top of page

2021 Halloween: digital marketing campaigns we loved this year

Updated: Jul 17, 2022

2021 Halloween: digital marketing campaigns we loved this year

Metaverse monsters and witching hour whoppers: top 5 Halloween campaigns for 2021

Trick or treat? Children or parents? For marketers, Halloween is a moment brands get to have fun.

After trick-or-treating was essentially cancelled last year, brands and consumers went big on the spooky season in 2021.

In many countries, the event is now the third-biggest retail spending event after Christmas and Easter. In the US alone, adspend is an eye-watering $8bn, with its appeal crossing from candy-grabbing families to millennial and Gen-Z party-goers alike. These campaigns caught our eye. And we’ve included links to previous years, and tips for marketing workshops to turbo-charge your 2022 seasonal social media plan.

Crest toothpaste – #BringOnTheCandy safes

The USA’s biggest toothpaste brand found a novel way of getting kids and parents to join in the ‘fangtastic’ fun. They created a competition for families to win a limited edition ‘Candy Safe’, where sweet treats could be safely locked away from children …or parents. To enter, people simply posted on Instagram why they needed a Candy Safe – with all the right hashtags, of course.

What we loved?

It’s a simple, low-cost example of getting into the conversation in a fun way – and getting data, exposures and Insta followers in the process.

Burger King – witching hour

A free food giveaway, with one spine-chilling stipulation – you must order it during the witching hour (3am). In the lead-up to October 31, at 3am for one hour only, a different free meal appeared on the Burger King app. Fast-food lovers just needed to download it and wait for the apparitions to occur.

What we loved?

Driving talkability, driving downloads, driving owned media connections, and driving down the cost of marketing.

ShutterStock – social media mastheads, made easy

ShutterStock were the destination for many social media managers in the Halloween frenzy at the end of October with their posts and pages “How to Make Halloween Facebook Cover Photos”.

What we loved?

It was effortless content marketing that drove clicks and sales. They knew customers were thinking Halloween, and timed their content perfectly.

Chipotle – metaverse, Roblox and maze

Mexican food chain Chipotle was giving its annual ‘Boorito’ (get it?) Halloween event a digital makeover – by riding the metaverse trend. The restaurant opened its first virtual Roblox storefront and created a spooky digital maze full of exclusive brand offers.

What we loved?

The metaverse trend still has that early-stage intrigue. It gets people’s attention, and gets them talking. Chipotle are close to pop culture and agile in their response, so they stand out.

Campaign strategy boosters for 2022 – inspiring workshops transform plans

Looking for ways to ensure your 2022 campaigns stand out from the crowd? We’ll showcase best-in-class, lead team brainstorms, review or build your content calendar, and find ways to get engagement that will turn into sales. Walk in with your team, and walk out with a plan.

Find out how…

Reese’s – A better place

The US iconic candy brand gave their video ads a social twist this year. They asked what happened to all the Reese’s chocolates that “disappears” around Halloween. Answer: “they’ve gone to a better place. The partnership with neighbourhood social network Nextdoor included a ‘Treat Map’ app for local trick or treating. The brand also pushed its Pumpkins chocolate as the ‘Official Pumpkins of Halloween’, even competing with sellers of actual pumpkins for the title.

What we loved?

Every year, Reese’s find a new way into the conversation (see the previous campaigns links below).

Temptations – “Tasty Human”

What Halloween would be complete without a black cat? Cat food brand Temptations released a limited edition cat food for Halloween. With research allegedly suggesting if cute cats were bigger, they’d eat humans – the created a new treat that might satisfy the hunger…’Tasty Human’ flavour.

What we loved?

Simple product innovation that got people talking about cat food. Which is one of the most untalked about cat-egories in marketing 😉

Butterfinger – turn yourself in

Confectionary brand Butterfinger ran a campaign aimed at parents, encouraging them to “Turn yourself in” – if they were guilty of stealing their child’s Butterfingers from the trick or treat basket. They called it the “Butterfinger Case Files”, and parents who “fess-up and submit their mug shot to the dedicated website” were in the running to win a $25k prize.

What we loved?

It talked to a human truth. Pretty much every parent has dipped into the kid’s candy jar. The campaign generated both content and first-party data.

2020: best of the best

This was the year covid lockdowns fuelled creativity: Skittles ‘rotten candy’ kept people at a distance, Mars pet care’s horror movie made for cats, Burger King’s trolled McDonald’s, Samsung’s haunted smart home, Desperados, Ardberg and many more. Enjoy the videos, games and links…

Social media training – upskill for 2022 seasonal campaigns

Ensure your team get the skills they need for transforming your social media campaigns in 2022. Apply the latest approaches on Insta and TikTok. Learn about how to create thumb-stop moments Find out what how to get LinkedIn working hard in social B2B campaigns. And choose from virtual instructor-led webcasts, virtual workshops, online or face to face. More…

Secrets of success

Halloween is a moment brands can get creative in new ways. All these examples found relevant and engaging ways into a seasonal conversation. Their work is authentic, and it travels further because people recognise this.

Why this matters

Brands looking to ride the wave of seasonal and cultural moments win when these creative ideas are an expression of the brand’s core essence. Seasonal marketing is powerful, but only when it build on the core brand essence.


bottom of page