Happy Halloween! Today is the one day of the year where it’s totally okay to get scared and be scary. However, regardless of how much fun it seems, I’m here to share why you should skip the marketing scare tactics.

Classic Halloween Marketing Scare Tactics

“Don’t allow your children to eat any candy before you inspect it first. It could be poisoned!”

While the first part is great advice, the second…not so much. Inspecting your child’s candy haul is important. You should throw out any opened packages or identify any items which could trigger food allergies. This also allows you to pilfer any of the really good stuff before they even see it (hellllooooo, Reese’s!).

However, each year, there’s a massive perpetuation of Halloween candy horror stories about all of the children who are poisoned each year after trick-or-treating. In fact, the majority of those claims are false.

Don’t Take The Bait

marketing scare tactics

“You Won’t Believe What’s In Your Halloween Candy!”

“The Source Of The Sound Coming From Her Attic Will Shock You.”

“Police Receive Call On Halloween. You’ll Never Guess What They Discovered.”

While any good advertiser will tell you that you should write to engage your audience, stop with the clickbait headlines already! Nine times out of ten, the content of these articles is absolute garbage. The writers are relying upon horrifying headlines to draw people in to read mediocre (at best) content. Don’t be one of those people. I’ll explain why in the next section…but only read ahead if you’re brave enough.

Use Fear Wisely

Fear is a natural instinct. While it’s a completely healthy reaction to certain situations, you have to be cautious when utilizing that as a marketing motivator.

For example, take this commercial. Can you think of anything more horrifying that losing your child? Every possible scenario runs through a parent’s imagination. It’s genuine fear. However, this commercial is meant to provide a visual example illustrating what the product was designed to do.

Additionally, sales often use a more subtle form of fear, recently coined “FOMO” (fear of missing out). Examples include “only 12 hours left off this great sale” or “once it’s got, it’s GONE!” While these tactics are generally effective, you have to use them with cautions in order to keep their effectiveness.

Overusing fear as a motivator can actually decrease your intended efforts:

  1. Customers Become Irritated. Using too many scare tactics will leave your client based frustrated and feeling overwhelmed.
  2. You Lose Credibility. When you use the same scheme over and over, people stop believing you…and they stop clicking.
  3. Clients Become Numbed. Think of wild animals that are fed by humans. Over time, they begin to lose their fear of them, causing them to see humans as a food source instead of as a threat. Your customers can experience this feeling when you expose them to too many marketing fear tactics.

When you’re ready to talk to an agency who knows how accurately assess (not manipulate) your marketing, contact SDB Creative Group. We might be a little creepy and a little kooky (not really), but we know how to do marketing the right way.

Happy Halloween!

Don't Let Your Efforts Get BOO-ed!

SDB Makes Marketing Less Macabre.


By | 2016-10-31T08:00:08+00:00 October 31st, 2016|Consumer Behavior, Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Amanda's brain for business and love of words combine to make her an ideal fit as a Content Strategist for SDB Creative Group. She enjoys collaborating with clients and coworkers alike to create the perfect combination of information and fun. Amanda is the mama to three adorable fur babies and an "Ammay" to multiple nephews and nieces. In her spare time, she's a world traveler, a culinary adventurer, and always has her nose in a book.