Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Selling using Halloween

Not for the first time, it was evident that New Zealand is not the United States, or vice versa, and despite all the many claims to the contrary, Halloween is STILL not a thing here. Still, from all the Halloween-themed marketing I’ve been bombarded with, it's impossible to not know what day it is—overseas, at least.

This also isn’t the first time—and it certainly won’t be the last—that retailers have tried to piggyback onto an irrelevant holiday to make sales. Points for trying, I suppose, but Halloween doesn’t exactly make me think of, oh, I dunno, buying a digital subscription to a newspaper (image at left). I’ve included a bunch of email ads that I got today, and none of them made me want to buy whatever they were selling.

In addition to the newspaper appeal, I also received marketing from a domain registrar/web hosting company I use for most of my sites. Because nothing says “Halloween” like a “web presence”…

Another irrelevant ad urged me to buy an annual subscription to the audio messaging service I have on my podcast site. Since no one actually ever uses it, I can’t imagine what sense there’d be in me buying a plan—even though Halloween always makes me think of what new services I could subscribe to, of course.

Finally, one that’s better: Another domain registrar/web hosting company I use for different stuff, including email hosting, sent me this very specific pitch, which at least plays with the theme better than any of the others.

Obviously, I’m having a bit of sarcastic fun at the expense of the hapless—and apparently clueless—marketers. One of the four at least managed to come up with a pitch that was at least related to Halloween, so props to them for that, I guess.

What’s interesting to me about these attempts at hijacking Halloween for marketing is that the top two are based in the USA, which you'd expect to be a little more switched on. The third is based in Europe, so it’s not surprising that they didn’t “get” the concept. But the fourth and best one is from an Australian company. Maybe it helps to be removed from it all—but not too much.

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed—and mocked—this kind of irrelevant holiday-themed marketing, of course: I received similarly irrelevant email marketing for the Fourth of July, and shared some of those, too.

Still, the local attempts to promote Halloween itself have been relentless. There were stories all over the NZ media, TV in particular, and several people posted photos to Facebook of their kids trick-or-treating or of parties they attended. Whether people have kids or not does seem to be a major factor in whether they embrace Halloween or would rather it just went away.

Even Facebook itself got into the act:

That showed up in my newsfeed first thing yesterday morning, when it was Halloween here, but the better part of a day away from the USA. This isn’t unusual for Facebook, of course, which always tells me of American friends' birthdays when it’s the day HERE, meaning a day early for my friends. As I said on my personal Facebook when I shared the graphic, “With all the money Facebook makes, you'd think they could spare a few bucks to sort this out…” And I do think that.

Next I’ll probably see ham-fisted attempts to tie email marketing onto Thanksgiving—I wonder how many New Zealand companies will try that? Some try to hitch onto “Black Friday”, after all. And then, Christmas marketing will conquer us all.

And that IS kind of scary.

No comments: