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Halloween, B2B, Really?

It’s Halloween. The shops are filled with spooky treats. Half the bars and restaurants are running some themed event and, as tradition would have it; more people seem to be marking the occasion than ever before. Like Valentine’s Day, you can see how dates like this lend themselves to consumer marketing and how each year the thing snowballs into something bigger still. But is any of this really applicable to B2B?

Hayley S Cashmore believes that even B2B should be cashing in on the Halloween hype. She suggests that you should create an email campaign promoting a competition. Her view is this is a good way to make communications more fun and interesting. Heidi Cohen (tagline: actionable marketing expert) agrees, “Halloween’s a great hook for content marketing even if your firm sells boring, buttoned-up B2B services. For example, a head-hunter could write, “Thirteen Job Mistakes that Can Come Back to Haunt You.”  These are both solid points and no doubt good, actionable advice. Ensuring communications remain interesting and pertinent is clearly important, but I do wonder if themed missives sometimes irritate more than they engage?

Speaking for myself, I already find escalating Halloween promotions (in the consumer space alone) a bit annoying. My own local pub, for example, had a whole load of fake cobwebs draped across the plants in the front garden. On Saturday, it took my friend and me a boringly long time to even work out what they were meant to be.  The truth is, like most themed marketing it has to be really good to be successful.

This blog lists some fantastic, creative ideas in the consumer arena. Some are absolutely brilliant, like: the Harvey Nicholls Autumn clothing range modelled on life-sized voodoo zombie dolls; or LG’s dead-man-in-the-fridge advertisement. These concepts are highly original and trade on irony. No woman wants to looks like a voodoo zombie (except maybe at Halloween) and nobody in the world wants to find a dead man in the fridge. But for one day a year, these adverts allow marketers to subvert traditional aspirations into an amusing new take on things.

The B2B version of Halloween however, tends to be tenuous in the extreme. Take last year’s, ‘Fear Factor: Top Five Scariest Marketing Moves’. This is a nice piece of copy, but basically uses a Halloween theme and a picture of a pumpkin to provide a standard top five of marketing mistakes.  Or this article on ‘International Trading Tips: Five Online Scam Horror Stories You Need to Read’ which utilizes some horror-inspired headlines and a scary picture to rejuvenate a pretty standard article.  There is nothing wrong with these, but are they really necessary?

Overall, I just wonder if it has all gone a bit too far. Is this event-inspired theming getting a bit excessive? Or do you think B2B marketing benefits from a Halloween message?


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