BRANDS GET SET FOR SPINE-CHILLING STUNTS

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Today, families across the country will be carving pumpkins and putting the finishing touches to their costumes, as the scariest night of the year draws closer. With Britain’s fondness for Halloween increasing year-on-year, it’s now the perfect occasion for brands to get their claws in to.

Piggybacking on the event with a well executed stunt gives companies the opportunity to get the maximum ‘bite’ from consumers.

Fuelled by the popularity of American films and television series such as Twilight and True Blood, Halloween easily outguns Bonfire night when it comes to consumer spending. This year, retailers are set to enjoy a blood-curdling £330 million boost from Friday’s festivities, as two thirds of Britons celebrate with spooky soirées and old-fashioned trick-or-treating. With the sales of clothing and costumes expected to be worth about £148 million alone this year, it’s clear that the days when kids cut a couple of eye holes in their mum’s old white sheet are long gone.

When executed correctly, jumping on the Halloween ‘ghost train’ can work scarily well. Last year, drinks giant Pepsi dressed its can in an iconic red Coca-Cola cape, cleverly using the brands’ rivalry to its advantage. The ad was simple and cheeky, but not overly offensive, reinforcing the brand’s playful persona.

Another Halloween-themed stunt that caught my eye came from Kellogg’s. With ‘Scares’ on the menu, the brand joined forces with the makers of an upcoming horror movie to boost sales of its seasonal Rice Krispies Scares bars. Positioned in two locations across Dublin, Kellogg’s aptly-named #ScaresVendors gave both a trick and a treat to consumers, as users’ hands were grabbed when retrieving their free ‘Scares’ bar. This stunt is a great example of user engagement and certainly got the public talking.

For a stunt to be effective it needs to catch people’s imagination, be appropriate and relevant, whilst still falling in line with the brand’s overall comms strategy. While these big budget stunts worked well, brands need to be careful that consumer engagement doesn’t turn into a horror show.

Cat

@catgregs @peppertweets