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Halloween: Retailing Opportunity In Every Sense

An illustration of how quickly fashions are created by the internet and copy-cat human psychology is at the heart of its commercial success.

In the days before the web, shops would advertise a particular item as their best-seller. Some people might have been persuaded to buy it too, on the basis that if others like it, they will. The e-world took the same idea, and magnified it many times over.

Now, a few shared contents and people detect a movement of popularity and they add to it by passing it to others online. And suddenly, we have an instant-global smash hit. This viral success, the very latest must-see gimmick, is illustrated (quite literally) by a couple of items for Halloween 2011.

YouTube is hosting two versions of light displays of a particular house, set to appropriate music. In one, the house responds to the song Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO; while in the other, it’s set to a version of This is Halloween from Tim Burton’s movie, Nightmare Before Christmas.

This idea takes lighting-your-home-up-like-Blackpool-illuminations-for-Christmas into a new dimension. This is not just for your neighbourhood; it’s for the entire world. People watch and then share from the comfort of their own homes.

Up to this Halloween weekend, Party Rock Anthem was the most shared US video with 3.5 million visits, and This Is Halloween got 2.5 million.

The user responsible for these videos has form in the field. In 2010 he/she produced a pair in response to Marilyn Manson’s This is Halloween and The Monster Mash. It is becoming a bit samey, as it’s the same house and lights being played like a light-show keyboard, but it still strikes quite clever.

Don’t Forget Google!

Never ones to left behind in the web popularity stakes, Google has cashed in on Halloween this year, too. It has added a built-in photo editing Creative Kit to its network Google+ and is staging a Halloween-themed competition to get users into the spirit.

Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, Vic Gundotra said ‘photo-editing should be lots of fun’, so they are adding the effects to make a ghoulish competition. Apparently it’s ‘dead simple’ to use.

According to Yahoo Internet news: ‘the new set of editing tools adds support for Instagram-like vintage filters (found under the “Effects” tab), text editing and basic photo manipulation tools such as sharpen, crop, rotate, exposure and resize’.

The web is awash with sites selling the paraphenalia of Halloween: ideas, masks, costumes, wigs, games, recipes, educational/historical information. It is a theme that lends itself very well to the social networking openness of electronic communication.

In other words, it’s another marketing opportunity; the web is the facilitator. And why not?


It’s a boon for retailing. The advent of instant communication has meant that a reported purchase or two here or there causes a ripple which becomes a storm and trending is created.

One trend noted by commentators is that this year many costumes selling well are from the bad-celeb, unpopular politician sections. The villains in contemporary society are being lampooned,  just as Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night in November in the UK sometimes sees masks mocking the famous/infamous.

Another example of how the internet both creates and reports social change.

Halloween Light Show 2011 – Party Rock Anthem
Halloween Light Show 2011 – This is Halloween
Marilyn Manson’s This is Halloween
The Monster Mash
Yahoo Internet News.

Photo: SeanMack