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Spooking Halloween Social Media Data

Spooking Halloween Social Media Data

This Halloween I decided to trick or treat social media data for some lighter side story leads.  In the spirit of full disclaimer, not to be a curmudgeon, I won’t be garbed as a groping zombie (I ride the NYC subways!), but my Boston Terrier Woogie will be adorned in her DIY peacenik cape hand me down from a previous dog.So, what did my data dig unearth? Predictably, given the heavy seasonal marketing of confections and junk food industries, I learned that sugary candy treats trump costume themes in the Halloween convo by a ration of 3 to 1 for all theme mentions. While the healthy treats chatter was still nominal at nearly 5% of total mentions, it was far from insignificant or buried by the sugary temptations, as parsed in the NetBase Crosstab chart below. [[{“fid”:”193616″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]”:””,”field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]”:”filtered_html”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:””,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:””},”type”:”media”,”attributes”:{“style”:”width: 800px; height: 289px; “,”class”:”media-element file-default”}}]] This is because the 5% Halloween healthy treats community represents a growing movement comprised of concerned parents and health and wellness practitioners who not only have the support of Michelle Obama (“Let’s Get Going” campaign), but even more significantly, as a grassroots lobby intersected in social media, poses a growing, exponentially bigger challenge to the food industry. (Americans are expected to spend $2.2 billion on candy this Halloween.)Just as Coca-Cola and other sugary soda makers have painfully learned as global sales steadily decline, healthy living is an attitude, underpinned by steadily shifting consumption patterns.  No longer do parents organize only around sugar-free, no dyes or chemical additives at Halloween, but they also suggest and concoct non-GMO and gluten-free alternative treats as part of a healthy kids all-time lifestyle.Among those promoting Healthy Halloween as a springboard for all-year nutritional change is the Centers for Disease Control’s “Creatures of Habit” campaign, KidsHealth.org, American Heart Association, as well as popular parenting and fitness forums and communities. Reflecting increasing concern about the relationship between sugar and depression, my NetBase data sample shows a 2 to 1 mentions ratio.As children learn why they should adopt healthy eating habits, they gleefully unleash their #HealthyHalloween creative energy, adopting healthy nutrition choices while changing their attitudes and relationship with food. Under pressure from a global movement, bonding in social media, which has shed light on the child obesity pandemic and threats to long-term health, the food industry’s hand is being forced. [[{“fid”:”193621″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]”:””,”field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]”:”filtered_html”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:””,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:””},”type”:”media”,”attributes”:{“style”:”width: 450px; height: 408px;”,”class”:”media-element file-default”}}]] Ok, before I’m labeled a Halloween killjoy, let’s get back to the fun of costumes.  According to a National Retail Federation survey, top selling kids themed costumes ($1.1 billion spend vs. $1.4 adult costume spend) are Teenage Ninja Mutant Ninja Turtles and Frozen.  Halloween is one of the fastest growing holidays, with two-thirds of celebrants expected to buy costumes, the highest number in the 11-year NRF survey. Overall Halloween spending this year is expected to reach $7.4 billion.Adults, too, love to dress up on Halloween and maybe just for a day, blithely flirt with fantasy characters or mentally suspend their daily grind. Zombies still rule as an escapist fantasy, according to our NetBase data (1% mentions for the past month in a field of nearly 18.5 million), while superheroes trail at a 1 to 6 ratio. Despite the late night comic punditry suggesting ebola bio-containment suits, the social media consensus has largely reacted adversely, promoting restraint.The data also shows ample interest in DIY costumes, clearly an economic indicator. And in advance of Halloween, food establishments from Chipotle ($3 burritos) to iHop (free pancakes) and Starbucks ($3 frappuccinos) are driving traffic days earlier this year, offering patrons special deals.Our furry friends, too, have spooked up the market. Just in case you’re not of the DIY penchant like me or you missed this factoid, the fastest growing part of Halloween spending is pet costumes. Americans are expected to spend $350 million on Halloween pet costumes this year, an increase of almost 60% since the National Retail Federation started tallying in 2010.

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