3 Scary Good Halloween-Themed Marketing Tactics

Marketing around any holiday can be a little tricky. Some people cringe at Memorial Day sales that have nothing to do with the holiday itself, while others roll their eyes when companies try too hard to make their ads fit into a holiday theme. (Not every winter ad has to feature Santa!) This leaves many marketers wondering how to strike the perfect balance between relevance to the holiday and brand authenticity. What does this look like?

Well, we’ve found three examples that we think do Halloween justice. These innovative companies prove you don’t have to work for a haunted house or a costume shop to effectively use Halloween tricks and treats in your marketing strategy. Take a look at how Tesco, Vivino, and Airbnb are effectively advertising their products and services using Halloween themes — and how you can use their tactics in your own marketing. Whether you’re planning for a winter holiday campaign — it’s almost that time of year! — or just want some fresh ideas, read on for some scary good inspiration.

1. The Tesco Spookermarket

British supermarket chain Tesco has made quite a splash with this video of their employees spooking (and, for the most part, delighting) their customers. The video has racked up nearly 1.3 million views in less than a week. Why Halloween, though? According to Campaign magazine, Halloween is now “the third biggest retail event in the UK calendar, after Christmas and Easter, with people spending between £300 million and £400 million on items connected with the day.” Enough said.

Steal it: Give your customers an experience to remember! Whether that means developing interactive content for your trade show booth (like we did at Dreamforce this year) or throwing a VIP holiday party for your prospective customers, be unforgettable. As Andrew Broadbent of 17 Agency points out, “The purpose [of experiences] is to reach people on multiple levels (emotional, rational, psychological) so that they walk away . . . remembering what it was like to touch, taste, and feel the product rather than just reading about it.” Well said — and I would add that experiences are also an excellent way to show customers your company culture and earn their trust.

Of course, you probably can’t reach every single customer in person — so follow Tesco’s lead and create a post-event piece of content that’s accessible to everyone.

Want more inspiration for creating an unforgettable experiential marketing strategy? Check out these resources:

2. Vivino’s Candy & Wine Match Maker

Vivino's Ultimate Guide To Pairing Wine with Halloween Candy

When you think of wine, what comes to mind? A romantic candlelit dinner? A lush Italian vineyard, perhaps? Individually wrapped candy?

One of these things is not like the other — but wine app Vivino is trying to change that. For the second year in a row, the company released The Candy & Wine Match Maker, an interactive infographic (embedded in static form above) designed to help adults survive the kid-focused holiday. You know, when they put it that way, Reese’s and Pinot actually sound pretty darn good together.

Steal it: Create visual content that positions your product or service in a new way.

“Okay,” you may be thinking, “but I work in B2B marketing, and my product is not quite as exciting as a wine app.”

We feel you; after all, we’re B2B marketers too! But let’s look at one example of using visual content to switch up your strategy. Let’s say you work at a SaaS company and usually market to the C-suite. You could change it up by creating a holiday campaign aimed at mid-level employees instead. Provide them with a physical or virtual asset (like a holiday card) they can use to pitch your software as a holiday gift to their bosses, showing how it will make their jobs easier and be the gift that keeps on giving.

3. Airbnb’s Paris Catacombs Contest


Airbnb created an otherworldly Halloween contest this year when they offered two lucky people the chance to spend a night in the infamous Paris catacombs. To enter, would-be adventurers had to visit their website and share why they think they’re brave enough to sleep in the catacombs. I love this idea because it separates the bold from the timid — and if you ask me, you have to be at least a little bold to use Airbnb to rent your apartment to a complete stranger.

Steal it: Hold a contest that will bring traffic to your website, inform people about your product, and generate buzz. For prizes, you could always go the more traditional route with gift cards or branded swag, but I recommend getting a little more creative. Sure, maybe you don’t have the budget (or the connections) to pull off a catacomb sleepover, but why not offer something else unique as a prize — like lunch with your CEO?

Bonus: Business-specific contests are more likely to generate leads you can actually use. Virtually anyone is willing to fill out a form for the chance to win an Amazon gift card, but a more personalized prize that’s specific to your product or industry will bring in higher quality leads.

So, what do you think about holiday-themed marketing? Do these ideas resonate with you? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments; we’d love to hear from you.

Happy Halloween, marketers! ☠