SOURCE: Zimmerman Advertising

Zimmerman Advertising

October 28, 2009 14:19 ET

Zimmerman Uses Facebook Apps to 'Brew' Attention for Party City This Halloween

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwire - October 28, 2009) - When brainstorming a Halloween campaign for client Party City, the brains at Zimmerman Advertising weren't about to rely solely upon traditional media initiatives. Instead, the team decided to utilize social media and its ubiquity in the daily lives of Party City's target consumer to help reinforce the campaign's central message, "Nobody has More Halloween for Less."

Putting together a multi-level program to attract new fans and social networking members, creating different ways to engage them, and making sure they could activate a retail purchase, were key objectives of the social strategy. In order to create a multi-tier plan that would embrace the agency's Brandtailing™ methodology, the Interactive Division at Zimmerman came up with two Facebook "apps" that were a huge success from the start.

"'Brew Your Costume' and 'House of Halloweenies' used a series of very targeted Facebook and in-line buys to gain awareness and followers," says Zimmerman's Scott Thaler, Executive Vice President, Chief Interaction Officer. "Both apps have yielded tremendous results so far -- we are averaging a pass-along rate of approximately four times for every consumer captured."

The Facebook apps were developed to be exciting and keep consumers engaged, as well as help with incremental retail costume sales, both online and at the Party City retail stores. "Brew Your Costume" answers the reoccurring question, "What am I going to be for Halloween this year?" Using Facebook Connect, the application gives consumers the option of either connecting directly with their Facebook accounts or manually inputting their information. In the first case, the app pulls profile information to develop costume recommendations; in the second, it asks the consumer a series of questions that result in recommendations. Once recommendations are made, the Facebookers can post their brewed costumes to their status updates and/or purchase selected costumes online.

"'Brew Your Costume' is definitely fun and unexpected -- you can never tell what it's going to spit out. For example, it selected Iron Man for Jordan Zimmerman and Hugh Hefner for me," notes Thaler.

For "House of Halloweenies," the goal was to keep the consumer engaged in the process. In order to navigate their way through a virtual house, users must find a series of tricks and treats, which include singing and dancing Halloweenies, a custom closet and coupons. "The scavenger hunt is keeping consumers engaged for two to six minutes at a time, allowing them to interact with the Party City brand and becoming more familiar with the fun merchandise Party City has to offer," adds Rusty Howard, Senior Vice President, Digital Operations.

As of last week, "Brew Your Costume" had thousands of "brews" with approximately 3 out of every 10 users clicking through to purchase and the same number forwarding to a friend. "Halloweenies" also had thousands of users during this time period, each of whom used the application for an average of about 3 minutes. You can view additional screen grabs of the two widgets by downloading them from https://download.yousendit.com/YkxMK0drNkdCMTVjR0E9PQ. This link will be good for seven days.

Zimmerman turned to social media for this campaign in part because of sheer numbers -- more consumers are flocking to the Internet daily, and the number of consumers using social media applications as a major part of their everyday interactions -- and the time spent doing so -- is growing exponentially. Also, the age range of this group continues to increase, both because the original "digital pioneers" are aging, as well as an older demographic becoming more accepting of the new technologies. Couple that with the fact that consumers are searching out "people like me" for purchase advice and decisions -- 78% of consumers trust "people like themselves" for recommendations -- and this becomes a very robust medium to get the word out about Party City's product range.

The six-week campaign, which launched on October 24 with TV, print, out-of-home and radio, is the first creative for Party City since Zimmerman won the full service AOR account in June.

Creative Credits

--  Scott Thaler - Chief Interaction Officer
    
--  Rusty Howard - Digital Operations
    
--  Hector Holquin, Mike Murray - Programming
    
--  Steve Park, Eric Thomas, Jared Pervis - Design
    
--  Vivian Owen, Jenny Morck - Copywriters
    

About Party City

Party City Corporation is America's largest discount party goods chain. Party City currently has more than 600 company-owned and franchise stores in the United States and Puerto Rico. Party City is a division of Amscan Holdings, Inc., which owns, operates or franchises over 900 specialty party retail stores and also operates a wholesale and manufacturing division. To learn more about Party City, call 1-800-477-4841 or visit the company's website at www.partycity.com. To learn more about Amscan Holdings, Inc., visit www.amscan.com.

About Zimmerman Advertising

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Zimmerman Advertising, an Omnicom Group™ company, is the country's leading national retail brand builder, and the 14th largest advertising agency in the United States according to Adweek, with more than 1,100 full-time associates and offices throughout the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta. For information on the agency, visit http://www.zadv.com. To learn more about Jordan Zimmerman, his business philosophies and opinions, visit his blogspot: www.yousleepwhenyoudie.com.

Omnicom Group

Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom's branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.