Ad Nut
Oct 31, 2017

Very few treats: Halloween ad roundup

Our ad-obsessed pal Ad Nut hoped for more tasty tidbits from this year's crop of supposedly spooky ads.

Burger King
Burger King

Unlike Christmas, which is something of a chore for Ad Nut thanks to the industry's fanatically prodigious output (see "Holi-dazed: Ad Nut's ridiculously long Christmas-ad review"), Ad Nut actually looks forward to Halloween. And not just because people leave delicious pumpkins outside their homes for squirrels like Ad Nut to munch on. No, the Halloween ads are usually good fun too. However, this year's crop is an odd assortment. A few of the efforts from APAC went for real horror instead of being fun, while some others managed to commit the more serious crime of being neither scary nor amusing. There are a few real gems below though, including some funny ones and some longer-form content that's actually worth watching. We'll start close to home, then move on to ads from further afield.

Singapore's Resorts World Sentosa got some amount criticism (but seemingly not too much) for the video below and the attraction it promotes—based on a shopping-mall collapse.  

Ad Nut is not sure why that scenario is any more offensive than the more traditional Halloween-attraction storylines, such as serial killers or mad doctors. Resorts World Sentosa goes all out for its annual "Haunted Happenings" event ("5 haunted houses, 2 killer shows!"), so there are several more "HH17" videos on the resort's Facebook page. Ad Nut found this one quite disturbing, but was perplexed by something called "Slit-faced girls". Apparently, you can also choose to be scared in a Grab.

In Hong Kong, Ocean Park also tries to draw the teen crowd with its annual Halloween events. Unfortunately, this year's season, featuring "10 attractions and 11 unique experiences", started off with real-life horror: the death of a visitor who reportedly went into an area of the 'Buried Alive' feature not intended for guests and was killed by a mechnical coffin lid. That attraction remains closed, and the other attractions now have uniformed staff alongside among all the actors in scary makeup, to make sure nothing goes wrong. This promotional video pre-dates the tragedy.  

Disneyland Hong Kong, meanwhile, chose to feature possibly the least scary baddie from any of its films in promoting its Halloween festival: the campy witch Ursula from The Little Mermaid

Speaking of things that are not scary, here's Asia-Pacific Breweries promoting a "secret rave party" connected with its Desperados beer. On second thought, it is frighteningly weird. A rave?

M&Ms and Colenso BBDO did something related to Halloween in New Zealand. Ad Nut has received sketchy information claiming that on Friday the 13th, the company began "pre-haunting" boxes of M&Ms, using "time-proven techniques to cram as many ghosts into the candy as possible," and airing the entire thing "as the world’s longest ever live broadcast event." Sounds fun! Unfortunately, it's all over now, and the store selling the special haunted packs is closed. Guess you had to be there. A few promo videos like this one remain on the brand's Facebook page.


An organisation called SCAPE in Singapore showed a frightening lack of judgement when it hung a bloody mannequin from a tree on a public street (apparently right above some delicious snacks for sale). The prop was meant to create interest in the organisation's annual haunted house. Ad Nut is not surprised that many people were troubled by the stunt, including suicide-prevention organisations.


Here's a cute little promo from Toy R Us Hong Kong:

That Ad Nut even included that last video tells you all you need to know about the lack of APAC-based Halloween work this year. Sure, the holiday is a much bigger deal in the US than around here, but still, Ad Nut hoped to see some scary-good APAC work. Please let Ad Nut know if you see any, using our feedback form or via Twitter @CampaignAsia. Meanwhile, on to the rest of the world.

Ad Nut enjoyed this Burger King ad, which pokes fun at a certain fast-food rival: 

If you haven't already seen the short-films from various Mars candies below, they're highly enjoyable. They also make no attempt to incorporate the product into the storylines. The brand is named only at the beginning, and so appears as nothing more than the benefactor of the entertainment to follow—an old-school approach that Ad Nut welcomes.

Like Mars, Hulu went for a content-based approach to the holiday, releasing the short film below as a tease for a six-part original anthology series called The House.

For an example of how not to do content, here's cable-TV and internet provider Xfinity Home (Comcast) with a short film that's hamfistedly eager to promote the company's home-security offering.

Universal Studios Orlando hired 'Splat Pack' director Eli Roth to make this Eyes Wide Shut meets The Shining (and many other films) ad to promote its Halloween attractions.

This Duracell spot by Wieden+Kennedy is perfectly concise and satisfying. It's Ad Nut's favourite from this whole bunch.

Snapchat, Shazam and Netflix teamed up to use AR to promote the return of the latter's series, Stranger Things. For details see this Campaign UK report.

Another AR effort came from New York City-based digital agency Firstborn, which created 'Gruesome Gotham', an augmented app that lets "witness" six Victorian-era New York City murders. For details see this Campaign US report.

Renault managed to promote specific vehicle features in a fun way using zombies (below) and vampires. For details see this Campaign US report.

This UK ad for Green and Blacks chocolate by Mcgarrybowen came out in early October and doesn't reference Halloween explicitly, but still seems to fit in with the above collection. 

This last one from Lavazza, imagining a world without coffee, isn't a Halloween ad at all. But it's definitely terrifying.

See also: Scary movies: The 15 most-shared frightening ads of all time

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. Check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame.

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