The good, the bad and the scary – 5 marketing mistakes to avoid this Halloween

Pumpkin spiced lattes and cute pet costumes are adorning our Instagram feeds again, which means one thing and one thing only – it must be October.

At this time of year, everyone gets into the spirit of autumn and Halloween. Whether it’s a sp00ky new Twitter name, a monster-shaped cake in your local bakery, or a seasonal campaign from your marketing department – there’s plenty of fun to be had this month.

Over the years, Halloween has become an important date for every marketer’s diary, with fun social media content and blog posts to revel in. However, we’ve also seen plenty of scarily-bad attempts at Halloween marketing.

If you don’t want to be one of those companies this year, take a look at some of the biggest marketing mistakes you should avoid this Halloween.

Cringe-worthy puns

Spooktacular savings! Terrorific deals! Fangtastic value!

When used well, puns can be great. They have the potential to create catchy slogans and fun campaigns. However, year after year, companies bring out the same tired Halloween puns and I don’t know about you, but we’re getting bored.

If you absolutely must use a Halloween pun this year, we recommend you use them with caution, and risk looking unimaginative. Or, better yet, can you come up with something a little more original and creative this year? We’re pretty sure all the ghourd puns (sorry) have been taken, but we might just be impressed if you can use one we haven’t heard before.

Inappropriate costumes

Whether you’re selling accessories, promoting make-up looks, hosting parties or just dressing up in the office – be mindful that your clever promotion ideas aren’t actually deeply offensive.

Unfortunately, offensive stereotypes can creep into our everyday without us even realising it, but over the years we’ve all become a lot more considerate of what is appropriate and what is not.

Companies like Walmart have gotten into a lot of trouble in the past by promoting costumes with mental health connotations such as “mental patient” and “psycho ward”. Using mental health illnesses as a funny Halloween costume might not be a new idea, but it’s really not ok.

You should also make sure any Halloween content you’re putting out there isn’t just cultural appropriation in disguise. Think Mexican Day of the Dead make-up, Native American headdresses and Japanese Kimonos. These kinds of costumes can be disrespectful at best, and downright offensive at worst.

In 2021, let’s leave these unfortunate Halloween themes where they belong – in the past.

Irrelevant content

At this time of year, we see lots of brands jumping on the seasonal bandwagon. It’s easy content, right?

For some businesses, such as creative brands, food companies, fashion blogs and cosmetic retailers – Halloween is a natural fit and the seasonal content becomes something customers look forward to every year.

However, if it feels like too much of a stretch for your company – it probably is. We’re not saying that corporate companies can’t have fun with their marketing campaigns around this time of year, but if the content is too irrelevant, it’s not going to go down well.

Keep in mind your target audience and your content marketing strategy, while also remembering just how many other “spooktacular” email blasts you customers may be dealing with. Do they really need another one?

Anything too scary

There are a lot of people in the world who enjoy scary films and thrilling experiences, but there are also a lot of people who really don’t.

 McDonald’s made the mistake one year of adding a happy face to its Happy Meal boxes. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect than intended. It was downright creepy and gave several children nightmares – and this wasn’t even a Halloween stunt.

It’s good to remember that while some people can appreciate a scary ad campaign, it’s not going to resonate with everyone, and it could end up putting people off your company entirely (a scary thought indeed).

Copying competitors

Our final marketing mistake to avoid this Halloween may seem obvious, but it’s something we see time and time again.

Take a look at your competitors – are they utilising all the marketing opportunities that Halloween brings with it? Great! Maybe you could do the same – but don’t just cop out and steal their ideas.

Much like all the popular seasonal holidays (we’re looking at you – Christmas), Halloween marketing campaigns can become a bit overwhelming. As consumers, we’re constantly bombarded with spooktacular this, spooktacular that, and unless it’s a really original and fun idea – we can become bored.

Before you copy your competitors this Halloween, spend some time thinking about how you can make your Halloween marketing more original, authentic to you company, and valuable for your customers.

If you need some help coming up with seasonal marketing campaign ideas, and you like to do things differently, we’d love to chat about how we can help you. Take a look at our website and get in touch for a consultation.

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Stop boring your customers, why the term B2B should be banned from design discussions.

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