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Are brands scaring off their customers this Halloween?

by Owen
by Owen

For brands, it is challenging to find effective methods of engaging with customers and promoting their service or product. But Halloween is a chance for brands to take themselves less seriously and play on the annual holiday to engage customers in an entertaining way.

And many big brands are optimising on the Halloween witching-hour. Last year Sainsbury’s launched a bespoke app that distorts and changes voices to help bring characters to life. Oreo captured its fans’ interest by inviting them to name the “Nomsters” in their Halloween mini-series of stop-motion animations. This year, Burger King have launched a limited edition ‘Black Halloween Burger’ in Japan.

Many brands opt for the pranking method, including the likes of Ford and Samsung. Last year Ford spooked car owners with a car wash occupied by zombies and other gruesome characters. This is common for customer engagement because everyone enjoys seeing someone made a fool of, right? But as one of the more common tricks, brands have got to create original pranks for it (and their brand) to be memorable. This year Tesco prank customers in store, watch the video below:


It seems that Halloween is a time when brands compete to be the most memorable, and if your brand isn’t tapping in to the Halloween spirit, you will mostly likely be left for the zombies.

There is good cause to be competitive in this holiday market, with Halloween generating £275 million last year – no wonder brands are keen to make sure claws and eyes are on their brand.

But are brands alienating those who are not fans of the holiday? For businesses that exhaust the Halloween season, it can perhaps be a disadvantage to overdo the promotion, as people will remember them for being, simply, annoying. And this perception can linger, negatively influencing future buying decisions. This is particularly an issue for start-up brands or companies fairly new on the market. Big brands such as Sainsbury’s, Ford and Burger King who have built up their brand presence and customer loyalty, can afford to take risks at Halloween. However, as a first impression, an overbearing Halloween campaign can be off-putting for new customers and can be detrimental to the brand.

So how can brands get it right? Halloween can be beneficial for brands if they create a campaign that is memorable – for the right reasons. The scarier, or funnier, the better. Brands also need to succinctly target specific groups; the children’s demographic is largely a given, but don’t forget to engage adults! Social media is a great platform for promotion, particularly when people use hashtags to find inspiration. But it is important not to bombard customers’ feeds with constant Halloween themed posts.

halloween_sainsburys_twitterSainsbury’s Halloween Twitter homepage


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  • Author Owen
  • Position Managing Director
  • ID #0004H