Highs and Lows of Halloween-based PR

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The Halloween themes are always wide-ranging, fun and unabashedly commercial, which is tempting enough to use the theme and the entire month of October as a tie-in to new product launches. However, without a keen and up-to-date picture of media mentions, companies could stumble into PR issues, which makes it imperative for PR firms and departments to be extra cautious at this time of year.

A Great Season to Launch a Product

The Newsdesk for market intelligence indicates that no holiday is tied so closely to snacking other than Halloween and hence launching a product by food and beverage makers with a strong link to the holiday seems to be a strategic step.

Foodbev Media recently ran down some of this year's launches and tie-ins from around the world, including some clever uses of Halloween imagery on products that have not previously had any link to the holiday. For instance, Frito-Lay has debuted black Doritos-brand chips adorned with vampire imagery - exclusive to Japan, at least for now.

Another example is of Lidl debuting tri-colour pasta with ghost, bat and pumpkin shapes during the Halloween period. The Newsdesk for market trends highlights that opportunities to launch a new flavour, shape or packaging design in the run-up to Halloween are nearly limitless. With a little effort, you can make just about anything scary. However, on the flip side, misjudgement of demand by companies may end up in crisis mode.

Avoiding Mistakes

Simply product tie-ins to the season not necessarily translates into having a happy Halloween. In fact, for those companies that may have made a mistake, would necessarily require much more active PR departments than their competitors. The U.K.'s The Telegraph recently ran down a list of offensive Halloween costumes for this year, the type of context no brand wants to be mentioned in. Keep track of such events and happenings through LexisNexis Newsdesk.

In The Telegraph's roundup, there are some ideas that may have worked at some time and others that are clearly in bad taste and courting controversy. In the latter case, brands involved would need strong media intelligence to quickly realize there is a problem and great messaging to counter any lasting reputation damage. Truly great PR departments should leverage LexisNexis Newsdesk India to help prevent such a situation from ever happening.

An active and up-to-date media monitoring, regarding topics of interest performed by PR teams with inputs from Newsdesk for industry highlights, may make them realize in advance that an idea is a mistake or holds the potential to offend. Such thinking by costume manufacturers may have prevented the creation of an outfit designed to evoke Kim Kardashian becoming the victim of a robbery in Paris, which took pride of being at the first place in The Telegraph's offensive costume list.

Finger on the Pulse

It may happen at times that due to some events in the Halloween season, PR problems may crop up for certain companies that weren't even trying to engage with the season. To avoid such instances, it's especially important for organizations to stay aware of potential issues and counter them carefully. Leveraging Newsdesk for market intelligence will provide you with necessary inputs to evade such situations.

For example, The Guardian reports that in a series of incidents where individuals dressed as clowns, imitating Ronald McDonald, the mascot of McDonald's, have intimidated or frightened passers-by, McDonald's decided to keep its popular Ronald McDonald character out of the public eye in the U.S. market. For many such news reports, refer to LexisNexis Newsdesk and get your daily dose of interesting news across the world.

The restaurant chain went by the tone of the coverage of clowns worldwide and hence proactively decided to avoid possible negative associations by keeping Ronal out. This decision was seemingly reached on the basis of the general attitude towards the frightening clown sightings, and not based on any particular incident with Ronald McDonald. With the Newsdesk for industry highlights, PR departments can keep a keen and timely awareness of media activity, thereby taking preemptive positive actions.

A Valuable Season

Being aware of current events and public opinion through LexisNexis Newsdesk India and keeping their promotions tasteful, brands can have plenty of great options for branded announcements or product launches in October. This applies to organizations who plan to launch products directly related to the holiday, such as snack producers, and those with only tenuous connections.

To make PR departments or partners hyper-aware of any negative coverage of the business or products in question, leaders need to equip them with adequate technology to ensure great visibility. The Newsdesk for market trends can aid PR departments to keep track of the response of customers, whether positive or otherwise. Halloween is a season of tricks and treats, but brands don't want to be haunted by PR mistakes made during October.

SOURCES

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/oct/12/clown-sightings-ronald-mcdonald-keeps-low-profile-amid-creepy-craze

http://www.foodbev.com/news/spook-tacular-snacking-new-launches-for-this-halloween/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/kim-kardashian-victim-and-a-sexy-burka-the-most-offensive-hallow/