Verdin was honored to support the community of Isla Vista by promoting safety during Halloween weekend for the third year in a row.
Ever since Halloween 2014 – after Santa Barbara’s Deltopia party that turned riot, resulting in more than 100 arrests, 44 hospitalizations and sustained injuries for five Sheriff’s deputies – Verdin has worked with the community of Isla Vista to increase safety during heavy party weekends by discouraging attendance and encouraging safe and thoughtful behavior.
In 2013, the crowd in Isla Vista for Halloween was estimated to be 12-15,000. In 2014, it was 2-3,000. Last year, it was 500-1,000. This year, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office reported no crowd at all.
“The attendance this year over the four-day period from Friday through Monday was significantly less than a typical weekend in Isla Vista,” the Sheriff’s Office reported. In addition, “Emergency Medical Services Agency reports the number of medical transports for each night of Halloween was lower than a typical weekend in Isla Vista.”
Many entities came together to keep safety a priority. The University sponsored a concert at the Thunderdome on Thursday night for UCSB students only, which provided a fun alternative to partying and maintained a local focus. The Sheriff’s Office ensured a strong law enforcement presence, and the City of Goleta enacted resident-only parking restrictions in Isla Vista adjacent areas to discourage out-of-town attendance.fdsgd
Verdin’s role, as it has been for the past three years, was to create and implement a digital campaign in the weeks leading up to Halloween that would effectively resonate with both out-of-town students and Isla Vista residents to discourage attendance.
Using “geo-fencing” technology to reach zip codes of out-of-towners, we placed social media ads with strong emphasis on the negative consequences of attending Halloween. Employing a peer-to-peer approach, the ads showed images of college students who experienced negative consequences from attending the party. We modified the theme of our spring campaign, “Deltopia Stayed With Me,” to “Halloween still haunts me” for a closer tie to the holiday. Images showed people getting their car towed and getting caught at a DUI checkpoint, and messaging emphasized that consequences would remain long after the weekend ended.
A small portion of our budget was dedicated to Facebook advertising for Santa Barbara residents, and it was very different from the out-of-town messaging. The message of “keep it local, keep it safe” was emphasized to encourage those living in or near Isla Vista to take pride in their community and work together to protect it. The “Keep Isla Vista Safe” Facebook page was directed toward Isla Vista residents, encouraging community pride and asking residents to work together to protect their special community.
Digitally, the results of the “Keep Isla Vista Safe” campaign performed incredibly well. The combination of Facebook, Instagram, Pandora and digital in-app mobile banner ads was well over 3 million, meaning that thousands of college-aged students received the message they needed to hear.
As always, we monitored social media closely and then held our breath for the news on November 1, and breathed a collective sigh of relief when Noozhawk, KEYT and the Daily Nexus all reported a very safe and quiet Halloween.
The effort to protect Isla Vista is an important and meaningful one, and Verdin is proud to be a part of keeping a very special community safe once again.