Scare Tactics: Which Brands Are Setting Themselves Apart This Halloween Season?

Posted October 30, 2017 by

Halloween always represents a huge opportunity for brands to deviate from their traditional marketing appearance and join the rest of us by putting on a costume. Whether you are Burger King using it as an occasion to take a shot at the competition, or Strongbow perhaps trying to convince the world that cider isn’t just a summer drink, Halloween gives both us and brands a chance to be something a little different. So, in the spirit of the holiday, let’s take a look a look at some of the more interesting, spooky Brand adaptations this year.

Mars Treats us with Bite Size Horror:

Baseball fans this fall have been (judging by the social media reactions) “clearly freaked…out” by these two minute short films that have been aired in their entirety during the MLB playoffs. Mars and Fox teamed up with up-and-coming horror directors to produce these films for various Mars brands. The Skittles’ “Floor 9.5” has especially appeared to creep out audiences, made even more dramatic by the Brand’s departure from its normally rather silly advertising. Being stuck in an elevator and accosted by strange men in the dark is a far cry from the “Skittle-pox.”

Svedka Vodka Scares with Clever Retargeting:

After viewing Svedka’s “cursed” video, consumers can expect to be relentlessly stalked by online ads reminding them of their new affliction. In an almost tongue and cheek approach, Svedka has taken something normally loathed by audiences everywhere in the form of encroaching online ads and made it into a smart Brand game of sorts. It lets the audience in on the joke which makes the aggressiveness of retargeting ad campaigns feel less Orwellian and annoying. “We’re of the mind-set that the vast majority of people within this target will crack a smile when they realize for once it’s not a vacuum cleaner or that jacket they once looked at online 27 days ago populating the paid space of their screens,” Dan Strasser of Bensimon Byrne, the agency behind the ad, says. “The beauty of the insight is that it turns something inherently negative – banner ads – into a fun and seasonally relevant experience.”

Pinterest Gives a Tour Through Their Haunted House:

Pinterest has created their own branded haunted house as “an interactive, photo-real experience made with 3D graphics.” Users will access the house through their mobile devices or computers and, in true Pinterest fashion, “sprinkled throughout the house” will be “Pinner’s favorite Halloween ideas.” Audiences can expect things like “a pitcher on the kitchen counter takes you to a recipe for black lemonadeor a “specimen cup on the table” that is actually a Jell-O shot recipe. Pinterest has hit-the-nail-on-the-head here with a thematic and unique way to experience what users expect from the social platform. They can “explore” the haunted house and be able to “pin” ideas from the house just as they would from the normal app.

Halloween differs from the other major holidays as a unique opportunity for brands to do something drastically different. Other big holidays lend themselves to more subtle changes in things like color palette or message, but they all tend to be similar in tone. Halloween on the other hand, encourages a level of risk taking that makes for exciting and distinct ways to reinterpret and present brands in a new (spooky) light.


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