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Are You Terrorizing Your Audience? (Plus More Seasonal Hot Takes)

A scary-smart horror parody from Umault skewers companies that stalk people who dare to pass through their content gates. Party City treats its audience to original research on a content sweet spot. And the Food52 community shows it’s better to give and to receive.

The Stalking: A prospect’s perspective

Opening scene: A woman is encouraged to fill out a form to access gated content. She makes a fatal mistake and types in her information.

The rest of this 86-second video – The Stalking – shows the woman being terrorized by targeted ads, texts, unsubscribe nightmares, and even direct mail.

Frankly, words can’t do it justice:

Finally, she reads a postcard from the business. On one side, it reads: “I know what you downloaded last week.” As she flips it over, the message she’s heard and seen over and over appears: “Do you want a free demo?”

WHY IT’S HOT: Hope Morley of Umault, the agency behind the video, explains why the agency created this Halloween-themed trailer: “Agencies rarely advertise themselves, but it’s a great opportunity to be creative and share your point of view with the world.”

Umault gets it – it’s always better to show rather than tell what you do. And this agency showed not only how creative it is but also how well it understands the audience’s perspective.

The Stalking, a Halloween-themed trailer from @Umault, shows how well the agency understands the audience's perspective on gated #content. Via @hopemorley @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Survey says Halloween is a season

Party City surveyed nearly 1,400 “decision-making moms” to find out what they thought about Halloween this year.

They learned 80% say Halloween is a season, with half agreeing it begins Oct. 1. Seventy percent say their child will wear their Halloween costume two to five times this season. Most of those surveyed said they plan to increase their decorating if pandemic restrictions stay in place. More than half said they would do their Halloween shopping online this year.

WHY IT’S HOT: Original research doesn’t have to be thought-provoking, serious, or have long-term implications. Party City tailored its research to the content sweet spot – the overlap of its expertise and its audience’s interests (i.e., topics like how often children will wear their Halloween costume in a season). This type of data works well for social media and attracts mentions in mainstream media, too.

What’s not so hot? The phrase “decision-making moms.”

Original research doesn’t have to cover serious topics with long-term implications – it just has to hit the #content sweet spot. @PartyCity example via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Brand hosts community gift exchange and fundraiser

Food52, a brand with recipes, kitchenware, and a cooking community, is running its annual community gift swap for the 11th year.

The gift swap is free to anyone who wants to sign up, but participants are asked to donate at least $10 to Feeding America. (Those who can’t or don’t want to donate can participate by contacting Food52 through an email address.)

After signing up online, participants receive an email with a giftee’s name and address. They send a food-related gift to their giftee (including one homemade item, if possible) and will receive a food-related gift from another participant. Although it’s called a gift swap, Food52 says most people will receive a gift from someone other than the person they sent a gift to.

Last year, more than 1,000 people participated in a virtual version of the event. Participants were asked to send each other beloved family recipes by email or something from the Food52 site. That year, the swap raised $23,000 for No Kid Hungry.

WHY IT’S HOT: Online communities can foster strong connections among dedicated members. By facilitating real-life connections, Food52 strengthens the bond among community members – and goodwill toward the brand.

Food52 also wisely turns this feel-good initiative into social media content. A dedicated Instagram handle gives people a place to share their swaps:

Plus, any content marketing activity that’s successfully run for 10 years is noteworthy.

The @Food52 gift swap and fundraiser fosters strong connections among its community – and plenty of goodwill (and good #content) for the brand via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute