Trick or Treat: our favourite Halloween marketing campaigns

Halloween is expected to be a roaring success at the tills this year, with UK shoppers expecting to spend £320m on the annual event. Spine-tingling stuff! Halloween is a growing opportunity for brands to apply a liberal dollop of creative licence with devising the most ghoulish and scream-curdling content.

It’s also an opportunity to be creative while scaring people – something that, as marketers, we’re huge fans of. Pranks, terrifying costumes, mindtricks and the undead are all big winners in our books. In celebration of this evening’s festivities, we’ve shortlisted five excellent campaigns that we love, from our shores and beyond.

Can you make it to The 13th Floor?

This year, Fanta has invited us to a party that it promises will be ‘like no other’. Using some excellent virtual reality tools, the brand has created a chilling environment. You enter the lift with the concierge, who takes you to The 13th Floor. Or does he…

Lifts have been a longstanding location for pranks the world over (more on that to come), and the mechanism could seem tired and dated. However, with Fanta’s immersive experience, the chances of getting scared utterly s***less are definitely strong with these terrifying visuals – but why would we spoil the surprise?

Cleaned by the dead

We love a good prank. Pranks allow brands to have fun alongside their audience, and this car wash prank from Ford is as good as they come! Test drivers were given money to take the vehicle to a local car wash – little did they know it was the little car wash of horrors.

It went viral back in 2014, and we totally see why. Wait until the end!


Guinness’ spooky coasters

This time to Romania, where Guinness is a niche brand in the market. Unheard of on these shores, we can assure you! In order to meet budget constrictions, Guinness decided to play on the nectar’s colours, creating black and white spooky coasters that looked like your pint’s shadows.

Okay, so this doesn’t carry the gravitas of VR or the budget to take over a car wash, but as pubs across Romania started to fill up for the weekend, so did the popularity of these coasters and, in return, Guinness’ sales boomed. People love a giveaway, and it’s important to remember that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to give people a ghostly kick. Boo (and cheers!)

The case of the disappearing lift floor…

Now, this isn’t one for people who don’t like lifts, confined spaces or optical illusions but if you’re a fan of all three, you’re in for a treat! LG created a bespoke lift floor using a panel of monitors. As people entered the lift and it took off to their requested floor, the monitors appeared to depict the floor panels falling away beneath them.

Needless to say, it scared the bejeezus out of everyone who used the lift. Looking at it, we would utterly lose it as well. Next time a technology company boasts excellent screen resolution, can we just take their word for it please!

Zombie lifesavers…?

We thought we’d end on a campaign with a message right at its heart. It involves zombies, post-apocalyptic scenes and our heroine, who is fleeing an impending zombie attack. She finds herself cornered and, in response to the terror she’s facing, has a heart attack. She is literally scared to death, but the zombies bring her back to life using advice issued by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The twist? Well we wouldn’t want to spoil that now, would we!

Love them? Let us know, and don’t forget to share your favourites with us. Happy Halloween, everyone!

By Sean Ross Howlett