From Garb to Goul

Want to join in on the Halloween fun but don’t sell Halloween products? No sweat! Polyvore and LOFT sent these emails showing how to turn everyday clothes into one-of-a-kind Halloween showstoppers! With the right foundation and a few accessories, you can make your products relevant and irresistibly original! It just takes a little imagination.

From: Polyvore
Date: 10/14/15
Subject Line: The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Halloween


As for the design, they did a great job making the text scannable and staggering the products for flow. However, I would have liked to see a little more Halloween flare by using color, backdrops or graphics. Also, the landing page experience was less than ideal. After looking through pages upon pages of products, I was unable to find the clothing featured in the email. Whenever you’re linking to a category rather than a specific product, ALWAYS begin the list with the featured item.

From: LOFT
Date: 10/29/15
Subject Line: 40% off EVERYTHING (costumes included)


LOFT took a similar approach. In fact, the designs are nearly identical. They chose to add a flashing call to action, which is sure to grab attention. (And an additional call to action at the bottom, which also can’t hurt!) However, the banner at the top of the email (IMHO) takes up too much space, pushing the main message and products below the fold. Their landing page is better than Polyvore’s, but could be improved upon. Every link goes to the same page, containing all of the items featured in the email. They took the time to write out the different products (ex: striped shirt + high waist skinnies + gloves = mime), so they could have easily linked each word to the corresponding item’s page on the website.

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JibJab Hero

A Hauntingly Fabulous Email

JibJab is scoring some major design points! Their emails are always sure to grab your attention by including your photo in a hilarious setting and/or using fun animated gifs. This email in particular went the extra mile.

From: JibJab
Date: 10/20/15
Subject Line: The Halloween Collection is Here
See it in Motion


I love their use of graphics from top to bottom. The animated flying bats, JibJab logo in the glowing full moon, haunted house, night sky backdrop, and spooky graveyard all give this email a very fun and unified look. All of the videos are tied together, each appearing inside a window of the haunted house. The animated gifs really grab your attention and set the tone. I especially like that each animation is unique – from dancing characters to flicking film, swaying monsters and a spooky glow. The borders around each call to action are also a nice touch. They even did a fantastic job optimizing this email for disabled images by using HTML text. Love, love, love this email. Happy Halloween, JibJab!

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Urban Outfitters Pumpkin Hero

Back to Basics

From: UrbanOutfitters.com
Date: 9/18/15
Subject Line: Click on the 🎃 to Shop Halloween →

Urban Oufitters

My first thought when I opened this email was, “What the— What’s going on?” The entire email is filled with pumpkins overlapping one another continuously in an animated gif. It didn’t take me long to find the instructions in the subject line: Click on the 🎃 to Shop Halloween →. Of course the pumpkins all say “Shop Halloween” as well, but they aren’t immediately apparent as clickable.

I liked the use of the pumpkin emoji in the subject line. The email is a unique idea and it definitely got my attention. However, I’m curious how successful the email campaign was. I have three immediate concerns: 1) lack of product imagery, 2) will the instructions in the subject line be overlooked? and 3) is this email too gimmicky? It brings me back to the days of flashing banners to get attention. Are we past that now or does this strategy still work? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Would you click on this email? Let us know what you think on our Code à la Mode Facebook page.

One other observation worth mentioning is that the pumpkins appear quite differently in various email platforms. Here are some screenshots to illustrate. If you’re planning on using a special character in your email or subject line, it might be worth checking out all the versions people will be seeing (email platforms and smart phones alike). You won’t be able to change how it looks, but it may influence your decision about using it all together. See more on special character rendering in subject lines from a previous post by Lyla here.

Gmail Pumpkin
Yahoo Pumpkin
Hotmail Pumpkin

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