With neighborhood trick or treating on pause this year, social app Nextdoor and Party City crafted a pandemic-proof alternative.
Party City invites neighbors on Nextdoor to follow an augmented reality, Halloween-themed “treat map”. The virtual adventure lets users inform their neighbors if they are passing out candy for the holiday, and if they are, lists them as a “virtual visitor” on the map. The limited-time treat map is housed in the camera icon on Nextdoor and includes AR characters that users can share with their neighbors. In addition to finding houses participating in trick or treating, the treat map will also show nearby Party City locations to encourage Nextdoor users to shop for Halloween costumes and decorations. With 73% of Nextdoor users seeking trick or treating alternatives this year, Party City’s campaign could spur conversation and help users plan for a socially-distanced celebration.
While Party City traditionally promotes party decor and group costumes during Halloween, shifting consumer demand led it to rethink its marketing strategy this year. As such, the brand is now appealing to consumers with pandemic-friendly plans, such as “costume wave parades” and “indoor haunted decor”. By recognizing consumer’s circumstances and altering its marketing to meet them virtually, Party City could build loyalty with a key audience—families and young consumers. Creating personalized, app-enhanced features like the treat map on Nextdoor could further help Party City connect with its niche, but loyal user base, according to a Gartner report. Promoting its goods and social-distanced trick or treating could drive more consumers to stores and remind them there are alternative ways to celebrate that do not involve in-person parties or door-to-door trick or treating. Party City is the latest brand to connect with homebound Halloween celebrators, following campaigns from Crayola, Dunkin’, and Hershey’s encouraging consumers to keep the spirit alive during an atypical holiday.
Party City encourages consumers to party on this Halloween, but to do so safely. Through its partnership with Nextdoor the retailer could reach families across the country and keep the spirit of Halloween alive—virtually.