Loto-Québec gets paranormal for Halloween

Who: Loto–Québec and Sid Lee, with Blood Brothers for special effects.

What: A “paranormal” campaign for the Halloween-themed scratch ticket Phobie, marketed with the tagline “Your phobias are back.”

When & Where: The campaign started quietly in mid-October, with reveal video coming a few days later.

Why: Loto-Québec wanted to drive awareness of its seasonal scratch tickets. “It can be hard to set yourself apart on social media, given the quantity of content online,” said Janie Thériault, director of marketing communications, web and social media at LotoQuébec, in a release. “We wanted to find an original way to talk about phobias and create a unique online experience, to go beyond advertising to start a conversation.”

How: Sid Lee worked with four dépanneurs to create in-store, closed-circuit video showing spooky, unexplainable things happening inside the stores. The videos were posted to each store’s Facebook page. On Oct. 16, R. Patenaude posted a video that showed cooler doors mysteriously opening and closing, with a caption that (loosely translated) asked if anyone had seen anything like it before and that the owners were trying to figure it out.

In a week, the videos generated almost 400,000 views and more than 4,300 comments. At which point the reveal video announced the return of the Phobie lottery game. “There are always two kinds of commenters posting under internet videos of spectral appearances: skeptics and those who believe in ghosts with their heart and soul,” said Alexis Caron-Côté, copywriter at Sid Lee.

Quote: “We took the basic principles of traditional stunts and adapted them to social media. Instead of tricking just a few people, we got one over on thousands of people online. Everyone had a lot of fun together,” said Alex Béland, art director at Sid Lee.

David Brown