On Pinterest’s Halloween Pin Picks program, you can scroll endlessly through a sea of orange and black festivity, perusing face-painted zombies and hand-sewn masks until you go cross-eyed. Halloween is one of Pinterest’s biggest events of the year, a time when the site’s 176 million Halloween pins are perused by revelers brainstorming do-it-yourself crafts and costumes.
Fittingly, this year Pinterest is celebrating with a marketing blitz, the biggest media partnership the company has undergone yet. It partnered with three media brands — Funny or Die, eHow, and YouTube’s Michelle Phan — to get the word out. It will also be featuring ideas from College Humor, Marvel and Buzzfeed later this month.
The three entities have created Halloween-themed content specifically for [company]Pinterest[/company], which appears on the Pin Picks page alongside pins chosen by Pinterest editors. For example, Michelle Phan did an Audrey Hepburn zombie makeup tutorial and eHow posted recipes for Halloween dishes like “intestines for dessert.” It’s a holiday bonanza, meant to suck everyone into the portal of planning on the application.
But Pinterest’s Halloween Pin Picks program isn’t just a gimmick for consumer delight. It’s also a window into Pinterest’s partnerships strategy, an effort the company has been expanding since it hired a general head of partnerships last November. Then in August, Pinterest began looking for additional people to manage its relationships with the entertainment and publishing industries.
The hires signaled that Pinterest was finally ready to move into territory [company]Facebook[/company] and [company]Twitter[/company] have long been exploring: media. Pinterest told me that it wanted to teach publications how to use Pinterest to drive traffic, training them on rich embed pins and advising them on the type of content Pinterest users love the most (evergreen and visual).
The Halloween Pin Picks program shows that in addition to its education goals, Pinterest has other media plans in the works. By essentially commissioning themed content from big brands, Pinterest hopes to introduce its portal to a more mainstream audience. The holidays are a great time to attract new users, bringing in people who might not otherwise be interested in visual scrapbooking. If they’re greeted with high-quality content, hand-selected by Pinterest and featuring famous faces and known brands, they’re more likely to stick around.
These types of campaigns could, in the future, pave the way for Pinterest to make money on sponsored posts. The company experimented with REI themed camping and HDTV “Home Hacks” Pin Picks in the past. It didn’t say whether it charged these organizations for the pleasure, but you could certainly imagine it charging in the future. Halloween Pin Picks takes the themed program to the next level, bringing multiple brands under one roof and getting Pinterest users accustomed to such native advertising content.
Pinterest has a multi-pronged strategy for integrating mainstream media, albeit one it has stayed relatively mum on. It’s clearly thought through ways to incorporate them that boost Pinterest’s own profile — and down the line, perhaps its revenue.