CONSUMER PR CAMPAIGN: Halloween teen fright night at Alton Towers

Alton Towers is one of the UK's leading family resorts, boasting a theme park, two hotels, water park and spa. October 2007 saw the resort's first big investment in Halloween - the Alton Towers Halloween Scarefest.

Halloween: If you went down to Alton Towers last year, you were in for a scary surprise
Halloween: If you went down to Alton Towers last year, you were in for a scary surprise

Campaign: Alton Towers Halloween Scarefest 2007
Client: Alton Towers
PR team: FreeRange Communications
Timescale: 1 October - 5 November 2007
Budget: part of undisclosed retainer, but about £7,000

To create 'noise' around the Scarefest, cutting through the cluttered Halloween event market, and to continue to position Alton Towers as innovative and drive volume.

Strategy and plan
After looking at how the press covered Halloween events, FreeRange decided that something unique would be required to cut through the increasing number of Halloween activities and events across the UK.

FreeRange recommended the creation of two very different Halloween products, which would appeal to families with teenage children. These ran alongside the more traditional Halloween themed entertainment.

The two products developed were 'Halloween Scare Rooms' and the 'Field of 1,000 Screams'. A 'scare wing' designed for teenagers was built in one of the resort's hotels. Each room was gruesomely themed with 'random' scares using actors bursting into the suites wielding chain saws and mystery telephone calls.

The 'Field of 1,000 Screams' was an outdoor maze, with a terrifying twist on the corn mazes to be seen at family farms. Visitors entered after dark, supplied with only one torch between six, to be confronted by bloodthirsty zombies and other creatures of the night.

FreeRange held press trips and sold in exclusives and features to nationals, regional newspapers, broadcast media and websites.

Measurement and evaluation
The resort was featured in nearly three-quarters of all national newspaper Halloween round-ups. Four dedicated in-depth articles on the scare rooms appeared, including a full page feature in The Sun. Additionally, 26 reviews appeared in target regional papers, 40 radio items and 42 online items.

Alton Towers does not release visitor numbers, but after analysis of Halloween coverage, the theme park achieved the biggest share of voice of all UK attractions, achieving 150 per cent more than its nearest rival.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in