New Halloween Horror Nights Videos

 

Just a quick follow-up to my post about Halloween Horror Nights last week. The event keeps many Universal Studios employees, including my team and me (with digital advertising, social media, website content and e-commerce ticket sales) busy this time of the year. Luckily it’s a lot of fun to work on. For these reasons, I’ve got Halloween Horror Nights (a.k.a., HHN) on the brain.

While the event is top of mind for me, I know some readers aren’t familiar with it and may be curious to learn more, so I wanted to share two new videos we just released.

The video above is our first Guest Reactions video of the year. It provides a glimpse of what the event experience — i.e., walking through the themed mazes and scare-zones — is like. It also showcases why we don’t recommend HHN for kids.

We’ve been putting out Guest Reaction videos for years and, in the spirit of “imitation is flattery,” are proud to note that many other Halloween events have copied the style.

We also create Behind the Scenes videos. This is the latest in the series:

 

I’m happy to share that we’ve received a lot of good media coverage, such as this USA Today article.

If you’re in the L.A or Orlando areas and like Halloween / Horror content, please check out this year’s event.

 

(Disclosure and disclaimer:  As noted throughout this blog, I am an employee of NBCUniversal / Universal Studios Hollywood. All company information mentioned in this post is publicly available. All opinions are personal and do not represent the opinions of the company. See media relations website for official press contacts and press releases. To state the obvious, the achievements of Universal Studios Parks & Resorts are the result of the hard work and commitment of many people.)

Halloween. It’s back…. Again!

 

One year ago I wrote a post just before the start of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 2013. It looked at how our use of social media to market the event reflected the major developments in mainstream U.S. social media since the days of MySpace.

Now another year has flown by. Tonight marks the start of the 2014 event, including the opening night Eyegore Awards ceremony.

Halloween Horror Nights is a great event to market. The nature of the content — gruesome entertainment largely created in partnership with horror-film directors and producers, TV shows (such as The Walking Dead), and musicians (like this year’s collaboration with Slash) — combined with the young-adult target audience allows for a lot of creativity.

The content and the audience are both perfectly suited to digital marketing.

As in past years, we’re creating videos to highlight the guest experience as well as our entertainment team’s creative partnerships; for example:

 

Social media fan engagement is a year-round activity but naturally intensifies during the event period. We have active fan bases on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This year we also started posting on Snapchat.

My team and I are responsible for the event website, a work in progress as we always continue to add videos and photos as the event progresses. Please check it out. (Note: it includes some gory images).

For commerce, this year’s ticket store is optimized for mobile check-out.

All this work keeps us busy but it really is a lot of fun.

If you’ve been to Halloween Horror Nights, please share your thoughts about the experience in a comment below.

(Disclosure and disclaimer:  As noted throughout this blog, I am an employee of NBCUniversal / Universal Studios Hollywood. All company information mentioned in this post is publicly available. All opinions are personal and do not represent the opinions of the company. See media relations website for official press contacts and press releases. To state the obvious, the achievements of Universal Studios Parks & Resorts are the result of the hard work and commitment of many people.)

Baby Break

baby at heart of Contrast Principle break

Hello again!

As you may have noticed, this is my first new post since Spring. I’m very happy to share that this break was the result of joyful news:  my wife and I welcomed the arrival of our second child into the world. He’s a smiling, healthy baby boy, now almost four months old.

Anyone with experience with babies knows that along with the joy comes a serious disruption in previous life patterns, most obviously of the sleep variety. But in addition tasks like getting your other kid(s) off to school in the morning or to sleep at night become more complicated. This isn’t news to anyone living with kids.

Our experience has been no exception. The adjustment from family of 3 to 4 has been exciting but at times exhausting. One implication of this was… no blog posts.

But then, breaks can be very healthy. We all need time to relax, reflect and re-focus.

To that point, I hope the readers of this blog have had the chance to do the same over the past months, especially those who took time off during the summer. (“Summer” for those of you living in the northern hemisphere; I know many readers don’t, living in Argentina, Australia, etc.)

On that note, the New York Times recently published an article (“Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain“) about the importance and benefits of taking breaks. There’s a wealth of research on this topic these days, which isn’t surprising given our march toward constant connectedness and information overflow. (This article cites a statistic about brain strain: “According to a 2011 study, on a typical day, we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information, five times as much as we did in 1986”).

The article reflects upon the importance of resting and daydreaming to the creative process.

If we can train ourselves to take regular vacations — true vacations without work — and to set aside time for naps and contemplation, we will be in a more powerful position to start solving some of the world’s big problems. And to be happier and well rested while we’re doing it.”

I don’t anticipate solving any of the world’s serious problems anytime soon, but I do have hopes set on increased happiness and maybe even more rest (haha, see above, “baby”).

Thank you as always for reading The Contrast Principle. I look forward to posting more and continuing to connect with you.

Regards,

Josh