In-Scope: If you’ve got it, haunt it!

Kiren Ahluwalia is a Communications Manager for OMD Create Sydney, driving partnership and sponsorship solutions for a wide range of client challenges

Halloween is one of my favourite times of year, as it kick-offs the holiday season and summer in Australia. It’s one that’s easy to gloss over given the popularity of other key diary dates like Christmas and even New Year’s Eve, however, we see many brands take this annual spook-fest very seriously due to the spike in key purchase behaviours. Whilst Halloween isn’t traditionally a gift-giving occasion, Americans are spending a collective $9 billion, and it’s expected that a spend of over £690 million will occur in the UK.

A study conducted in 2012 by McCrindle Research revealed that Halloween is the least meaningful special event to Australian’s nationwide, however, experts have suggested that over the last f years, it’s a holiday that is becoming more accepted and more of a mainstream cultural practice. Many Australian retail brands have also experienced notable increases in sales during this time.  Most of the popular categories, as you would assume are: produce/lollies, decorations and costumes, although there is a clear opportunity for other categories to leverage the festivities to launch themed products and or to drive engagement within their own customer bases/audiences. In saying this, it can be difficult for brands to stand out amongst the clutter of activity at this time of year. Let’s take a look at some of the key brands that have made a splash around the globe leveraging interesting partnerships this Halloween.

Bite Sized Horror

In partnership with Fox Network, Mars Candy brands engaged with up and coming horror directors to make disturbing short films which have premiered and run in their entirety during commercial breaks across the Fox Network. There have been four short films in total – one for each candy brand: Skittles, Starburst, M&Ms and Snickers. Interestingly, the brands have opted not to include product within the story arcs which has made the pieces of content extremely engaging and has reflected well on the brands. You can check them out for yourselves here.

Walmart integrates with Pinterest

Pinterest activity spikes during the Halloween period with users looking for inspiration. According to their data, Halloween searches are up 51% YOY. Users have found that brand’s boards are full of Halloween content, which can be overwhelming. Walmart solved this problem by curating pins and separating them into three sections: party planning, recipes and costumes. The latter’s boards include both full costumes and makeup tutorials, deep linking to In addition, to enhance the user experience, they sent shoppers to collections for each look, making it that much easier to buy everything you need in one go.


Netflix’s Killer Line up

Netflix is no stranger to creating content and releasing titles that align with holidays and specfic times of the year. This often delivers huge spikes in viewership for the streaming giant. For the month of October, Netflix capitalised on Halloween and had a line-up of horror and thriller releases including its very aptly themed show “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and the hugely popular “The Haunting of Hill House”. Leveraging several digital partners Netflix released listicles ensuring that everyone knew release dates and times. In addition, they revisited some of their most beloved Rom Coms, in this case, “The Kissing Both” and turned it into a Horror, with a limited-edition trailer to re-engage fans during the period.

McDonalds 30 days, 30 deals

Our very own McDonald’s leveraged Halloween to kick-off their 30 days of 30 deals campaign- a month worth of deals on the mymacca’s app- by projecting a Big Mac, that’s right, A BIG MAC, onto the iconic Westfield Sydney Tower. This initiative was a huge feat and was an innovative way to leverage the festivities occurring that evening around Sydney City.

The above examples are just the beginning of what’s possible. Given the opportunity that Halloween presents each year, and the success that global brands are experiencing, it’s my belief that Australians should continue to embrace the celebration at a larger scale. This poses an opportunity for marketers and small-medium businesses alike, to leverage existing or new products and drive favourability.


‘Big Macs for $2, nuggets for 30 cents and $1 sundaes: McDonald’s launches EPIC savings for a variety of burgers and desserts – but there’s one catch’, Daily Mail

How Reese’s, Walmart and Jagermeister nailed their Halloween marketing’,

‘This Is How Much The UK Will Spend Celebrating Halloween In 2018.’,

‘Halloween In Australia Is Becoming Increasingly Popular’, Huffpost

‘Does Australia care about Halloween’, The Border Mail

‘Australia should embrace Halloween’, The Brag

Halloween: Australia crosses to the dark side with festivities ‘here to stay”, ABC News

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