View Full Version : Help Settle A Debate!

07-28-2009, 07:11 PM
Hello everyone! I need help settling a debate.
My business partner and I are having a disagreement with something (not within the haunt-we have that all planned out!).
It's in the area of marketing/advertising...
Here's the story in a nutshell...

A haunt owner who is 16 miles away who also does a Saturday night Chiller Theater type show on the local public access station with his icon character has decided to take this year off. He *might* try and reopen in the same town as us next year but is not sure if he will or not. Well, that leaves us as the only haunt in town this year. Now I've met with him and talked online with him and he seems like a great guy who loves the business and wants to help people. Okay, here's the argument part:

He said he'd come to our haunt in character if we want him to and sell his shirts/DVD's of the show since he's somewhat of a town celebrity (small town) and do it for FREE (he said he'll miss doing the haunt this year).

He also said we can go on his show (which has a following of teens/young adults primarily-our target market) and promote our haunt...all for FREE!

Plus he'd promote himself appearing at our haunt.

Well, my business partner thinks this would ruin our reputation (no matter if it brings more people through our haunt) and that IF he does do a haunt next year he'll be more popular.

I think "Hey, we need to get people to come through our haunt and blow their minds with our haunt!"

So, we've decided to ask other haunt owners what they would do in this situation...


07-28-2009, 07:36 PM
do it!!!!!!!

07-28-2009, 07:48 PM
I'm no expert so I'm just giving my humble opinion.

I think you should take him up on his offer. A lot can happen between this year and next year. He may decide not to bring back his haunt next year or he may be unable to for whatever reason. I don't think it could hurt to get him to help promote your haunt this year, and your gut is telling you that you can trust the guy.

But again, this is only my opinion.


Allen H
07-28-2009, 10:36 PM
I would also recommend allowing him access, the worst that can happen is that his haunt customers will be exposed to your show.
Allen H

07-29-2009, 12:26 AM
I say go for it. In my opinion, there's no advertising better than free advertising (as long as you don't get it from having your haunt on the news in a crime report)!

07-29-2009, 06:01 AM
Your business partner is turning down an opportunity for free advertising, including TV? The other haunt owner may "be more popular next year", but so will you.

He's wrong on this one. Go for it...

07-29-2009, 07:10 AM
Definately take him up on his offer.

And don't worry about 'next' year. What people will remember is seeing him at your haunt after his closed, so a lot of them will simply expect to see him there next year--even if he re-starts his haunt.

07-29-2009, 08:13 AM

I know who you are referring to and if you get the opportunity to work with him, I say do it. He's a class act all the way and a very experienced haunter and talented performer and knows his character well. His haunt is one of the best out there and he knows what he's doing, working with him sounds like a great opportunity!

Good luck,


damon carson
07-29-2009, 09:15 AM
Thats something I would'nt pass up. Any free publicity you can get is great. And if you can build a true friendship so what if he opens a haunt. You will be able to co-promote with each other. Thats something I have never been able to find in this area. Another haunt I could trust to co-promote with me without stabbing me in the back. Wait I take that back 1 haunt called 13 Houses co-promoted with me and was cool. Wait I just thought of another Greg at Fear Fest has as well. Both are great guys. Hell you all know Greg. LOL!

07-29-2009, 09:25 AM
You've gotten a lot of go for it's. I don't think you have gotten one that says not to... Now you do.


07-29-2009, 10:58 AM
I would do it if I was you.

07-29-2009, 02:38 PM
Thanks for the advice so far everyone!
Funny thing is, he even mentioned that he wanted to flyer swap last year (as did we, but never asked him) but his ex-business partner said "Nope, they're competition."
They are no longer business partners so he even said "Next year, if I start a haunt again, we should do a 'fun rivalry that co-promotes together'"
MDKing-You know who I mean? Wow, cool! :)
shredman-So you say no? Just a question...why? (Not arguing just want to know if you had a bad experience or what so I understand a bit more...)

Thanks again! Anyone else? Shane? Kel?


Raycliff Manor
07-29-2009, 02:43 PM
Sorry to chime in late here. Still trying to catch up from our trip. I think it's an excellent opportunity to develop a great working relationship. I always maintain the belief that people who will attend one attraction will typically do the circuit. If this person and his haunt has an excellent reputation in the area, his endorsement by affiliation could be a true gift! ; )


07-29-2009, 02:49 PM
Wow, Kel, that was quick! ;)
That's what I'm trying to get across is that we can help each other out.
If he reopens next year we'll cross promote and we both win!
I did talk to a lot of guys I work with (day job) and some own their own side businesses...everyone said we'd be dumb to pass it up.
Soooooooooo...we'll see!


07-29-2009, 02:55 PM
I'm a bridge builder.
I say have him promote in front of your haunt, let him see the class act you have going, build a rapore with him. Then when next year rolls around he will remember you (or you can remind him beofre then) and he may want to incorporate your operation into his plans.
Growth is a good thing and 2 haunts would be better than one.

You may want to predicate this years promotion with plans for next year.

Mad Wax Sculptor
07-29-2009, 03:04 PM
its a no brainer doi it. Wost case is you add more customers and a create a better fan base.

07-29-2009, 05:32 PM
Exactly my line of thought.
I was writing up a pros/cons and I get WAY more pros. (Maybe one con and that's only being fair to what my business partner brought up which I don't agree with).


07-29-2009, 05:58 PM
Your business partner is turning down an opportunity for free advertising, including TV? The other haunt owner may "be more popular next year", but so will you.

He's wrong on this one. Go for it...

This is exactly what I was gonn say.

07-29-2009, 06:26 PM
Looks like you won the debate!! Definitely do not pass this up! It will help your reputation, NOT damage it....

07-29-2009, 06:28 PM
Yeah Kirk, I'm surprised more people don't know who it is but again I say go for I know I would!


07-29-2009, 06:50 PM
So who's the "other guy"? The only name I can think of in that part of of PA is Castle Blood and I know its not them....

07-29-2009, 07:08 PM
skullman-You're right...it's not Castle Blood.
I don't really want to bring names into it. Just want the advice.
Sorry if it sounds stupid.


07-30-2009, 05:47 PM
Hi all!
I've been getting a bunch of private messages asking who it is and guesses.
Truly, it's a small town celebrity (if you can call it that...) so I don't think anyone would know.
I just wanted to see what you'd do in *my* situation.
Thanks all for the advice. I'll keep you updated.


Jim Warfield
07-30-2009, 09:03 PM
Will you or your partner have a problem if some" brand confusion " happens as a result of buddying up with the known "celebrity"?
Sort of like in the 1960's when Ford was going to buy Ferrarri and Ford backed out because they figured when the race car lost it would be because it was a "Ford", everytime it won it would be because it was a Ferrarri!
The local Chamber of Commerce here ignored a few early requests from me for a small amount of help with some advertising and several of the main movers and shakers there hated what I was trying to do here...yet after I had large successes those same people wanted to tell me how I could not have done it without THEM!!!??
Shed the blame, run in to scoop up the credit.
Don't invest any time, effort or money, yet claim it all worked out because they were there (when they weren't)
I agree with all of the very positive posts here telling you to proceed with the celebrity helping promote you, just inventory your personalitys as far as this ego/thing goes.

07-31-2009, 04:41 PM
...Well, my business partner thinks this would ruin our reputation (no matter if it brings more people through our haunt) and that IF he does do a haunt next year he'll be more popular...

This is what I'm seeing that you are saying is the only downside to working with this person. I honestly don't understand. How does your business partner think this person's help will ruin your reputation?

I think that what your business partner is saying is a contradiction in itself. If he thinks that working with you will make the guy more popular, then I don't think that he really believes that his help will ruin your reputation. I think he's more afraid that his possible leaving you after a year will mean that you will lose customers next year that you gain this year as a result of the guy's help. I think he's very wrong about this. Even if you lose SOME of those additional customers, you will have an overall gain in customers because some should return the following year.

I think you have to convince your business partner this is a win-win situation and you should do it now. Who cares whether the guy is more popular the next year? He could go somewhere else now and become more popular too. You should jump on this opportunity now while you still have the chance.

08-01-2009, 09:41 PM
UPDATE 8-1-09

Well, the debate is over.
Thanks for all your input. My business partner is hardheaded and we worked on the haunt last night (didn't talk about the previous issue) and today he called said that he had spoken with his brother (who's a businessman) and thinks it's okay to go on the show but not have him at our haunt. He's afraid he'll steal our actors/ideas. Anyway, we're getting things lined up to go down and talk with him and discuss the show interview, etc.
I think once he meets the guy he'll be a bit more into all the promotion we can get. I've met him and he is an awesome guy/haunter with a passion for it.

Thanks again!


08-02-2009, 07:36 PM
To steal your ideas all he would have to do is buy a ticket so that's not really a valid argument.

As far as cross-promotion there are many haunts who do that with other attractions that are much closer. The comparison that has been made is movies. It used to be that there might be one or two big movies coming out a week, and you had to decide which one you would watch, and even whether you would go this weekend or next when you would have even more choices. Now everybody just goes to all of them. Same thing with haunts. No one is sitting home thinking should we go to this one or that one - they are trying to figure out a way to afford both.

Something else to think about is that as time progresses he may decide not to reopen his haunt at all and by then you would have built up yours more with his help and may develop a loyal permanent actor.

08-02-2009, 07:41 PM
It's all good now and we're moving on with the season! :)
Should be a great one...we got lots of promotion in the works and our site up and building is rocking on!
Can't wait to get back to building! lol


08-02-2009, 08:36 PM
Speaking as a haunt owner AND a TV horror host ( 85 markets on the RTV network now, not local public access..okay, I'm on that too...)

I woulda thought this was a good deal for you.

mostly because it is always nice to be able to play nice with other haunts.
you spend the season with this guy, have meals together, grow a relationship, and even if he opens again in the future, he is now a buddy, and could be a great asset. 2 haunt combo tickets and all that. which of course means he automatically pimps YOUR place on his show.
and the toughest part about having a show, is getting good content, and having more than one haunt to shoot in, would be a great thing for him.

so you both benefit.

I suggest in general, NEVER be afraid to let people see your show. if you don't let them in as friends, they will find a way to come in as adversarys. please trust me on that.
100 acre manor, Foggy Bottom Fright Fest, Scare House, and Kenny wood, are always welcome here with free passes ( gotten thru thier owners, don't try to show up on your own and SAY you are with them LOL)

best of luck to all. no matter how it ends up. and as an aside, please remember that our show is always available to haunts to use as line entertainment, rights free. just buy the dvds, and have fun.

especially if we are on in your market already.

08-02-2009, 10:38 PM
Good points, which brings up another one: It's always nice to be on good terms with a similar business nearby. Wouldn't it be great to call him up on October 15 if you run out of makeup or a part or something and need to borrow one? Do you really want to try and rush order something from a haunt vendor in the middle of October?

Jim Warfield
08-03-2009, 12:52 AM
"Are you the inventor of "BOO!"? Did you invent the polka-dot room?"
If he claims either of these to be his, runaway as far and as fast as you can!
(And the sad thing is, I am not describing just one person with this either!)