Here in the UK the concept of trick or treating, and letting kids wander around in the dark knocking on the doors of our neighbours simply flies in the face of our ‘don’t talk to strangers’ values and has never really caught on. However, across the pond in the US, Halloween is an institution, as ingrained as Christmas in the holiday calendar and therefore an equally pivotal retail window.
The National Retail Federation estimates that US citizens will cough up $5.8B on Halloween costumes, candy and other spooky paraphernalia come this weekend – that’s around $66.28 per person (up by $10 on last year).
So in many ways it comes as no surprise to see stalwart retailer Sears launching a zomibification version of its digital store in time for the scaring season.
The whole web destination has been redeveloped to cater for the zombie homemaker, including footwear that will help you “tone while you lumber”, jewellery to help you “accessorize like the living” and washing machines that will remove “brain satins”.
Sears has gone all out on the production, which includes undead Twitter feeds, a corpse-based game ‘Zombie Friend Finder’, a Zombie Gift Guide and the Blue Zombie Crew experts. The whole site can even be translated into mumbling zombie-speak, a language developed from the massive-multiplayer zombie game ‘Urban Dead’.
The platform obviously has links to the retailer’s vast range of Halloween costumes, which is surely the primary intention here, but this is also a clever digital marketing ploy that manages to redefine the entire product range. What’s more, the temporary rebrand also helps Sears - often regarded as one of the more stuffy and old-fashioned US retail brands - to reposition itself with a far younger demographic.