31.10.2016 Halloween: Our five favourite creepy campaigns

Halloween may be the spookiest time of the year but it is also one of the most profitable times of the year for many companies.

Last year it was revealed that Halloween is now the third biggest retail event in the UK after Christmas and Easter, worth up to £400 million.

This incredible growth has led to some inspired PR and marketing campaigns in recent years.

PR expert Bethan Lewis, communications director of Cardiff PR agency Brighter Comms, said: “Brands are always looking to promote themselves in new and innovative ways, and more are realising the potential of Halloween as an opportunity to get creative and have a bit of fun in the way interact with their customers.”

So, here are five of our favourite Halloween PR and marketing campaigns:

Airbnb’s seriously spooky stays 

Online residential rental company Airbnb prides itself on offering unique accommodation across the world, but its Halloween offers are definitely one of a kind.

Last year it launched a competition for two people to win a one-night stay in the Paris catacombs, one of the largest cemeteries in the world. 

And as if that wasn’t scary enough this year it has gone one better and offered a stay in Dracula’s Castle.

Yes, two competition winners will spend the night of 31 October in Transylvania’s Castle Bran, the 15th century home of Vlad the Impaler, who inspired the Dracula story.

 

Tesco’s ‘spookermarket’

 

Retail giant Tesco treated its customers to a series of tricks in the aisles of one of its stores (a ‘spookermarket’) last year.

A hidden video showed shoppers reacting to a number of scares, including mysteriously moving trolleys, severed hands in the fish counter and members of staff in Halloween masks.

 

Happy Hilloween

It’s not just major brands that are seeing the publicity potential of Halloween – politicians are getting on board too.

In the week before 31 October 2015 Hillary Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign used photo-messaging app Snapchat to post a series of costume ideas on how to dress as Hillary for Halloween.

The idea combined a huge public celebration and a popular new medium in an effort to reach out to young voters.

 

Carrie’s Café

To promote the remake of Stephen King’s Carrie in 2013, unsuspecting coffee shop customers in New York were tricked into thinking they had witnessed a telekinetic event.

The hidden camera stunt involved an angry young woman using her ‘telekinetic powers’ to push a man up a wall and then move furniture around and throw books off shelves. The shocked reactions of the customers are what make the video.

 

Waterstones blog horror

In 2014 bookstore Waterstones released an interactive online game for Halloween, in which five bloggers fell victim to an “unknown horror” in a spooky manor.

Social media users took on the role of detective to solve the mystery by reading each blog and following clues on a Twitter account.

Anyone who solved the mystery was rewarded with a £50 book token.

With book sales increasingly moving online this clever stunt was a great way to engage an online audience of readers.

This piece was originally published by WalesOnline