How Brands Have Responded To Halloween In 2020 | Velstar - Velstar

A COVID Haunted Holiday: How Brands Have Responded to Halloween in 2020

Digital Marketing


It’s fair to say, this will be the strangest Halloween in history. Further lockdown restrictions will make the usual ‘trick or treating’ impossible and Halloween parties a no go. This has forced many brands to rethink their marketing strategies. And work overtime to ensure they continue to connect with their customers who remain on lockdown. 

Here, we delve into some of the best marketing tactics brands have used during the months leading up to Halloween 2020. There are some frightfully good ones, we must say: 

Marvelled with augmented reality 

This year marketers have gone deeper than ever before with augmented reality (AR) in an attempt to recreate in-person experiences. Igniting consumers sense of discovery and imagination all from their mobile phones. 

Brands from every vertical have capitalised on this growing trend to bring their customers a spooktacular experience. Using and commissioning filters for advertising purposes, these brands are able to tap into a captive audience. 

For example, NYX Cosmetics used AR for its Haunted Dollshouse campaign this Halloween. The brand leveraged the power of customised filters to promote its collaboration with special-effects makeup artist Mimi Choi. Coupled with step-by-step tutorials on how to re-recreate each look, NYX allowed its customers to celebrate Halloween from the safety of their own home. 

Beer and wine giant, Constellation Brands leant towards AR during this holiday by overhauling its packaging on selected products with a Day of the Dead theme. Once purchased consumers can scan the QR code and watch their bottles comes to life with spooktacular AR graphics. 

Finally, McDonald’s Canada’s campaign: #BringHalloweenHome uses branded AR to offer its customers an interactive experience that mimics trick or treating, in an attempt to entice customers to order delivery. 

AR is a simple, yet impactful way to drive brand awareness and we expect this trend to continue way after the holiday season.

Gruesome giveaways and creepy competitions 

Competitions and giveaways are a great way to drive engagement and keep your brand at top of mind. And let’s face it, consumers love a freebie. 

An example of a brand that hosted an excellent Halloween inspired competition on their social media was Lush Cosmetics, with its Lord of Misrule fancy dress competition. The brand asked its followers to simply film themselves dressed up with products from their Halloween range. This is a brilliant example of how a strong branded hashtag and clear CTA’s can lead to campaign success. 

Spooktacular brand partnerships 

It’s no secret that brand partnerships are the perfect way to piggyback on success – when done correctly, they can be a real moneymaker. 

One brand that has successfully harnessed the power of brand partnerships and continued to innovate thier marketing plans during the build-up to Halloween is Mars Wrigley. They’ve teamed up with Disney, to sponsor their ‘Bite-Size Halloween’ series, which showcases short films to help families celebrate Halloween at home. This has helped Mars reach homebound consumers who have been streaming more content across Disney owned channels. 

Virtual Halloween events 

Virtual events offer brands the opportunity to give their customers a more personalised experience this Halloween. As we mentioned before, many brands this holiday season have utilised AR in their marketing campaigns, which has expanded to virtual events. 

Global gaming and esports entertainment leader, Super League Gaming launched its very own virtual Halloween experience. Its ‘Minehut Halloween Spooktacular’ features community virtual events built entirely on Minecraft, including pumpkin carving and even trick or treating. This allows their young consumer base to safely experience all the festivities Halloween has to offer straight from their gaming device.  

Ghoulish limited edition products

Brands across various verticals have tried to put the fun back into Halloween by releasing extra-special Halloween versions of their products. For example, in the months leading up to October, Marmite released its ‘trick or treat’ jars. Staying true to their brand, they play on the infamous ‘love it or hate it’ concept with a ‘Halloween Treat’ jar for the lovers and a ‘Halloween Trick’ jar which serves as a poison to the haters. This is an excellent example of a brand that isn’t worried about pleasing everyone. They know their demographic and have created a meaningful yet humorous campaign that their customers love. 

Also, Skittles has marked the occasion by bringing back its ‘Zombie Skittles’. And have created a costume to help their customers stay socially distant this Halloween. The six-foot-wide costume features a ‘zombie mode’ button when activated, the costume emits a rotten zombie smell to keep creepy monsters six feet away.

Final thoughts

It’s clear that many brands have had to adapt, think fast and get creative in order to offer their customers a safe yet escapist Halloween. 

If you’ve left your Halloween marketing to the very last minute, here are a few things you can do to spookify your Shopify Plus store: 

  1. Decorate your homepage with temporary Halloween imagery
  2. Creepify your blog content
  3. Offer a devilish discount 

Happy Halloween!