Creative Halloween campaigns always (well, usually) cause a stir – especially if there is a cool TV tie-in or an axe-wielding maniac in store…
This Halloween we’ve dipped into the realms of the spooky and scary to share some our favourite creative Halloween campaigns. Nothing like a bit of fear to sell something!
Fear was the driving force behind the Burger King campaign last year which featured a teenager peddling through town being chased by scary-looking clowns. The point of the ad was to get people to turn up at BK dressed as a clown on Halloween to receive a free Whopper, the scarier the better. And it was a terrific side-swipe at the competition’s mascot to boot – nice.
The Topshop/Stranger Things connection
To promote a range of Stranger Things-inspired clothing, Topshop’s Oxford Street store was kitted out to feature some replica sets from the popular Netflix series – just the thing for fans of the show to get an experience they wouldn’t get anywhere else, and of course sell some merch in the process.
Ford’s carwash from hell
Back in 2014 and in pursuit of a video to go viral, Ford asked people taking a test drive to run their vehicle through an indoor car wash… only for the driver to be subjected to a terrifying ordeal in which the lights went off and a succession of axe-wielding maniacs jumped out at them. It was pretty full-on and the occupants’ screams seem alarmingly real.
Fanta’s VR shocker
When Fanta launched a series of limited-edition Halloween cans, they helped spread the word – and increase the scare factor – with a specially-commissioned VR movie that put viewers in an elevator that took them to a succession of floors where nasty things happened.
Photoshop’s Murder Mystery
Horror-themed – whilst not exactly scary – was Edelman San Francisco’s innovative Photoshop Murder Mystery, which invited fans of Adobe’s photo-editing software to explore images to unravel a crime.
Spooky Guinness shadows
Proving that great ideas don’t need to be digital, or cost the earth, Guinness teamed up with pubs to give out limited-edition Halloween coasters shaped like ghosts and monsters which tricked the eye into thinking that their pints of the black stuff were giving off creepy shadows. A really fun creative Halloween campaign.
LG’s elevator nightmare
A well-known campaign that built upon fear came from LG six years ago who scared the living daylights out of people when the large-screen monitors that had been installed onto the floor of an elevator they were riding (it looked like a regular, illuminated floor) suddenly played a video which made it look like the floor was falling away beneath the occupier’s feet. The resultant footage has now had 47 million views – and presumably demonstrated rather well just how lifelike the image on LG’s IPS monitors was.
When fear is too much, add humour
Interestingly, a common thread for many Halloween creative campaigns is humour – beauty brand Lux did a wonderful job of scaring the audience with a Psycho-esque woman-in-a-shower scene only for her to hilariously floor the maniac outside when her bar of soap flies out of her hand.
Riding this rollercoaster of emotions can be a great way for your audience to go on a short journey with you. Fear is definitely something to be handled with care of course, there are plenty of examples where it’s gone bone-chillingly wrong.
Emotions in general, however, can be a year-round source of inspiration. Using fear to inspire action might not be the most obvious route to take when you’re trying to generate ideas. Emotion was one of the elements in Now Go Create founder Claire’s book, In Your Creative Element, and fear can definitely drive great and unexpected ideas.
The next time you hit a creative block try asking yourself how you can make people feel – from joyful to surprised to angry – and you might just find a winning idea in the unlikeliest of places.