The Stockholm horror film festival scared patrons into signing up for film showings.
Ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi Stockholm launched a campaign that sent creepy text messages to members to get them to sign up for the horror film festival Elmstas 3000, which was themed “Home Invasion.”

First, the agency sent messages from an unknown number with an attached photo taken outside each receiver’s house. Half an hour later, members received a second message saying “We’re in your living room.” If the member Googled the number, the displayed the result reads “Now we’re in your kitchen.” When clicked on, the link prompted the member to RSVP to the event.

All members who were contacted signed up within two hours.

Scaring you where you live

Across markets and around the world, advertisers are struggling to get consumers’ attention. The advertising landscape is becoming so cluttered, many companies are resorting to rewarding people for watching, listening to, or engaging with ads and marketing messages (see our “Attention Economy” trend).

In order to stand out, we’re seeing more ads that make use of scent, let the viewer interact with the ad, and can be personalized.

To further boost the experiential factor of advertisements and marketing messages, some brands and companies are setting up more elaborate situations where people find themselves in a predicament that they’re unlikely to soon forget: being made to feel as though they’re under arrest or asked to race through a train station as James Bond might, for example.

According to Mintel’s Digital Trends Summer UK June 2013 report, 22% of consumers said they like advertisements that are humorous and 17% said they like ads that are related to their interests.

This film festival’s approach was successful with members who obviously enjoyed the thrill of being frightened. Other companies would do well to launch creative strategies to engage consumers in ways that incorporate elements of the event being advertised or the product being sold. Creating a memorable experience may boost brand loyalty and would certainly get consumers talking about the brand.

This is an observation from our Inspire trend Sense of the Intense which looks at how intense physical and sensory experiences give life, brands and products deeper meaning.