- The number of candy ads with Halloween messaging has increased by 17% for month-to-date this year from 2019, but advertisers have spent 19% less in the candy category compared to the previous year, per a press release by market researcher Numerator.
- Numerator also found that overall candy promotions are down by 21% compared to last year, with seasonal candy promotions dropping by 38% from 2019. Despite 73% of consumers expecting their Halloween celebrations to be different this year, candy sales through Sept. 20 are up 26% compared to last year, per Numerator.
- The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are being felt on candy advertising this Halloween, with Numerator's data suggesting companies are running smaller digital campaigns, rather than large TV buys. The company's Halloween candy tracker will analyze brands and retailers' strategies for marketing candy during the 2020 Halloween season, and its results will be published weekly until early November.
Though this year's Halloween celebrations will be very different, candy companies' Halloween aspirations aren’t crushed, with candy consumption expected to increase despite a decrease in trick-or-treating, per Numerator. For marketers, there are still opportunities to advertise candy, but campaigns will likely look and feel different this year as consumer behaviors around the holiday change.
While the number of Halloween ads has increased since last year, the budget for them hasn't, suggesting that candy marketers are opting for smaller, digital activations rather than traditional TV ad buys. Numerator also noted that highlighting family or personal indulgences might resonate more with consumers this year than traditional trick-or-treater messaging. Less than half of consumers (43%) aren't taking part in trick-or-treating activities this year, and 62% of respondents plan to buy candy for their household or themselves, per Numerator.
In response to the current conditions, candy companies have come up with remote campaigns to connect with homebound consumers. Mars Wrigley, the company overseeing brands like Snickers, Twix and M&Ms, introduced Treat Town, a virtual Halloween experience available for consumers this month through mobile apps and desktop. On Thursday, Hershey launched the Hershey Halloween Squad, a group of food, parenting, entertainment and crafting experts who will be sharing tips for remote Halloween fun. These campaigns look to engage with consumers that, according to Numerator's data, will be doing less trick-or-treating but eating more candy at home.
The Numerator data also reflects ongoing changes for marketers that had already pivoted during the early stages of the pandemic. In May, M&M's created a virtual coloring book and developed an ad featuring consumers' coloring pages. That same month, Skittles removed the colors from its packaging in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month. In August, Mondelēz International's Sour Patch Kids unveiled a retail store with candy, a dessert bar and merchandise in New York City.