3 Brands, 3 Social Media Strategies for Halloween

You can count on Halloween to bring out the creativity in consumers – and in brands, too. In years past we’ve seen marketers go dark and devilish, embrace the afterlife, and haunt customers’ homes.

Microsites and display ads are a popular choice for promoting products in the context of Halloween, but this year’s offerings also rely heavily on social media. Here are a few of favorites, and a look at the strategies behind them.

Make a Long-Running Campaign More Relevant

Brands are sometimes at a loss when it comes to holidays. They don’t want it to look as if they’re desperate to be seasonally relevant, yet stay relevant they must. Capital One’s solution? Update an existing social media campaign.

Recently, the brand created a Vine video offering a Halloween-themed tip on how to preserve pumpkins, and shared the clip on Twitter as part of a “Halloween Hacks” campaign. It was a nod to a long-running marketing program promoting its Quicksilver card, in which Capital One used the “hack” theme and hashtag #KaCHING to reflect the cash back bonus feature of the card. After a social listening effort conducted several years ago revealed that the word “kaching” was most often used in association with “winning moments,” the brand appropriated it for its Quicksilver campaign and has been using it ever since. Capital One has posted captioned images displaying hacks for everything from organizing one’s closet to planning a wedding, but the recent Halloween editions serve to make the already familiar theme more timely.


Create a Memorable Halloween Experience

As a go-to for Halloween goodies, Target is taking advantage of the season by turning its Instagram page into an interactive, gamified experience. Since September the retailer has been posting themed images promoting products like costumes, candy, and Ghostbusters LEGO sets, but last week it launched a social media experience called “Halloween Hills.” A series of paired images work together to create a spooky neighborhood scene, and users can choose to click on either a “trick” or “treat” link. Their choice leads them to a separate, project-specific Instagram account, where they can access Halloween recipes (the treat) or a do-it-yourself craft (the trick).



Relying on the #HalloweenHills hashtag and the campaign’s taggable images to promote the effort, Target will upload additional scenes in the days to come (the program ends on October 31). Already some of the 30 project accounts have upward of 500 followers. Important to note is that the campaign capitalizes on Instagram’s photo-rich format. Each of the 300 images the brand will ultimately post equates to a step in the DIY project creation process, making it easy for consumers to follow along.

Leverage Technology, Online and Off

Beer brand Dos Equis is inviting adult Halloween lovers to participate in a seasonal social media campaign in exchange for a chance to win a trip to New Orleans for the brand’s Masquerade “extravaganza” next month. With Halloween now “the sixth biggest beer-selling occasion of the year” (http://heinekenusa.com/press-releases/details-dos-equis-2014-interesting-masquerade-program-revealed-2/), the brand invested in digital and TV ads to promote its sweepstakes.

In addition to posting a photo of themselves in costume to Instagram using the hashtag #XXMasquerade, participants are being asked to email or text a picture of their product receipt to the brand. Each image represents a chance to win. On the Dos Equis YouTube channel, the company has shared teaser videos for the sweepstakes (to be followed by a longer, interactive video this month). Every element of the campaign features The Most Interesting Man in the World, the brand’s fictional spokesperson and long-time star of its ads.

Consumers who don’t win the grand prize can still participate in the campaign through virtual reality. According to reports, the Masquerade theme will extend offline to bars, where fans will be able to use headsets to attend a “virtual Masquerade bash.” The majority of campaign activity, however, takes place on the brand’s Facebook page, where additional teaser videos and images with Halloween-themed captions can be found.


It isn’t too late to weave some elements of Halloween into your social media strategy. For consumers, a relevant and entertaining take on the season can be a real treat.

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