Going viral: How the best marketers have used content to make frightening profits this Halloween
Appealing to a wide audience, without any real-appreciation of its significance or historical background, Halloween provides marketers with a huge opportunity to bolster their revenue levels and capitalise on the unwavering desire of the consumer market to uphold its tradition.
Adopting special seasonal themes has always been a great way for an under-appreciated or under-performing brand to pick up their business, and expose their brand to a global audience, though it can be argued that it has never been as important to do so as now.
In particular, the emergence of social media into the day-to-day living of billions of people across the world has opened up new potentialities for marketers, who can now create brand specific content, with seasonal themes, in order to achieve the aim of getting it to go viral and encourage millions of new people around the world to talk about their brand
Statistics taken from the groundbreaking creative ad initiative for the Superbowl – the Old Spice campaign – highlighted the importance of incorporating content marketing into the way your business runs. Wieden + Kennedy designed the ad for Proctor and Gamble – who now own the iconic Old Spice brand – and figures illustrated that the brand enjoyed a 108% rise in sales revenues immediately after the ad was aired. The fact that the ad went viral meant that campaigners saw 80,000 people flock to be their followers in just two days, whilst interaction on their Facebook posts rose by a staggering 800%. That the ad also managed to attain nearly 240 million YouTube views emphasised the value of viral content marketing this year; evocative and effective viral content can mean that your brand can go from zero to hero and the name on people’s lips in multiple cities worldwide.
Whilst many readers will be thinking that going viral is “easier said than done”, the following brands have demonstrated the reality that any business can go viral with appropriate targeting and quality content production and it is imperative that you digest the lessons you can take from their own initiatives, in order to ensure that your brand can take its place in the upper echelons of its industry.
So how have brand designed and promoted their Halloween content this year in order to generate a buzz and garner exposure?
Let’s find out.
Tide’s Haunting Halloween Vines
Vines have been nothing short of phenomenal since their introduction to the digital world and they have revolutionised the way in which marketers can draw traffic and exposure to their business’s websites. Their short run times have meant they are perfect for capturing the attention of viewers, whilst their ability to be evocative has meant that those who are exposed to them are far more likely to spread the word and share it on – a trend which has made brand expansion that much easier for advertisers during the 2014 calendar year.
Seeking to appeal to their audience’s sentimentalism and evoke nostalgic memories of some of the iconic Halloween films of their youth, Tide incorporated elements of classic horror films in their themed Vine in order to encourage people to spread the word of their new cleaning product on sale. The #scaredstainless campaign was hugely successful, with the vine itself picking up a monumental 97,000 views and keeping the brand, and their new product, firmly in the consumer stream of discussion and interest.
Petco’s “Make a Scene” photographic Halloween competition
It seems almost too simple and easy to profiteer from dressing up pets in costumes, but this is exactly what Petco did last Halloween in order to get word of their brand to go viral. Hosting a competition on Facebook, Petco encouraged people to post pictures of their pets online, with the prize of $25,000 going to the winner and special gift cards going to second.
The campaign was a complete and unadulterated success, raising Petco’s online brand engagement by 325% in less than a month and bringing a huge number of new customers to their digital store. Petco confirmed that they had enjoyed strong pet costume sales on the backdrop of the initiative, and will now host the contest on Instagram in order to replicate last year’s success to a more targeted audience.
Crest & Oral-B’s Halloween Treats Gone Wrong
If Jimmy Kimmel has taught the world anything, it is that there is something intrinsically rewarding about fooling children and making them appear like punks on TV. Acknowledging this actuality, Crest and Oral B released a hugely amusing video which saw campaigners go round handing out healthy sweets to young kids who were on the hunt for their sugary seasonal treats. The brands used the hugely effective punch-line: “Nothing is more horrifying than Halloween without candy,” which was coupled together with the sole brand mention: “Thankfully, there’s Crest + Oral-B.”
As confirmed by its award nomination page on Shorty, Crest and Oral B were incredibly successful with this piece of marketing, attracting a massive 7.3 million views, a click-through-rate rise of over 1000% and a 3% rise in sales after less than a month. Its effectiveness should be used by marketers in order to learn an invaluable lesson about how to shape their own content – think about which concepts tend to make audiences tick and make sure you content is evocative, so that it compels people who view it to share it on.
“Halloween Hills” by Target
A great exhibition of how to use Instagram in order to content market effectively can be found in the success of Target’s “Halloween Hills” campaign this year, which has seen them acquire nearly 5,000 likes a day this October. Yes, ‘likes’ can be seen as a cosmetic metric, which are fundamentally unimportant to measuring how well or poorly a campaign measure is performing, but when it comes to concerted social media campaigns, they are a great way of gauging the consumer appreciation of the content you are putting out there. Moreover, they signify how many new people are aware of your brand and have positive sentiments to share about it with their friends and family.
Target – a retail company with varying degrees of success up until this year – used Instagram in order to create a digital neighbourhood called “Halloween Hills”, a place comprised of tag images which are displayed collectively. Every image has two homes – a trick & a treat – which transport users to different areas when clicked. The ‘treat’ links go to Halloween cooking recipes, whilst the ‘tricks’ links take you to an informational section about how to go about preparing for Halloween in a DIY manner. The campaign has been so successful because it engaged its audience so well; gripping them enough with the beauty of the aesthetics of the titular landscape ‘Halloween Hills’ to retain interest in the campaign, and providing a sufficient level of user value to encourage people to get involved and engage with the Target Brand.
By providing such a high level of value to their users, and involving them at every point during the campaign, Target have taken content marketing on Instgram to a new level, with their success from upholding these values provides hugely useful lessons to marketers about how to shape their own content campaigns.
The “Devil Baby”
If you haven’t seen this video, then you have been missing out on what is one of the most frighteningly comic pieces of content marketing all year, which fully deserves the near 50 million views that it has acquired thus far.
To introduce the concept of the video; visualise yourself strolling around your local high street, only to notice a baby carriage which has been left unwatched. Naturally, you go and check out what’s going on when suddenly, out of nowhere, a demonic baby confronts you and jumps right out at you! This is the premise of the content marketing that promoters of the film the “Devil’s Due” used this year in order to get people talking about the upcoming release. The project itself cost next to nothing; using a few hidden photographers and a whole lot of people in order to attract 48 million views worldwide. Such a success shows just how attainable going viral can be for your business moving forward, provided that you consider who your target audience is and design your content to evoke emotional responses in its viewers, rather than simply convey information.