Our Roundup of 2016’s Biggest Halloween Marketing Stunts (and what you can learn from them)

By October 31, 2016Marketing, Social Media

October 31st is finally here – and whether you love dressing up as a twisted ghoul, or simply enjoy the fact that it marks the start of Christmas songs and snowy weather, there’s no doubt that the Halloween spirit has spread through the world once again. We’ve turned up our spooky Halloween playlist and started delving into the most chilling marketing campaigns of the year – which one will be crowned top monster?

There’s a lot to learn from seasonal marketing, including lessons that you can take advantage of all year around. So, without further ado, here are a few of our favourites.

Burger King Drives a Stake through McDonald’s

If you haven’t seen Burger King’s ‘scariest BK’ stunt yet then you’ve missed something huge: by dressing one of their stores as a ghostly McDonald’s, Burger King quickly went viral. The reach of this campaign has been simply huge, and it shows how a creative, daring approach will generally spread a lot further than something safe. Burger King also took the opportunity to assert their dominance in the market, essentially daring their competitors to make a move.

One minor issue that we had was the slightly confused messaging. Is McDonald’s haunting Burger King? Have Burger King banished them into the ghostly realm? Still, the cheekiness and fun of their costume won us over – and seems to have been popular with burger fans, too.

Facebook’s Reactions get a Horrifying Makeover

Something so small and subtle that you might wonder whether Facebook’s decision to spice up their reaction icons with a laughing witch and an angry pumpkin – as well as a couple of other spooky changes – really counts as a marketing stunt at all. But despite the publicity, Facebook’s seasonal change reaches every single user, and the novelty inspires people to make more use of the icons than they otherwise might. This means that although it may not be reaching out to new users, Facebook is using the holiday to encourage existing users to interact with the platform more… and that’s how they make their money.

Tesco Gets into the Harvest Spirit


For a lot of people, this time of year is about harvest as much as it is about Halloween, and Tesco have found a way to remind us of the value of our seasonal produce. They’re encouraging consumers to recycle their unused pumpkins by heading to pumpkin rescue stations, letting the waste be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way, and raising awareness of just how much pumpkin is wasted every year. They’ve also been showcasing their recipes by making delicious pumpkin soup.

This is a very different approach to the season, and one which demonstrates how important it is for brands to be in tune with the concerns and ethical considerations of their clients – Tesco will certainly be scoring some points. And, if your pumpkin looks a little sad rather than angry this year… now you know why.

Airbnb Fly Two Lucky Guests to Dracula’s Castle

This is undoubtedly our favourite campaign of the year, as it combines so many different excellent qualities. The basic set-up is that Airbnb have listed Bran Castle – better known as Dracula’s Castle – as a destination for Halloween night, with 2 lucky guests getting the chance to win the stay, as well as flight costs on Airbnb. Unlike other items on the list, this isn’t just a gimmick; the company has put together a truly exceptional Halloween competition which perfectly represents their brand while giving something back to consumers. They even have Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s nephew, hosting for the winning couple. What we love most of all, though, is the competition’s write-up; rather than simply giving us an entry form, they gave us a standard Airbnb listing full of creativity and flair. This integration into the platform, coupled with the scope of the stunt, made this one Halloween horror that wasn’t so frightening.

So what have we learnt from these four spook-tacular campaigns? Here are a few takeaways that you can draw on for your own marketing stunts (just in time for Christmas!):

  • Just because your focussing on a seasonal holiday, there’s no reason to forget about your brand. The best campaigns make your brand part of the holiday and don’t just tack the two together.
  • Give your consumer’s something tangible: whether it’s an exceptional prize or just a good belly laugh.
  • Do something slightly different: think about your brand values, and try to create a campaign which is 100% recognisable as

Any favourites that we’ve missed off? Let us know! Or get in touch with JamRock today to find out how your company can benefit from our digital services.

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