Now that another Halloween is in the books, marketers throughout the land can put away their vampire costumes and turn their attention to that make or break retail bonanza that is the holiday season. As an American consumer, that means being bombarded with these familiar yuletide images:
M&Ms meet Santa
And over the past decade and a half, none may be more familiar that Coke’s annual Polar Bear parade:
These lovable digital polar bears have been a mainstay of the company and the season since 1993. This year, however, Coke has decided to trade the digital bears in for the real thing (no Pepsi pun intended).
Partnering with the World Wildlife Foundation, Coca Cola has committed $2 million dollars to its latest corporate responsibility venture. Will this move resonate with the public this holiday season?
Only over the past decade has the everything-Halloween-superstore become a temporary fixture during the months of September and October, and it feels like each year the orange and black aisles in stores pop up earlier and earlier. Globally, the celebration has expanded rapidly over the past five to ten years too, which I would attribute to its commercial success in the US.
Although it originated as a Celtic holiday, All Hallows Eve has transformed the autumn culture on this side of the pond, and adapted to become inspiration for marketers in all industries. According to the National Retail Foundation, the average American will spend $72.31 on Halloween this year. This number includes candy as well as decorations and costumes, but that is still quite an investment per-capita. Thinking about the growth of the season as a commercial money-maker has made me wonder about the impetus behind it. Halloween has certainly had its share of marketing minds leveraging the spooky season to merchandise and promote brands from all over the spectrum, ranging from CPG to insurance companies, to automobiles and health care.
One of the things marketers love about the holiday is its popularity among the masses. In the US, dressing up to trick-or-treat or go to a party is not specific to a religion or culture. The concept also appeals to all ages - kids, students, young adults and parents. The range of costumes and decorations starts at cute and funny, and moves toward creepy and synthetically terrifying. In short, there is something for everyone (aside from the requisite party pooper). Marketers have been able to unabashedly apply seasonal merchandising to promote all types of products.
This is a unique opportunity to leverage seasonal promotions that express the personality of any brand. It doesn’t really matter what your product or service is, you can run a Halloween special that will grab the attention of some portion of your target market, and bring in a few additional or incremental sales.