Target’s ‘Halloween Hills’ Leverages Instagram to Engage Consumers

Breaking through the clutter online is always a big challenge facing communicators. The challenge grows more acute when there’s a holiday that brands and organizations want to leverage to boost their visibility. With its new “Halloween Hills” experience, Target is hoping to both break through the clutter and leverage a holiday.

The retailer is creating a virtual trick-or-treat experience on Instagram with a “DIY” theme.

“Halloween Hills,” which launched Tuesday, is a virtual neighborhood made up of taggable images that are displayed together. The neighborhoods include illustrated “homes” with ghoulish inhabitants. Lurking within the nooks and crannies of Halloween Hills are 30 DIY recipes and craft projects, along with 300 photos.


Trick-or-treaters step into @Target’s Halloween Hills and knock at any of the houses, selecting a “trick” or a “treat” when the tags appear, according to A Bullseye View.

Behind each door are step-by-step photo tutorials of family-friendly crafts (“tricks”) and snacks (“treats”) housed on different accounts.

The program, which runs thought October 31, combines gamification and branding. For PR pros, “Halloween Hills” provides a solid example of how to stand out from the pack. It’s interactive, with a high “fun” quotient, not to mention the social media element.

The PR lesson is to think about which holidays—and which social media channels—can best bring out your brand attributes. Halloween Hills also demonstrates the importance of including DIY elements in digital communications.

Giving consumers the ability to immerse themselves with online programs may be half the battle in cutting through the clutter. Online communications is based on “pull,” not “push.” Make your program interactive. Enable users to engage your company on their own terms. But, in doing so, don’t compromise your brand or patronize your customers and prospects.

Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1