Scare tactics from Mars to Burger King.
Holiday ads, in general, are special beasts in the advertising world. Budgets are larger and there is more expected from them. Therefore, they tend to be more creative, more effort is put into them, and often some really big names are brought in to make them better.
One of the most interesting holidays for ads, though, is Halloween. You’ll want to click the link to Adweek above to take a look at some of this year’s best work. There are some fantastic short pieces, including the series of four ads from Mars (the candy company) and a very surprising piece for Xfinity, of all things. What makes these short films, which run from as little as 30 seconds up to seven minutes, so enticing is that they don’t let the product get in the way. In fact, the best ads are hardly related to the product at all. These are ads that do their best to leave you feeling with an uncomfortable sense of terror in as little time as possible. There are a couple of these ads that is likely to stick with you for a day or two.
What comes to mind with the Halloween ads, though, is all the things we associate with the holiday: fear, blood, gore, screaming, and horror. After all that, does anyone actually remember the product and if they do are they more likely to buy that product?
Arguably, some of the spots go for the hard sell, such as the Burger King Zombie Burger ad (which, unfortunately, is only available in France) and the Duracell ad that works because every parent knows the real-life horror of a preschooler that can’t play with that special toy because the batteries are dead. We’ve all been there and it still causes us to cry in the middle of the night.
Others, though, such as the Xfinity commercial, are wonderfully and fearfully entertaining but do nothing to make me want to switch Internet providers. In fact, switching to Xfinity is possibly more frightening than the ad they created. I have to question whether the return on investment for some of these ads is sufficient to justify their cost.
Yet, they really are a lot of fun. This is the only time of year where frightening one’s customers is acceptable. Take a moment and enjoy the ads. But don’t forget to be careful if you’re out on a deserted road tonight, and don’t open any boxes left on your doorstep.
Abide In Peace,
The Old Man