A scream is a scream in any language, and there were plenty of them in the ads created in both English and Spanish language for the 2011 Haunted Hotel, Haunted Trail and Scream Zone radio campaign. The company that owns the attractions chose radio as the medium to create excitement and urgency about the events that are open for only 30 days each year, investing 90% of their budget in the medium.
Radio company Uniradio helped create the Spanish language spots for the 2011 campaign in conjunction with Jerry Del Villar of RSP Radio. In using stations KHTY and XHFG, the clients were hoping to attract Spanish speaking 18 to 49-year olds – part of an effort to reach a large chunk of the younger San Diego population and all ethnic backgrounds. And increase sales after some erosion in attendance figures in recent years due to the economy.
The owners of the haunted venues explained that in a time when many businesses cut their advertising because of the recession, they did just the opposite. They increased their budget, adding to the dollars they invested in radio while eliminating television advertising because of results that they said were disproportionate to its cost. Print ads were also utilized.
In addition to spots running on eleven broadcast radio stations, the campaign included streaming radio and digital ads on station websites. “Radio stations also offer a huge online data base that complements our on air campaign,” wrote owners Greg De Fatta and Robert Bruce. “We drive traffic to our website where patrons have the opportunity to purchase tickets online. We had an incredible 35.1% of online ticket sales, the highest ever, which we believe is in direct correlation to our campaign.”
The far from chilling results? “From 2010 to 2011, attendance increased at the Haunted Hotel by 7.1% and the Haunted Trail increased by a whopping 13.1%,” say the owners. Their third venue, Scream Zone at the Del Mar Scaregrounds, was up 6.3%.
Not only has the San Diego company created compelling radio spots, they've also been recognized for the creative excellence of their venues. In October 2010, the Subway Room at The Haunted Hotel was rated as the “Best Room” in the United States by Scare Zone, an organization that rates haunted attractions around the country.
At the end of the ghoulish 2011 run, the haunted attractions brought in enough people to make it the second best year in the company’s 22 year history. The owners say they see no reason to move away from a winning radio-driven campaign and will continue to invest in radio to grow their business.