target young millennials between 18 and 24 and show them how Desperados beer is, “unconventional and dares to be creative.”
Photo source: Timeout
The 1990s horror movie haunted kids back in the day and the 2017 remake is haunted kids now. Warner Bros. Entertainment is hoping to continue to scare you with the “IT” haunted house in Hollywood. The house features animatronics, projections and live actors that will make you feel like you are living the nightmare in the movie. Maybe Burger King’s depiction of Ronald McDonald and the Kraken clowns will be hiding in here as well...
Photo source: B&T
Gone are the days of finding small toys in cereal boxes. Instead, the toy is on your phone. Kellogg is working with Shazam’s augmented reality technology to create memorable Halloween experiences for families. Scanning the Shazam code on Kellogg’s cereal boxes will reward kids with fun Halloween activities like slime thrown in the face, a hula-hooping mummy and a cheeky ghost. And for parents, the code will link to Halloween recipes like ‘Rice Bubble Bats’ and ‘Coco Pops Skeletons’.
The UK supermarket retailer giant launched a Halloween TV ad that connects directly to your mobile device. When viewers Shazam the ad below, they will immediately be brought to an augmented reality face filter that sings along to the TV soundtrack.
Now let’s look at some hauntingly good examples of experiential marketing campaigns from the past!
A few years ago, LG wanted to showcase their new “lifelike” IPS monitors. And to show how realistic their displayed images could be, the company installed nine monitors into an elevator that played a video of an elevator floor breaking after anyone stepped in. The result? A hilarious viral video (over 40 million views) of people frightened by the floor “falling” through.
Ford decided to prank a few of their customers through a car wash that ambushed drivers with creepy masked figures. At first, the participants believed they were on their way to test drive a car and were just stopping for a quick car wash. But they were met with a haunted house experience while trapped in their car.
Photo source: EveningStandard
This pop-up shop was the one stop for all of your Halloween needs with a philanthropic twist. Marks & Spencer’s hosted a Halloween-themed clothes recycling shop called the “Little Shwop of Horrors”. Customers could bring in old costumes or clothes and “shwop” for a new one. The store worked with Oxfam and has raised millions of pounds from this program. Celebrities like Joanna Lumley, Angela Scanlon, and Jessie J all endorsed the event.
Photo source: Airbnb
Would you ever be brave enough to spend the night with the remains of six million people? Pedro Arruda was. Two years ago, Airbnb offered a chance to win a night in the Paris Catacombs and Pedro was the lucky winner. The trip also included a free concert and dinner.
With nearly 70 million views on Youtube, this video brilliantly marketed the 2013 remake of Stephen King’s “Carrie” through a fun prank video. MGM Films staged a scene of a woman getting angry and using her telekinetic powers to create chaos, much to the shock of some unsuspecting customers.
If you’re interested in more Halloween-themed event marketing content, check out these 9 marketing nightmares and make sure you avoid them when planning your holiday campaigns.