Halloween Ads get Ghoulish

halloween-related-1250811-mAn interesting observation by The New York Times, notes that the more scary the real world seems (like our looming financial crisis and government shutdown), the less scary Halloween ads are. Conversely, when consumers are upbeat, marketers produce more frightful ads.

So what is the tone for 2013?

It seems a majority of marketers this year have chosen more tricks than treats. The article cites, Booking.com which has launched a spooky campaign centered on haunted hotels. The trailer is almost a horror movie in itself, intended to “scare the pants off them” according to a creative director at Widen & Kennedy. Meanwhile a national pizza chain uses Halloween to convince parents that pizza is the treat to “keep your little monsters happy” this year.

It could be that marketers are choosing to create more ghoulish ads because of current pop culture trends. Consider how many hit series are focused on giving consumers that spine tingling feeling: “American Horror Story: Coven,” on FX; “Bates Motel,” on A&E; “Grimm,” on NBC; “The Originals,” “Supernatural“ and “The Vampire Diaries,” all on CW; “Sleepy Hollow,” on Fox; “The Walking Dead,” on AMC; and “Witches of East End,” on Lifetime.

“It’s kind of extraordinary,” said Ed Martin, a longtime television writer who is an editor at large at MediaPost.

“And we’re not even counting ‘Dracula,’ ” he added, a series that is to make its debut on NBC on Oct. 25, or “the horror shows on Syfy, BBC America and Sundance.” That was a reference to the annual spate of holiday specials on cable channels that also includes presentations like the 13 Nights of Halloween on ABC Family.

And its doesnt even have to be Halloween for marketers to have scary themes in their ads anymore. Hyundai and Microsoft have used zombies in their “off season” ads.

But on the lighter side of things, you can always trust that some marketers like M&Ms or Cheetos will keep the laughter rolling.

In fact, Project TP lets you work with Chester Cheetah to practically cover any place you can think of… try it here.

With all the tricks and treats Halloween brings, what marketers do you think hit the mark for Halloween 2013?


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About promotionalguru

A marketing communications professional helping other marketing professionals, business leaders and marketing students gain a better understanding of trends in advertising and public relations as well as tips for being a successful marketer.

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