norway-halloween-prankIn public relations, we constantly tout the importance of knowing your audience.

The relationship of public relations to marketing is very important when it comes to knowing who your target market is and what they are searching for.  But the problem that many companies run into is that many times they fail to think about who is receiving your message before they execute. The result? You’ll be left with egg on your face and likely a drop in customer loyalty.

Case in Point:

A Norwegian shop has been forced to apologize after stocking fake severed body parts in their freezer in a Halloween prank gone wrong. The “chop shop” range of fake severed hands and feet, covered in blood, shrink-wrapped and even sporting nutritional information, were sold next to cuts of meat.

Shoppers were horrified to find the bloody hands and limbs in the meat freezers at Europris, which has stores across Norway. Parents were especially concerned that the items would frighten children who were shopping for costumes.

After a flood of complaints on social media the store removed the items and issued an apology, with spokesperson Knut Spaeren saying: “We also didn’t want to cause any upset, especially not to children and we are withdrawing the range with immediate effect.”

However, some customers said it was too little, too late.

“There’s no doubt my children would have been terrified if they’d seen this in the shops,” customer Mona Urfjell wrote on Facebook. (1)

The verdict: Ultimate #PRFail. Simply put, this was not a good idea, despite being funny.  This shop failed to understand their target market and what was funny to them was not funny to their customers.

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