What we hope will be the first annual Field of Screams event was a frightfully good success! The event raised $50,000 in support of the Pensacola Little Theatre, a local nonprofit devoted to entertaining, enriching and educating the community. The way the event came together is also a fascinating case study of the power of collaborative marketing.

Back in September, Dick Appleyard was in Boston and saw an ad for a haunted house. He didn’t think much about it until he met with the Blue Wahoos front office about how to add revenue streams now that baseball season was over. Then he had a eureka moment.

“I remembered that the Pensacola Little Theatre used to put on a haunted house here, and since the Blue Wahoos already do Wahooloween, it seemed like a natural fit to bring the two together,” said Dick.

That’s how it started. “Field of Screams Haunted Stadium” would be a collaboration between the Pensacola Little Theatre and the Blue Wahoos to put on a massive haunted house experience in the tunnels and rooms under Blue Wahoos Stadium. It was a wonderful way for both organizations to maintain revenues and the first of many Field of Screams win-wins.

Appleyard Agency headed up the marketing efforts, designing the Field of Screams logo, outdoor, print ads and flyers, implementing media campaigns, producing a TV ad, and coordinating between entities to ensure that everything went according to plan.

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Then one of our clients, Bright Downtown Dental Arts, approached us about being a sponsor. They wanted exposure for their new office and were happy to support a fun community event. Another win-win.

Field of Screams would run for two weeks prior to Halloween. Two tours would be offered: a family-friendly 3D Maze early in the evening, and then for those 14 and older a “Terror Under the Stadium” haunted tour, featuring the creepiest of clowns, a mad butcher’s slaughterhouse, and all manner of ghouls and gore. A cackling, broom-waving, eyeball-munching witch would greet guests and pose for selfies, and visitors could also enjoy concessions and scary movies on the stadium’s Jumbotron.

Photo Credit: Gregg Pachkowski/gregg@pnj.com

 

Tickets were made available on the Blue Wahoos website and at the box office. A Facebook ad campaign was optimized to take people to the website to purchase tickets. A custom photo frame was added to the Field of Screams Facebook page so that whenever a visitor clicked that they were going to the event, they could access the frame to use on images they took on the haunted tour. All was set for a smashing success.

But, even the best marketing plan can hit a snag. When the feedback from the public was that the $25 adult price was too high, a $5 coupon for “Terror Under the Stadium” was made available for pickup at the Blue Wahoos’ Bait & Tackle Team Store, the Pensacola Little Theatre and the Bodacious Family of Shops, which drove business to Field of Screams supporters. Another win-win.

The final piece was brining in the media. We approached the Pensacola News Journal and WEAR-TV 3 about partnering with us to promote Field of Screams, and we organized a Media Night the night before the grand opening for all local media to get the full haunted experience and have a fun local event to report on. Another win-win.

We learned many lessons to improve future haunts, and we got some fantastic feedback from the public. Here’s a sample:

As for the conclusion to our shocking success story, it’s literally best to let the boss have the last say:

“At its heart, local advertising is about community. A good marketing partner understands the value of collaboration and looks for ways to bring organizations, local businesses and the media together for successful endeavors that benefit everyone involved and the community as a whole.”—Dick Appleyard, President of Appleyard Agency

 

About Heather Carroll

Heather Carroll joined the Agency in 1996 and is involved with nearly every aspect of copywriting and content development, including print, PR, television, radio, digital and social media. She graduated from Pensacola Junior College with honors and went on to attend the University of West Florida. She has 20 years’ experience as a copywriter/editor and project manager.

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