Latest Promos Leverage Community Engagement, Contests Into Campaigns

Rather than simply kicking off the holiday season with early discounts, some retailers have taken an innovative twist to engage their customer with promotions and contests around Halloween.

The common thread among many of these campaigns is a cross-channel approach to fostering loyalty and building community among their customer base by inviting consumers to interact with their brands via contests and special in-store events.

Here is a look at some of the interesting cross-channel campaigns we have seen around Halloween:

  • Focused on scaring up sales this Halloween, Best Buy launched a contest to warn consumers about the horrors of haunted, old electronics. Taking a page from the “old ugliest sofa competition” playbook, Best Buy asks consumers to submit “spooky snapshots” of their outdated electronics, as well as a 140-character caption describing the technology tantrums they’ve endured as a result. The “Scary Technology Contest,” which employs Zelda Rubinstein’s vexing voice in a campaign video, will award the grand prize winner a $3,500 Insignia Home Theater makeover. Runners-up will receive Best Buy gift cards.



Winners will be announced on Halloween, naturally. In announcing the promotion, Barry Judge, Best Buy’s EVP and CMO, notes that the retailer is underscoring its “commitment to provide end of life options for these devices by offering new ways to recycle and trade in old or obsolete technology.”

  • Capitalizing on the horror of home décor, home furnishing retailer Cost Plus World Market partnered with HGTV offering consumers a ghastly call to action: “Do you have a scary room in your house you’re too embarrassed to show your guests? Have you always wanted one of the HGTV design experts to redesign a room in your house?” The “Cost Plus World Market and HGTV Spooktacular Sweepstakes” will award the winner with a $10,000 World Market room makeover.


All through the month of October, World Market customers and HGTV viewers entered for a chance to win a room makeover, which includes an in-home consultation with an HGTV celebrity designer, a personalized World Market shopping experience and customized room sketches for one room.

  • Last week PetSmart hosted a “Howl-O-Ween Costume Party and Photo Event,” a free event in all US & Canada PetSmart stores, where owners and their pets showcased costumes in a “pet parade.” The Best Pet Costume contest offered winners PetSmart gift cards, and the first pets to arrive received free goodie bags filled with treats and coupons. Pet owners could purchase a digital photo and Halloween-themed frame for $4.95 with their PetPerks card. The event was supplemented with an online costume contest, where pet owners entered a picture online or a chance to win a gift card and the opportunity to have their pet’s photo turned into a nationally- distributed greeting card by Avanti Press.


New industry data also shows that retailers are working harder to build community via social networks. According to results of’s eHoliday Study, conducted by BIGresearch, shoppers will see changes in retail marketing and promotions this holiday season, as 47.1% of retailers surveyed will be increasing their use of social media this holiday season. More than half of retailers said they have added or improved their Facebook page (60.3%) and Twitter pages (58.7%) this year, while two-thirds (65.6%) have added or enhanced blogs and RSS feeds.

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