We’ve all been there. You walk into CVS on the first day of September, and suddenly everywhere you look – spiders, candy corn, and buckets with creepy rubber hands that grab you where the paper towels used to be. That’s right. Halloween is upon us, which means brands are offering up their sweetest tricks and treats.
According to the National Retail Federation’s 2015 Halloween Consumer Survey, more than 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, and spending will top $6.9 billion. Which demographic will be most likely to buy their dachshund a hotdog costume and share ridiculous photos with their family and friends? You guessed it: millennials. 81% of millennial shoppers are planning to celebrate Halloween, and many will use Instagram to showcase the fun.
So, how are brands planning to engage consumers and create scary-good content for Halloween? It’s a holiday that represents a huge opportunity across a number of industries: CPG, food and beverage, beauty, apparel, retail … the list goes on. In the spirit of Halloween, here are four creative strategies that are wicked awesome – and smart.
1. Reinvent your products with a Halloween hashtag.
Two brands with completely different offerings, Bath & Body Works and Hot Topic, are using hashtag campaigns to infuse their year-round best-sellers with Halloween themes.
Let’s start with Bath & Body Works. The brand is promoting two hashtags—#GhoulFriends and #spooktacular—to give their perennial products a Halloween twist. On Instagram, for instance, day-to-day items are being reinvented for the occassion, with catchy packaging and slogans such as ‘berry scary,’ ‘vampire blood,’ and ‘purrfect potion.’
Meanwhile, Hot Topic’s #CostumesToDieFor campaign juxtaposes their eclectic, edgy apparel with over-the-top costume ideas (think retro Star Wars, singer Melanie Martinez, and Nightmare Before Christmas). By tapping into their audience’s interests, Hot Topic successfully inserts their products into the conversation during a time of year when their customers might look elsewhere for a costume.
Sweeten the Deal:
Few things are scarier than a stymied sale. In addition to spook-tacular imagery, something else Bath & Body Works and Hot Topic share in common is their use of Curalate Like2Buy, which creates a simple path from Instagram images to product pages. With Like2Buy, both brands enable discovery and shopping, turning Instagram into a mobile revenue driver.
2. Get the whole family involved.
PetSmart is leveraging user-generated content (UGC) to sell the cutest of costumes, and the potential is huge:
20 million Americans plan to spend money on a costume for their pet this year.
Their #MonsterCute photo contest invites customers to share photos of their dressed-up pets for a chance to be featured on the brand’s website. The benefit is two-fold. For one, the campaign enables PetSmart to extend the conversation with their customers well beyond the initial sale. More importantly, by sharing photos of their pets, PetSmart shoppers are actually marketing the brand and the #MonsterCute campaign.
Sweeten the Deal:
Bring your customers into the conversation. Ask happy shoppers to get involved by sharing a photo and tagging your brand. And be sure to share this content with your audience, on your social channels, in emails, and on your website. Before going live, ask for permission, and credit the person behind the lens.
3. Get your content discovered in creative ways.
Instagram enabled the ability to search for emojis by hashtag in May, which means that this Halloween is the Jack-O-Lantern’s official debut.
More than one brand is taking notice. By tagging Instagram images with #?, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Talenti Gelato, and Yankee Candle are enabling their Halloween content to be discovered within Instagram’s discovery feed. Additionally, this tactic demonstrates the ability to tap into consumer trends. It’s frighteningly simple – and savvy!
Sweeten the Deal:
Hashtag campaigns don’t have to include your brand or product name to be effective. By incorporating hashtagged emojis, you can promote your products in a hyper-relevant way, while exposing your content to more users.
4. Create seasonal how-tos and DIY content.
Everyone from millennials to moms are vying for the best dessert, costume or cocktail to bring to their Halloween gathering, and brands are now sharing videos, guides and other tutorials to provide inspiration and ideas.
Kraft Foods, for example, is promoting how-to videos for fall desserts, like ‘Frankenstein’s Brain’ and ‘Great Pumpkin Cake,’ using Jell-O and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Similarly, Sephora is bringing back a successful campaign from last Halloween, publishing costume and makeup tips across their website alongside products that Halloween-goers can buy.
Sweeten the Deal:
Offer guidance by sharing instructional content. It’s a great way to build your reputation and ensure that your products remain top-of-mind.
The average American spends approximately $74 on Halloween items, typically divided between costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards. In other words, brands of all shapes, sizes and industries have an opportunity to build their customer base across different channels and join in on the fun. Present your most-loved products in spirited ways, share holiday how-tos, and encourage your customers to get in on the fun for sweet, sweet success.