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Scaremongers at Ocean Park Reveal Untold Secrets of Marketing Schemes

2009-09-21

Immersive Experience and Public Participation Keys to Success of  Ocean Park Halloween Bash

(21 September 2009 – Hong Kong) As the Hong Kong public naturally expects to be scared stiff again at this year’s Ocean Park Halloween Bash 2009, the marketing team behind Ocean Park’s scarily successfully annual celebration reveals for the first time today some of its well-guarded strategies that has transformed Hong Kong into a bona fide “Halloween City”.

Vivian Lee, Marketing Director of Ocean Park said, “The key to marketing success is to stay relevant to the market we serve.  This has always been our guiding principle.  So, to find out what makes our Halloween guests tick – and flip – we talked with them!  So, last year, immediately after the Halloween event, we had a couple of focus group meetings with our guests – they included youths of between 16 to 22 years of age, and people between 23 to 44 years of age.  They told us they can resonate with local ghost stories, and that they hoped to relive elements of these ghost lore here, at Ocean Park’s Halloween Bash.  Additionally, they expressed the wish to be engaged in immersive experiences.  With this, we found this year’s direction – local ghost stories – and from these, our mission was to develop these into unforgettable personal experiences.”

Ms Lee continued, “So, we spent months researching, and came up with prominent iconic ghost stories, such as “Pond Lady”, “Ms Single Braid”, and “The Vampire Catcher”, among others, which grew into haunted houses.”

Ocean Park is also taking a road less travelled by enabling and inviting the local community to shape its own Halloween experience.  “We ran a Haunted House Design Competition whereby the winning team gets to have their frightening creation featured as one of the 8 new haunts in Ocean Park Halloween Bash 2009.  And to cause a “viral effect” to cause a stir with our Halloween Bash antics, we employed the latest social medium – the pVideo - that lets browsers and Park guests alike to turn their friends into the ghostly character of a personal video which, in turn, these friends would receive by email, and view.” Ms Lee continued.

To penetrate deep within the local market, Ocean Park also enlisted “Laughing Gor” (謝天華) to “groom” a group of “double-crossers” to scare their friends on the night they visit Ocean Park for the Halloween Bash.  Being a “double-crosser” among cronies adds yet another layer to the meaning of immersion and participation.  To make both Halloween and Ocean Park Halloween Bash 2009 a success, we have to exploit popular culture at many levels.  For instance, besides “Laughing Gor” , we created a series of web-based ghost story serials featuring a popular feng shui master, Master Szeto,  who tells ghoulish tales that are broadcast on You Tube, Road Show and Facebook. ” Ms Lee added.

Ocean Park employs traditional marketing tools in inventive ways as well.  A decorated ice-cream truck is being used by Ocean Park for the first time this year to add new meaning to a “bone-chilling” Halloween experience.  And to highlight the fun side of Halloween, Ocean Park has incorporated comical elements in their TV ads featuring Police Station No.13; in Master Szeto’s print ads; on the “Ms Single Braid” ice-cream truck; and the public exhibition of the wedding costume made for last year’s reincarnated “King of the Underworld”, a.k.a. Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, who wore it at Ocean Park Halloween Bash 2008. They also worked with radio personalities who told ghost stories in a fun way.   Ms Lee said, “These are all part of the marketing of Halloween through the idea that fright can be fun, especially at Ocean Park Halloween Bash.”

Ms Lee noted in conclusion, “Our marketing strategy for Ocean Park Halloween Bash is immersion on all levels, from local ghosts and haunts to double-crossers and social participation, from the world of horror to the everyday world of the consumer.  In helping make Halloween a growing part of Hong Kong culture, Ocean Park, we would like to think, has also helped Hong Kong become a significant part of the world of Halloween culture.”