6 Times Halloween Marketing Was Spookily Smart

While Thanksgiving and Christmas get most of marketers’ attention (and budget!), Halloween is a great time to target your audience in fun and unexpected ways. We put together a list of six of our favorite Halloween marketing campaigns and one-offs to get you inspired to scare attract your customers this time of year. 


The Paris Catacombs is a well-known destination for tourists looking for a few good scares with a healthy dose of history. Just the thought of traversing the eerie tunnels—containing the bones of some millions of Parisians—can give people nightmares. But back in 2015, Airbnb selected two “lucky” guests to spend Halloween night in this terrifying location. The activation received tons of submissions and tons of impressions worldwide. 


For some good ol’ rivalry, one needs to look no further than Pepsi and Coke. In 2013, Pepsi came up with one quick, smart print ad idea: a can of Pepsi dressed up in a Halloween “costume” that was basically a Coke cape. But a Coke enthusiast had the last laugh—an anonymous user online changed the headline from “We wish you a scary Halloween!” to “Everybody wants to be a hero!” (We’re big fans of fan-generated ads!) 


Reese’s knows a thing or two about trick and treaters—for example, few things are as disappointing as not getting Reese’s on Halloween. That’s why, in 2018, they came up with a brilliant idea: a vending machine where lame candy goes in, and Reese’s comes out. Trading never tasted so good. 


Burger King is known for its incredible activations and promotions targeting McDonald’s and, in 2017, it came up with a hilarious idea: Any customers who showed up at a BK location on Halloween wearing a clown costume would get a free Whopper. The result? Thousands of customers ate for free—and BK generated tons of content featuring fake Ronald McDonalds eating delicious Whoppers. 


  Skittles may be among most trick or treaters’ favorite candies, but in 2019, the brand came up with a not-so-tasty activation: Zombie Skittles. This seemingly ordinary package came with five regular flavors plus a “rotten zombie” flavored candy. When the rotten zombie candy was described as tasting “utterly disgusting” and like “rotten cabbage” by brave tasters who dared to try their luck, the #DareTheRainbow activation was a success! 

That time Svedka Vodka launched an online campaign that haunted users Let’s face it: Users consider retargeting ads to be, well, a bit of an online curse. With this insight in mind, Svedka Vodka launched a Halloween campaign in 2017 with messages that taunted and haunted users until they visited Svedka’s microsite to lift the curse. The word spooky isn’t scary enough to describe this activation! 


Do you have a favorite Halloween advertising campaign? Share with us in the comments! 

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