Letter from America – 02.11.18 – Halloween in So Cal

Letter from America – 02.11.18 – Halloween in So Cal

Living in “So Cal” – Halloween is a huge event here and it got me thinking that someone has to be behind, what is now a growing “industry” called Halloween. I narrowed it down to either the Michael Jackson Foundation (they must have hit some spookily high IP-related royalty rates from the number of times I heard and saw “Thriller” on the TV and radio in the last couple of weeks!) or the Halloween Industry Association (HIA) – can you believe it? – Halloween has its own industry association https://www.hiaonline.org/page/statsandtrends/Halloween-Stats–Trends.htm.  There are some fun facts and then some interesting statistics about Halloween industry, including an astonishing $9bn pa spending!

The HIA provide Halloween costume rankings, including costumes for your pets – wow! We had more kids at the door than ever- one dressed as Jaws (the shark and not the big scary guy from James Bond movies) an Izzy bottle, another as a taco, another as a Sriracha (Cali hot sauce) bottle – I bet these brands didn’t have monetisation strategies in their business plans for dress-up costumes TM revenues. We had the usual selection of ghosts and witches and some kids came with their pets and one dog was dressed in a Yoda outfit – what struck me, however, was that the day of homemade costumes is gone – these were all purchased and contributing to the $9bn!!

This was our first Halloween in California and it was fun as we lots of kids at our door and I explained that in Scotland we make them work for their candy.  So we got a few backflips (I was worried about my insurance liability in case I was held responsible for injuries, but thankfully there were none), a recital of the chicken dance, a few old knock-knock jokes and some recitals of Taylor Swift songs.  Inevitably, many kids told me they were in fact Scottish (when questioned it turns out it was a great granny or grandpa) but they’ll try anything to get just a few more candy bars!

Anyway the whole experience and a $9bn dollar event got me thinking about the struggles of retail businesses and how industry experts keep talking about creating “experiences” for shoppers. It seems this Halloween celebration has nailed it with the HIA reporting that offline retail stores outperformed online sales, so perhaps the retailers aren’t quite ready to end up six feet under with Dracula and other Halloween ghouls.  This proves once again that a well-managed brand can be monetised and extended into other categories / classes providing instant and easy revenues (under licence) – IP has a real role to play in creative thinking around retail experiences and events – roll on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentines.

So until my next Metis Letter from America, I hope you have a great weekend!