It’s that time of year again. Love it or hate it, Halloween is a time where digital marketing really becomes spooktacular with brands relentlessly competing with each other to be the best and get the public talking.
Although, it must be said; conjuring and executing a top-quality Halloween campaign is very much easier said than done. Originality has always been a big deal for marketers but it holds even greater importance now, especially around Halloween where campaigns can be cliché and dull – doing little to engage their audience, let alone scare them…
Photoshopped cobwebs and “SPOOKY20” promo codes are all well and good, but not really enough to make a big Halloween splash. To ensure your campaign captivates attention and becomes the topic of conversation amongst trick or treaters, gamification is the key to unlocking a truly successful Halloween marketing campaign and quite surprisingly, it’s something that not many big brands actually considered up until recently.
It really isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Gamification is simply applying elements of game playing, such as point scoring systems or offering an immersive experience, to your marketing campaign or advertisement. Gamification encourages people to actually engaged with your product and brand, in an interactive way that’s more immersive than 2 dimensional adverts and tactics.
It’s simple, Halloween is a bit of fun. People pro-actively engage with the holiday, whether it be wearing fancy dress or pumpkin carving; people love it! Therefore, Halloween marketing should follow the same theme and be fun, engaging and interactive – it only makes sense!
Don’t worry, we wouldn’t turn your Stranger Things experience upside down. There are no spoilers here – we promise!
The Netflix original smash hit is back on our screens this Halloween. The nostalgic teen sci-fi series, armed with its supernatural features and mysteries, has encapsulated the imaginations of millions around the world, giving birth to an online fandom who cannot wait to get their fix in season 2. Halloween has been a running theme throughout the entire Stranger Things series, so it makes sense to tap into people’s thoughts and feelings through igniting the Halloween spirit.
Earlier this month, Stranger Things: The Game was released on the App Store and Google Play in anticipation of the run-up to Halloween and the new season. Cleverly utilising the current revival of retro video gaming, Stranger Things: The Game is pretty much old-school Zelda style crossed with Stranger Things. The player has to complete several ‘chapters’ whilst solving puzzles and collecting unique items in an effort to unlock a bonus, exclusive season 2 content.
Download and try the game for yourself; it’s actually pretty fun (and free)! Gamification has served its purpose of promoting the upcoming Season 2, but, unlike so many other Halloween campaigns, it has offered fans the chance to interact and engage with the series through assuming control via a video game. Adding bonus incentives and secret mysteries are what fandoms crave and this is what sets Stranger Things aside from other Halloween campaigns.
Fanta, owned by the Coca-Cola company, has truly gone all out this Halloween with not one, but two Halloween Campaigns. ‘The 13th Floor’ is a ghoulish VR experience like no other; a 4 minute long, 360° elevator ride with a twist. You know how time goes really slowly in horror movies? Well, that definitely applies here too. The turbulent and genuinely frightening journey is not for the faint-hearted. The inclusion of 4D elements such as rumbling, shaking and vibrations adds to the excitement and cranks up spookiness to another level.
In addition to the VR experience, Fanta has dropped a number of limited-edition cans and bottles complete with exclusive Snapchat codes, luring players into scanning the QR codes in order to unlock rare Snapchat features such as filters and lenses. The Snapchat partnership is also amplified through collaborations with vloggers and Snapchat influencers, in a bid to get the nation talking.
The best thing about Fanta’s Halloween gamification campaign is that both components work in harmony with each other and both rely on one another to succeed. The ‘13th Floor’ interactive experience draws consumers in by standing out and having that uniqueness from other Halloween Campaigns, whilst the Snapchat partnership looks to convert sales by offering incentives they can only get from Fanta products.
Last but certainly not least we have Burger King. Always one to divulge into Halloween marketing wholeheartedly, Burger King won Halloween 2016 bragging rights for sure. To promote the release of its limited edition Halloween themed Whoppers, Burger King had to find a way to draw in its target audience and generate sales. How? You guessed it: Gamification. Gamification was chosen as the weapon of choice and the three burgers were gamified through a smartphone app, given a platform with an engaging and interactive story-line.
The player must collect as many coins as possible and finally reach the exit to the next Burger King restaurant. Each of the 3 levels are set in different environments: ‘Underworld’, ‘Red Forest of Horror’ and ‘Black Haunted House’, all being named after one of the new Whoppers. Here’s the best bit: to actually play each one of the levels, players have to scan the QR codes they receive once they’ve bought the coinciding Whopper. Now I don’t know about you, but I’d buy a Whopper if I got to play a free game!
Players are also rewarded upon completion with discount vouchers and have the chance to win tickets to a ‘secret-spooky event’ held on Halloween, again only fuelling and adding to the shroud mystery and discovery that surrounds Halloween. Well played Burger King, well played.
So, the next time you’re stuck for inspiration for the next big Halloween Campaign, don’t be scared to do something a little different. Gamification will bring your audience to you, after all, everybody loves gaming – especially us!
Happy Halloween from all of us at Neon!
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