Sunday, 31 October 2010

Halloween posters and pumpkin patrol cars

Well I think we made it through without getting the dreaded knock from witches, ghouls, ghosts and vampires this evening.  I spent some quality time trawling through all the UK police websites, picking out all the halloween advice - specifically the 'no trick or treat' posters. I did this because in the past, there have been suggestions that money could easily be saved if police forces collaborated on seasonal campaigns like Christmas, drink-driving, Halloween and fireworks.

26 forces host 'no trick or treating' posters with 10 offering posters for shop owners regarding flour and eggs with 9 offering 'we welcome trick or treaters' posters.

There is a definite north/south divide with most forces in the south offering some sort of halloween advice. Many northern forces don't offer similar advice with none of the Scottish forces offering anything at all.  If I get time, I'll add in a UK graphic to illustrate this.

So take a look at all the posters and see what you think.  My view is that they are all very similar and there need only be one poster designed for all forces to use. It would be possible to leave a space for a force crest and message at the bottom if that is important.  By pooling resources for posters, there would be additional budget available for supporting material which is not normally an option for many forces - video, audio and game resources could also be shared.  Listed below are some innovative ideas I came across which could also be scaled up for national use.

Surrey Police - Pumpkin patrol car
Competitions (Essex, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia)
Video (Essex, Thames Valley, Nottinghamshire)
Radio adverts (Surrey)
Schools resources (Northamptonshire)
Screensaver (Essex)
Pumpkin patrol car (Surrey)
Colouring sheets (Essex, West Mercia)
Halloween webchat (Leicestershire)

Apologies if I have missed out any innovative halloween initiatives - please comment with any additions and I'll update! There are perhaps many other ideas which would become practical opportunities at a national level - maybe TV adverts, high-profile launches, celebrity endorsements, cinema adverts, flash games, smartphone apps . . .


  1. really interesting post.

    Thanks for picking up details on our Pumpkin patrol campaign. My colleagues did a lot of work creating it.

    We printed a lot of the cards and distributed them to vulnerable residents in hot spot areas (identified using previous years data and Mosaic).

    The Pumpkin Patrol car (we already had an orange one and just added the magnetic graphics!) was used at roadshows in known hotspot areas.
    We also used bluetooth messaging at the roadshows, and it was very successful at bringing younger people to speak with the officers.

  2. David

    Fantastic bit of research again. I wish that I had this a couple of years ago when I sat on the ACPO MAG and APPRO national boards.

    This would have helped put the point across that I was making in relation to a single national police web system - that both of us have been championing for a number of years.

    My example always has been Halloween posters in relation to how we can reduce the marketing costs nationally by using a single police service web system (not a single website but many websites on one shared system). We could design one poster and then have this filter through to the forces sites with their crests and vision statements automatically being populated.

    This could be replicated for all of the community engagement information that the police service provide the community as often the message is very similar if not the same. Just think how much we could save!


  3. Our Halloween campaign is by far and away our most successful marketing initiative. The posters fly out of police stations (not literally, of course, despite the time of year!) and it has the highest recognition factor among the public that we have surveyed. I guess that's not surprising as it seems to be something they genuinely want.