Why Halloween is the Future of Marketing
An exploration of using themes present during Halloween, to create engaging brand communications, with multiple possibilities for digital content.
For one fleeting weekend a year, we embrace Halloween as a time for costume and creativity. One thing I have noticed is the lengths which some people take to perfect their outfit, and their make up. The possibilities are endless, and the breaching of facial protocol is praised and passively appreciated. It’s a bit of a rush, I’m sure – especially given the fact that face is being used as a vehicle for paint, for expression and character outside of the routine.
Snapchat filters and festivals share similar rituals. Pixelated wreaths and glowing eyes, rainbow glitter and sequins. In both cases, it is the projection of a quasi-fantasy imagined self that is to some degree the motivator. Indeed, in both instances there is perhaps the masking of perceived ‘imperfection’, however there is an aesthetic novelty to the process which is enjoyed and accepted readily socially in that moment. In science-fiction and film we are seeing the likes of Harley Quinn and Avatar generating contemporary new perspectives on visual possibilities. ‘Twiggy’ was lauded in the 60’s for embellishing her eyes with black lines. Present day we are seeing a revival of psychedelic sounds in music such as Tame Impala, and the female flared trouser has certainly made a comeback. We could say that the growth in popularity of tattoos also touches on the changing attitudes towards self-modification while evoking a sense of tribalism.
A point of interest here is the degree to which people are sharing these works of art on social media. “Big thanks to ______ for my make up”. People are all too keen to demonstrate their creative flair and individuality for this one night a year. Granted people post their ‘going out’ photos all the time, but there is surely a differentiation in the Halloween theme. It’s something different, but ends abruptly following Halloween. What if, this styling was to continue and perpetuate through Spring and Summer; unshackled from the specific cultural horror references. How many times have you seen an adult wearing face paint for no apparent reason in the day time? I did once, as a team leader for NDC I popped my 1.50 for charity in the bucket and got a pretty cool skeletal design. Passers-by stared a lot, as it was something new and strange. Something we don’t normally do but doesn’t harm anyone; that sounds like lead-user innovation potential to me.
I guess we could use this idea in two ways initially. One, this could be a great direction for style blogs, fashionistas and personal stylists. The use of contouring and the incredible possibilities with make up have made it to my news feed multiple times, and I know this is an art only growing in popularity, within an industry beginning to consider the implications of smart materials and technology. I’m sure a concerted effort to master this approach would result in a great Instagram and Tumblr, and a great YouTube series of tutorials too. Meanwhile, its portable art. Wherever you go with a face embellished with originality it’s going to start a conversation. What make up is it? How much do you charge? How did you do that? I feel that the word of mouth marketing potential is also vast; “This girl in town had a butterfly on her face, but proper. It was sick to be fair.”
The second use adjoins here nicely. Yes, there is the capacity for the use of ‘street-face’ painting by the cosmetics and beauty industry, but what if other companies could get involved with this as a way of cutting through the noise, by getting people taking a second look up from their newsfeed and even starting a conversation. Elsewhere, taking a second look at their news feed and hitting the heart icon, because its mid April and “its just crazy that she’s getting paid to just walk around with her face painted like that, by them.” I’m talking about sponsorship, and it doesn’t have to involve logo’s directly. It’s about getting people taking, and talking about the brand responsible. Responsible for helping people to express their individuality and push some style boundaries, while having a bit of fun and even getting peoples perspectives opened slightly to new ideas. That’s worthwhile isn’t it? A brand contributing to building personal experiences and transformation in more ways than one.
People aren’t really doing this a lot at the moment. By that I essentially mean walking around with highly decorative and/or expressive faces, kind of like how people do on Halloween. But that means at some point in the future they probably will. If anyone would like to hire my canvas of a face, send me a message. Thank you.