- Reese's candy launched a social media campaign starring actor Neil Patrick Harris that lets Facebook and Instagram users participate in an interactive Halloween experience called "It's A Live." Starting on Oct. 1, Harris began asking his followers to help him build a haunted house that will be featured in a livestreamed event on Oct. 24, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Until then, Harris' followers get to vote on which tricks, such as scary clowns or snakes, and which treats, such as edible chocolate wallpaper or a tub of Reese's Peanut Butter, to put into the house. Reese's will select 32 fans to visit the house for a tour that will be shown on Facebook Live, the social network's livestreaming platform.
- Viewers of the event will get to vote in a Facebook Live poll on which path those visitors take through the house. Hershey-owned Reese's developed the experience with the help of Matador Content and Facebook Creative Shop.
Reese's Halloween campaign is notable for giving social media users a chance to participate in a variety of experiences — from helping to design a haunted house to making decisions on what to explore during a livestreamed event. Reese's is creating an original experience to engage people with its brand, while gaining significant exposure among fans of Neil Patrick Harris, who has 2.9 million fans on Facebook and 8.1 million followers on Instagram. Harris posted a video to his accounts to introduce the "It's A Live" experience.
Crowdsourcing the haunted house and including a choose-your-own-adventure element on Facebook Live could help viewers feel more involved and engaged with the content, as was the case with a previous campaign fronted by Harris for Jif. While not a part of this campaign, Facebook Live has tested a feature for merchants to demonstrate and describe products for viewers to buy as the company looks to increase its capabilities for marketers.
Reese's parent Hershey is looking to capitalize on the rising popularity of smartphones and newer platforms through Halloween and into 2020, Vinny Rinaldi, the company's head of addressable media and technology, said during an Advertising Week panel discussion last week. Last year, the company saw a $4 million gain in incremental sales during the Halloween season with a media-buying strategy that relied on mobile data. Reese's also released a full-length ASMR film, and promoted a new product with gaming influencers Tyler "Ninja" Blevins and DrLupo as it looked to test new grounds in esports.
The campaign comes as more people look to social media for inspiration on what to buy for Halloween, including costumes, candy and party supplies. The percentage of U.S. consumers who seek inspiration on Instagram grew to 14% this year from 7% in 2015, per a survey by the National Retail Federation. Instagram and Twitter stood out as the biggest sources of Halloween inspiration, while Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube peaked in prior years. Still, Pinterest is the No. 1 source of Halloween-inspired purchases, with 18% of U.S. consumers saying they use the platform for ideas.
U.S. consumers are forecast to spend an average of $86.27 each on Halloween, slightly less than the $86.79 record from last year, per the NRF. The trade group predicts that total spending will slip to $8.8 billion this year from $9 billion in 2018, as the number of people who plan to celebrate Halloween slips to 172 million from 175 million last year.