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Pathmatics Blog

[WATCH] A Post-Quarantine-Halloween in digital advertising

October 29 2021 by Matthew Bozin

Who let the dogs out?! Or, cats, or Pixar characters, or witches and superheroes for that matter? 

After a 2020 Halloween that was canceled due to Covid-19, trick or treaters are primed to get back on the streets, and collect that sweet sugar-gold. And advertisers seem ready to assist in any way they can.   

Comparing July 1st - October 10th for 2020 and 2021, we analyzed Halloween-themed creative spend in top categories, including confections, retail, and media.


Top Categories 

With brands pulling back ad spend in 2020, we saw a resurgence of Halloween-themed spend in several categories, most notably in Arts and Entertainment, and Theme Parks. But surprisingly, confections and retail dropped 23% and 47% respectively, from the same time period last year.

Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 11.06.43 AM

Confusing Confections

Drilling a bit deeper into the top 3 confections brands to take on Halloween-themed spend, The Hershey Company tops the list with more than 15 times the investment of Mars Inc, and Ferrero combined - its closest competitors. That being said, Hershey dropped 18% from 2020 with the largest pure percentage drop going to Ferrero at 71%. 

 Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 11.15.30 AM


Entertainment - Halloween Kills (at the box office)

The obvious question here is: can Michael Myers ever be killed? Since 1978 there have been 11 films starting the slow walking (that no one seems to be able to run from), masked character, that never dies.

And this year is no exception as the new film has actually accounted for more than half the category Halloween-themed spend, simultaneously releasing in theaters and on the streaming service, Peacock. We even see spend as far back as June, as the strategy relied heavily on desktop video - primarily YouTube.

Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 11.25.59 AM


Whether it's costumes, t-shirts or skeleton caskets on the front porch, retail brands are a staple of Halloween-themed spend every year. Though while top two retailers TeeTurtle and Target dropped, the next three top brands, Trending Custom, Wicked Clothes, and Big Lots spent an average of 71% more in 2021. The standout brand 'Trending Custom' actually recorded zero themed-spend in 2020, but went all-in this year with $228k, all devoted to Facebook.

Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 11.51.28 AM


So, the breaking news - Halloween is back. Other breaking news: Michael Myers is still slowly marching toward your house, so you have plenty of time to shower, brush your teeth, grab some dinner, and still make it out before he arrives. Until then, stay safe, and don't forget to watch our Halloween Video above or right HERE! And if you come knocking on our door this Oct. 31st,  we'll gladly fill your bag with sweet insights.

About Author
Matthew Bozin

After earning his BS in Communications, Matt cut his teeth in the entertainment industry, spending fifteen years writing everything from feature screenplays for A-List directors, to celebrity bios for some of Hollywood’s top actors. That creative drive made it an easy transition to Marketing, bringing his eye for storytelling to the digital advertising ecosystem.

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