by Felix Lehane
October is drawing to a close, the nights are growing longer, and it’s time for Halloween. As ever, brands and companies will be looking to get into the spooky spirit with a Halloween PR campaigns. Halloween is often seen as a look back to the past, a holiday linking us to a different, more isolated time of our ancestors. But that doesn’t mean more modern tech companies can’t get in on the game too. Here is a list of some of our favourites from the last few years.
DigitasLBi: Internet of Pumpkins
As the network of connected devices linking up our houses and cities expands, DigitasLBi’s WiFi-enabled pumpkins seem to be a natural next step.
But these seasonal free WiFi routers had a scarier message behind them. Using a piece of WiFi penetration-testing equipment, which is often used by security professionals and criminals alike, these pumpkins offered their own trick or treat to users connecting to their wireless network.
While some people were given a voucher for an edible treat, others found fake cracks and errors temporarily appearing on their screen – as a warning about the very real danger of cybercrime, followed by some practical tips on how to use WiFi securely.
LG: “So Real It’s Scary”
Back in 2012, LG decided to liven up the demo of their new screens, by linking several of them up to create a virtual floor for the lift of a public elevator. These were then programmed to at first resemble a real floor, but then swiftly fall away to the passenger’s terror.
This was a particularly effective stunt as, whilst having a good time and keeping in with the theme, it really demonstrated the life-like quality of the product.
Allen & Gerritsen: Pix-O'-Lantern
And not all Halloween stunts have to be consumer-focused. Bringing the traditional to a digital format, Allen & Gerritsen in 2015 created a pumpkin that was effectively ‘digitally carve-able’ by employees.
256 LED lights were linked up to a real 45 lb pumpkin. The light grid, controlled through a custom app, could be remotely programmed to create different patterns in the pumpkin, responding in real time when users drew on the app.
Located in the agency’s Philadelphia office, it was livestreamed to the Boston office so that all employees could have a go on the app. Each carving was photographed and sent to the carver’s email for posterity, and all the photos were uploaded to a microsite where everyone voted for their favourite carvings.
This was a great way for the Labs team to practice their skills in connecting an app to a physical device in real time, and get some good press for the company too.
Groupon: DIY mummy costume
From the high-tech, now to the lower-tech stunt: last year ecommerce marketplace Groupon extended its offering of deluxe products and experiences with a humbler offering, by giving away 50 ‘DIY mummy costumes’.
It claimed that the product used ‘‘ultra-soft yet strong […] patented 3-Ply technology’ and could be ‘self-assembled using an easy rolling technique.’
Taking the opportunity for a slightly more tongue-in-cheek stunt, perhaps poking fun at its own more sumptuous product descriptions, this one really showed the brand’s fun side.
Making the most of a holiday like Halloween for a campaign is often a great way not only to have some fun yourself, but to show a humorous, lively (or perhaps un-deadly) side of your business. Just make sure you avoid any hair-raising PR disasters!