Halloween Promotion Ideas

| September 30, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI – The only holiday Americans spend more on is Christmas.

Here comes October, which begins on the heels of another mass shooting, and with yet-another episode of the partisan Washington brinksmanship that has cost Congress in public approval polls, and threatens to relegate talk radio to a wearying caricature.

Meanwhile, the listeners that local retailers want most to see pull into the parking lot are buying pumpkins and candy and wondering who/what to dress up as.  So Halloween affords radio an opportunity to be about what people are up to.

Call-in topic, sooner-than-later: Halloween costume ideas.

Thank me later for this one.  At the moment, we’re between Harry Potter-size, movie-inspired costume characters.

And not only are frugal, harried parents imagination challenged.  They themselves are invited to parties.  So late-night talkers might play this differently than during the day when kiddos are listening in the minivan.  ;)

Played properly, this topic WILL buzz. 

This has Internet written-all-over-it. 

As in the revenue now commonly referred to as “digital” when corporate barks for more, more, more.

Many listeners have digital photos of past years’ costumes.  Consider a (sponsored) gallery on the station’s web site, using Picassa, a Google app, or some other web freebie.

Possibly an online contest rewarding prizes (from advertisers) for Best Costumes listeners came up with last year?  This year’s imagination-challenged listeners will appreciate ideas.

Then, on Halloween, regardless of format, play “Monster Mash.”

THE WHOLE THING, not just a bumper that teases listeners.

Why:

  1. Uh, it’s Halloween.
  2. Talk stations shouldn’t be allergic to fun.  For you, the living, this mash was meant, too.
  3. Many of today’s talk AMs played the Bobby “Boris” Pickett classic as a current when they were Top 40 stations in days of yesteryear – when it caught on in a flash — and before teenage P1s grew up to be today’s Baby Boomers.  Check your station’s median age.
  4. Listeners will HEAR you, during the critical Fall survey period.  Never forget: Arbitron’s diary-based methodology doesn’t measure what people listen to, it measures what they remember.  You’re in a PPM market?  Hey, awareness drives use, and this will attract attention alrighty.

So play it without warning.  No set-up.  Roll it cold out of the newscast…or let it seem to interrupt the show at another time.  Your listeners will be humming it all day, remembering you.  You’ll be a graveyard smash.

tbugk

Follow HC @HollandCooke on Twitter and at www.HollandCooke.com.  And meet him October 10 at Talkers/LA, where he will present “New Local Talk Radio Jobs in 2014: Why, Where, How to Prepare.”

Tags: , , ,

Category: Advice