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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween and brands


In the United States, Halloween has become the sixth most profitable holiday (after Christmas, Mother's Day, Valentines Day, Easter, and Father's Day) for retailers.

So brand Halloween is strong, and marketers have a chance to use holiday insights to meet consumer needs. Some have: Comcast created a new channel called FearNet to satisfy the desires for scary-movie-lovers. Other brands have met the needs of the costume-craving and –confused, such as recently Captain Morgans Costumes and last year Burger King Masks.

For the most part, companies leave that to the candy-makers like M&M’s and fantasy-creators like Disney.

As story-tellers, it seems an opportunity exists to use holidays and this one in particular to extend (and test) a brand’s elasticity and complexity, possibly making some sweet mullah in the process. Most importantly, it is a time to show your personality and bring your culture out.

Hey, people do it. Just look at the Today’s Show, to see the link between traditional entertainment company/brand to entertainer/person/brand. Hosts Matt Lauer and Al Roker were Pirates of The Caribbean characters and Meredith Viera was the Little Mermaid. While Anne Curry was Cher and Natalie Morales was Madonna.

They also highlight some observations about the importance of individual expression within a safe community. There’s no denying individuals take the opportunity to extend and voice their brands. Sometimes it’s just being the hot you Playboy bunnies. But notice the ease and necessity of doing it in a group (i.e., girl scout troops, Wayne & Garth, female firefighting squads, Reno 911 officers, etc.) There are more examples of women than men, but in addition to wanting strengthen and security in numbers more, I believe it’s also a testament to them having their shite together.

In any case, a great costume can be judged on a number of criteria, but are almost always a great conversation piece. Hits this year, from my perspective, include: Kim Jong Il (based on relevancy and amazing hair and glasses), Hulk Hogan (also a larger than life character that’s has cultural relevance – new show Hogan Knows Best – and performance - the guy really “sold” it), Shots (depth, variety, detail, creativity for the buttery nipple, purple hooter, and other 7 ladies), and Papa Smurf (dedication – full blue body paint – and detail – could not be confused with a member of the Blue Man Group).

But whether you (and your crew) are (is) the most original or most obvious, the holiday is, inherently (read as: has been commercialized/crafted to be), a social lubricant.

Halloween provides brands an opportunity for both transformation and interesting discussion. It’s a chance to have fun and not take itself too seriously, to pay tribute to and shape culture, to join the conversation. I believe it’s worth thinking about what opportunities other holidays provide.

2 comments:

paul said...

Considering the hit Halloween took in the eighties after the Tylenol scare, it's recovered quite nicely (along with Johnson and Johnson).

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