Kiwi marketers still not convinced by Halloween – UPDATED

According to Yahoo Finance, Americans spend about NZ$8 billion on Halloween every year, with the biggest chunk spent on costumes. And while Kiwis are yet to fully embrace the trick or treating culture, there’s definitely a buck to be made.

In the States, marketers respond to the day with fervour that’s usually afforded to major holidays (like Christmas or Thanksgiving), and many major companies give their TVCs a ghoulish twist.

This year’s American ads have not disappointed. AT&T, Crest and Oral B, Mini Cooper and a host of others all attempted to capitalise on the hysteria with Halloween-themed ads. 

Although Kiwi advertisers haven’t been as willing as their American counterparts to incorporate Halloween into their TVCs (although we did notice a Briscoes ad with a pumpkin in it), many of our retailers see it as an annual opportunity to sell novelty items. The New Zealand Herald recently reported that the horror fever was really spreading around Rotorua, with AJ’s Emporioum and The Warehouse selling lollies and costumes to people of all ages.

This universal appeal is a resource that MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) tried to tap into by inviting the whole family to join them for an evening of thrills at their ‘Olde Hallows Eve’ event that occurred on 27 October. In addition to displaying an eerie poster at the St Luke’s turnoff, MOTAT also dedicated a page of their website to the event.

Danielle Dunn, the PR Manager at MOTAT, said the event “went better than expected”. She explained that they initially expected 5,000 people to attend, but that 5,500 purchased tickets that sold at $20 per person. She described the event as “cash positive”, and praised the creative efforts of Adrian Young, the graphic designer who brought the promotional imagery to life.    

Halloween entertainment hasn’t only been restricted to the Auckland museum. MediaWorks has also attempted to push Four viewership by scheduling a host of Halloween specials on 31 October.

At this stage, Kiwi advertisers are still reluctant to invest in Halloween, but the success of MOTAT when combined with the impressive sales of Halloween-themed merchandise could cause some to reconsider this aversion over the next few years.

UPDATE – Halloween campaigns creep online:

Grabaseat currently features a derelict member of the undead holding a placard that proclaims, “Deals all over New Zombieland“. Audi and Air New Zealand are also trying to have a bit of fun with the Halloween theme through Facebook. The car company has updated its Facebook page’s banner to say, ‘No trick. Just treat.‘ while Air New Zealand has taken the conversation to the public by asking which Halloween candies Kiwis prefer. 

Seen any more? Add them to the comments. 

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