Market Track 2015 Halloween Promotion Review  11/5/2015

Retailers were more targeted in their advertising to Halloween shoppers this year than in years past, providing localized ad messages across different media. Select retailers took a solutions-based approach to promoting Halloween products, focusing on consumer activities during Halloween, rather than simply providing deals on products (see Walmart Halloween Commercial on Youtube below). 

Most importantly, new advertising tactics, including brand and retailer partnership campaigns, emerged during Halloween 2015 that could impact the upcoming Holiday Shopping Season, and holiday periods throughout 2016.

Here are some key observations from this past Halloween:
  • Retailer investment in Halloween broadcast advertising turned local this year: Instead of running Halloween TV and radio ads nationally, Target and Walmart’s Halloween TV and radio spots ran locally in top markets like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C. This marked a shift from last Halloween, when Walmart’s TV ads exclusively ran nationally.
  • Retailer-Brand advertising partnerships emerged at Target: Both Nestle and GlaxoSmithKline partnered with Target in Halloween advertising campaigns in the week leading up to the holiday. A promotion of Nestle’s 270 count big bag candy was run in Target’s Halloween radio ad campaign, while GlaxoSmithKline’s Aquafresh brand was featured in both Target online display ads and mobile ads starting October 5th. The advertisement for Aquafresh promoted dental health during Halloween with the tagline, “Give sugar a fright this Halloween.”
  • Kmart and Walgreens leveraged Halloween email promotions: More than their in-channel competitors, Kmart and Walgreens delivered Halloween advertisements to shoppers via their opt-in email programs. Kmart in particular sent 60 emails (compared to 36 from Walmart and 23 from Target) to opt-in subscribers between 10/11 and 10/30, one-third of which featured a Halloween message in the subject line.
  • Walmart continued its shift in circular strategy: Between 10/11 and 10/30 this year, Walmart circulated only one print ad to shoppers on 10/16. This marked an 80% decrease from the five they published during the same time frame last year, continuing their transition to a lighter annual circular schedule.
Takeaways for the Holiday Shopping Season
  1. Advertisers are finding new, innovative ways to differentiate. Look for an increase in brand-retailer partnerships in holiday advertisements as one tactic to be used during the Holiday Shopping Season.
  2. Opposing advertising volume strategies were seen in broadcast, digital, and print media during Halloween. Advertisers need to be conscious of how their advertising volume compares to their top competitors throughout the holiday season, particularly if their competition is hitting one of their lighter channels hard.
  3. Who is your target consumer this holiday? A simple but important question as advertisers turn more to segmenting their message based on the event and who they are trying to communicate with.

Ryne Misso

Director of Marketing
Market Track

Ryne Misso is the Director of Marketing at Market Track, a global provider of advertising and promotional tracking, brand protection, and eCommerce pricing solutions. Over 1,200 clients leverage Market Track’s competitive insight into print, digital, broadcast and eCommerce to optimize their advertising strategy. Prior to transitioning to Marketing, Misso spent four years in account management for Market Track’s small and mid-market manufacturer vertical.

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