Play The Halloween Candy Communications Strategy ChallengeSick of Halloween Candy yet? 

Did you overbuy?


Over trick or treat?

Will you turn green if you see one more mini-Twix bar?

And what the heck are you going to do with all that candy corn (that seemed like a good idea to buy at the time, huh?)

Halloween is a super fun holiday.

It gives you an excuse to dress up in costume and not have to explain yourself.

But, once it is all said and done you are often stuck with piles of candy you need (and your waistline needs) to get out of the house. 

Have no fear! Today, I’m going to help your communications skills and your waistline by giving you something to do with it.

Halloween Candy and Your Communications Strategy

Step One: Divide Candy Into Five Categories.

  • Nuts: Anything containing nuts.
  • Chewy: Do you have to chew for longer than you would regular candy? These are things such as gum, Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls (to the left, to the left), and Laffy Taffy.
  • Hard: The stuff such as lollipops and hard candy.
  • Chocolate: Anything with chocolate. But make sure they don’t fit into another category. 
  • Candy corn: Candy that looks like corn (whose bright idea was this anyway?)

If a candy has more than one of these qualities, just choose a category.

Step Two: Candy Media Type Key

  • Nuts represent earned media tactics (because let’s face it, sometimes the media are like a bag of mixed nuts). This includes interviews, placements, contributed content, OpEds, and any sort of influencer relations.
  • Chewy candy is shared media efforts (because chewing is a community activity…or something like that), including community building and any activities on the social channels.
  • Hard candy is paid media—both paid social and lead generation and nurturing tactics (because this is how you generate leads which can lead to hard cold cash. AKA: revenue for your organization).
  • And, finally, chocolate is owned media (because it’s oh so sweet and part of a good portion of all the other candy).
  • Oh and candy corn. Throw it out. Yuck, that stuff is gross.

Step Three: Play by the Rules

Here are the rules for our Halloween Candy Communications Strategy Challenge:

For every candy in each category, you must create an associated strategy.

Then you must pair it with one candy in each of the other categories for an integrated communications strategy. 

Candy Communications Strategy in Action

For example, if I have a lollipop (hard), a Snickers bar (nuts), a Tootsie roll (chewy), and a miniature Hershey’s bar, I’d create the following:

I’d start with the Snickers because it has both chocolate and nuts…making it perfect for an earned media content hub strategy, much like what we teach in The Modern Blogging Masterclass.

You can also learn more about that here and here.

I’d pair that with the Hershey’s bar to ensure what we are creating aligns with our overall owned media strategy.

And then….let me see you Tootsie Roll!

We’d use our Tootsie Roll for a social distribution strategy. To the left, to the left, to the front, to the front. And then get the entire community we’ve built to slide baby slide, slide baby slide (too much?….ok, but you follow my smoke trail here, right?).

Finally, we’d include some lollipop content hosted behind landing pages (paid media). We will drive lead to it through the anchor keyword links in our earned media placements (per our Snickers strategy). 

And hey, let’s get craaaazy! Maybe that lollipop is like one of those really amazing spiral ones that are the size of your head. And so you create a lead nurturing funnel for leads who opt-in for our lollipop content. How many conversions does it take for a lead to turn into revenue? Let’s find out.

communications strategy

Maybe you have a Blow Pop too, which means it’s chewy in the center.

I should add some paid social media ads that drive people to our landing pages.


And you thought lollipops were a simple candy.

But there you go. An integrated strategy via candy! Write it down, clean the slate and pick four more candies to try.

Rinse (or eat), repeat! 

Candy Brings People Together

Of course you can do this alone, but even more fun is to hand candy out to your teams and have them work through candy-driven strategy ideas.

It’s a great way to think outside of the proverbial communications strategy box and challenge yourself, and your team, to create integrated campaigns and really think through how the pieces fit together.

You can always get more specific with your candy key to add important communications strategy components which might be unique to you. For example, perhaps you want anything with coconut to be related to events or trade shows, or all candy in a foil wrapper to apply to partnership opportunities.

The sky’s the limit in how you can direct candy communications strategy development efforts.

Bonus points if you send Gini Dietrich all of your Butterfingers (for real).

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

View all posts by Laura Petrolino