Halifax goes retro

Downtown Halifax salutes movies of the ’80s

Campaign makes nods to Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Back To The Future

The Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) is going back in time for its latest marketing effort.

The not-for-profit group has launched a city-wide promotion in Halifax that will see local businesses offer ’80s-era pricing and host ’80s-themed events.

The centrepiece of the campaign is a video conceived by Extreme Group and shot by Accomplice Content Supply. Shot at 14 different locations in downtown Halifax over the course of a day, the video is a fever dream of ’80s movie references. The actors in the spot, Kirstin Howell and Michael McPhee, act out memorable scenes from hit ’80s films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Back To The Future and The Breakfast Club.

Fifteen businesses are currently running ’80s-themed promotions for the campaign, including a bar hosting a classic albums cover night and a hotel challenging guests to stay for a tech-free weekend. Several others are offering ’80s themed pricing (about a 20%-30% discount).

The initiative follows last year’s similarly retro “Date Night” campaign, which pulled in nearly 140,000 views and drove a 2,000% increase in year-over-year traffic to the DHBC’s website. That campaign was the most successful promotion in the DHBC’s history, according to the group’s director of marketing, Brenden Sommerhalder.

The runaway success of “Date Night” inspired the DHBC to dip into the same fountain of inspiration for this year’s winter campaign.

“We learned from the success of last year’s campaign that this ’80s framing is popular, so this year we wanted to borrow on the success from last year, but not re-create it or jump the shark,” Sommerhalder said. “We were looking for a refreshed way to bring this [idea] back.”

Since the ad was posted last week, it has pulled in nearly 60,000 views on Facebook and about 1,500 on YouTube. It will get a further push when the DHBC’s media spend on YouTube kicks in later this week.

The group is also running three print executions in local magazines and newspapers through the end of March.

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