Americans are crazy about Halloween and that works out great for costume companies, candy manufacturers, decoration providers, and of course the retailers that carry those goods. In fact, according to this report from the National Retail Foundation, Halloween represents a ~$9B sales opportunity. $2.6B of that is spent on candy (if you want to give your students an interesting exercise, have them try to calculate/forecast how many individual pieces of candy that represents).
With that much money on the line you can bet candy companies give the event special attention. The Mars Wrigley company even created a job position specifically for the event – Chief Halloween Officer. The current Chief Halloween Officer, Victor Mehren, was recently interviewed regarding the role and it’s unique challenges and opportunities. Students often appreciate the creativity delivered in commercials but they don’t often think about everything that goes on behind the scenes. In the interview, Mehren talks about Halloween’s rise in popularity outside North America, he talks about the planning timeline for Halloween (it starts roughly 6 months before the event!), and he talks about challenges from consumer trends toward more health-conscious consumption. He also talks about some of the marketing campaigns put together including a link to the first new M&M commercial in 11 years. It’s a great interview with many different topics that could fit a good post-Halloween discussion.