Halloween is a truly international holiday. We’ve covered some of the strange rituals before in our article last year, but this year it’s time to jump on board and market your brand on an international level.
Marketers often shy away from Halloween outside of the US and other similar western countries – because the meaning of the holiday is so much different around the world, Halloween on a global scale is seen as unfamiliar, and because of that, difficult in pursuing.
The truth is quite the opposite. Halloween is big in the US and growing in the UK, but in Mexico, Spain, and Latin America, its massive – in fact, it’s a 3-day holiday. The Halloween celebration kicks off on the night of the 31st, and the holiday ends three days later on the 2nd with The Day of the Dead.
To help quantify this opportunity, the population of the Spanish speaking nations that celebrate Halloween/The Day of the Dead is staggering. There are 47 million people in Spain and 124 million in Mexico – not including the masses across the rest of Latin America.
If you’re a marketer looking for opportunities, Halloween is definitely worth pursuing on an international level.
You have two Halloween markets you can go after:
- The casual US and UK Halloween market (1 day)
- The more serious Mexico, Latin America, & Spain market (3 days)
That’s quite a bit to work with. We’ll go over exactly how each holiday is celebrated around the world (so you have a general understanding of the markets and angles), then give you some ideas to get the ball rolling.
The US and UK: “Candy & Costumes”
At its surface, Halloween in typical western countries is geared towards kids and parents.
- Kids need costumes to trick-or-treat and get sweets with
- Parents need sweets to give to kids who are trick-or-treating
That part is easy. But the symbolism behind Halloween is much more complex.
For kids and parents, Halloween is seen as fun and exciting. It’s a time where families (and friends) bond over going from house to house, asking for sweets, and just hanging out. Of course, there is the “spooky” element to it all – haunted houses, kids dressed as ghosts and monsters, etc. – but overall, it’s seen as a fun, once-a-year night for family and friends.
For everyone else, Halloween is very different. Past a certain age, trick-or-treating goes out of style and is replaced by partying, promiscuous costumes, and most of the time, bad behaviour. It’s seen by most as one of the best (if not the best) “party nights” of the year.
Mexico, Latin America & Spain: The Day of the Dead
Like we said, The Day of the Dead is on November 2nd and begins with Halloween on the night of October 31st. It’s much different from the above picture of “Halloween”.
There isn’t any trick-or-treating or costume wearing. Instead, it’s based around actually honouring the dead.
- Gravesites are tidied, decorated with flowers, etc.
- Incense is burned, prayers are said, traditional meals are eaten
- Other rituals – such as sharing soul cakes with the poor – vary from country to country
Overall, it’s a more solemn holiday – but it’s not necessarily sad. The Day of the Dead (and the days leading it up it) are meant to celebrate those who have passed on, not mourn them in the traditional way.
How to market your brand around the world on Halloween
Now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s move onto how you can use this info to your advantage.
Tackling the US/UK Halloween market
You’ve probably already thought about marketing to these countries during Halloween – good.
We’ll give you some things to keep in mind:
- Try to pick an angle that’s either “spooky”, sentimental, or party-oriented. This is a great resource for simple campaign ideas – the fast food companies listed all target the easy “spooky” angle for mass appeal, but some also play on the sentimental angle. For example, Olive Garden only offers free meals if parents came in with their kids.
- It doesn’t have to be that complicated. Remember, there’s no specific meaning behind Halloween in the US/UK, so you can make it up as you go. Feel free to get creative – people are looking for excitement on Halloween!
- Start your Halloween promotions well before Halloween begins. You want your potential customer to be already thinking of your deal when Halloween rolls around – you don’t want him or her to be hearing about it for the first time. The day will probably be very busy with other marketers just like you competing for attention.
Tackling the Spain/Mexico/Latin America Market
If you try to create a Day of the Dead marketing campaign without knowing the intricacies of each country you wish to target, you’re not going to be as successful as you could.
Do research (or ask your team to do research) on the traditions behind The Day of the Dead in each country – if you can find an angle, come to Bubbles Translation Services and help us translate your marketing campaigns so that you convey the right message to that group of people.
We’d recommend starting with Mexican traditions.
Marketing around Halloween is the same thing as creating a basic international campaign – except this time, you’re bringing a more emotive and personal approach, especially if you’re a B2B company that normally tries to save people money or time.
Entire companies have been built on clever advertising campaigns, and you can create a serious foothold in a new market with a clever Day of the Dead campaign.
Good luck – and remember, as with all international marketing, translating your material is the first step to a profitable campaign. If your audience doesn’t understand the meaning of your campaign, you’re out of luck.
For help in the right direction, contact Bubbles today. We are able to translate any marketing material into any language for any country – we’re your partner in capitalising on international holiday-marketing opportunities.