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It seems every holiday or social observance under the sun seems to find its way into a marketer’s “bag of tricks”. Some for good reason, and others because of a lack of other timely hooks to move product off of a shelf. I get it, these holidays are generally a great way to catch consumer’s attention and use it as an opportunity for brand association. One holiday in particular stands out with a few question marks on our end.
In the business of video, the only time we truly see a mention of holidays is around Christmas time, with the Olympics receiving an honourable mention for occurring every other year. It’s not common for brands to spend a large portion of their marketing and advertising budgets on low-spend holidays – not because they’re not important, but typically because they’re short lived and the general public is not as supportive.
Halloween for example, is a bit of an interesting holiday because of its connection to scary things. I don’t know about you, but I’ve met a fair share of people who just don’t like being scared. Nothing against the holiday, but they’d much rather sit inside and watch a comedy with all of their lights off to ward off any perennial trick-or-treaters.

What’s wrong with Halloween?

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Halloween, per se, but there are several contributing factors that might force marketers to spend their budgets at different points throughout the year.
One factor is the relevance. Most brands have a hard time associating themselves with Halloween, because the products they sell either aren’t scary or just don’t relate to the theme. In these instances, it’s better for brands to stay out and let people enjoy the day. We’ve seen numerous examples of brands trying to elbow their way into commenting on current events they simply don’t have a part in, which can lead to some serious online backlash.

Some businesses are better suited for holiday-themed content than others

For the most part, this advice is targeted towards bigger brands. Smaller brands, for example, can achieve great success locally by sharing their Halloween spirit. Local hardware stores, restaurants, and other homegrown brands are all examples of businesses that could see in an increase and traffic and even sales by hosting relevant thematic events.
Another simple way brands can participate in Halloween is through existing offers, deals and sales. Your typical “Monday Madness” beer promotion can easily be spun to add a spooky theme and make newcomers think you’re doing something special just because of the holiday. For other Halloween-themed marketing ideas, check out the list here.

Halloween-themed video can be the perfect medium to highlight product benefits

As with almost everything in marketing, if you’re going to do it, do it well. Some brands have experimented with video in their Halloween marketing campaigns and have done well. Others, well – not so much. Here are a few examples of brands who successfully executed their Halloween-themed marketing campaigns and did a great job of selling their products at the same time:
Examples courtesy of
1. Ford: “Spooky Car Wash Prank” (2014)
It was a simple stunt: dress some actors as monsters, cut the lights, and scare the life out of costumers during test drives. Devised by Detroit-based creative agency The Work, Ford’s three-minute video, “Spooky Car Wash Prank,” launched last October and immediately went viral.

2. LG: “So Real It’s Scary” (2012)
Product demos have a reputation for being dry. But in 2012, LG found a way to transform the unimaginative format of old into a thrilling testament to the quality of its products.
In the opening seconds of this video, LG claims its monitors have “lifelike colors.” Viewers don’t have to take the company’s word for it. To promote the LG IPS TV screen, the brand worked with agency SuperHeroes Amsterdam and installed a grid of monitors on the floor of a public elevator. It then filmed the response of riders when they saw the floor fall away beneath their feet.

3. Tide: Halloween Vines (2013)
When Carrie, the remake based off the 1974 novel by Stephen King, came out in 2013, Tide seized a chance to demonstrate its playful side. The brand created a spoof of the movie using Vine and the product-appropriate tag line, “Stains better be scared.”

If you liked these, check out a few other examples here.

What do you have in store?

While Halloween is only a few weeks away, we hope that many of you have already implemented your holiday-themed marketing strategies. If you haven’t, it might not be too late to participate on social media. Even small trick-or-treat gestures on social media can go a long way to getting in front of consumers during busier times. To those who celebrate, have a very (spooky) Halloween!


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Header image credit.
Chris Stasiuk

Author Chris Stasiuk

Chris is commercial director and founder of SVG, a Toronto based video content agency.

More posts by Chris Stasiuk

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