And yet, few brands produce online video content for Halloween, despite a Harris Poll finding that Halloween is the third favorite holiday among Americans, after Christmas and Thanksgiving.
I looked at a number of Halloween campaigns from candy makers and a smattering of other companies last year, but most of those were created for TV and then posted online. Accordingly, the viewership of those campaigns online – even from Halloween stalwarts like M&Ms and Reese’s – did not eclipse 1 million views.
Crest had the standout Halloween branded video last year. In “Halloween Treats Gone Wrong,” the brands gives unsuspecting, costumed children “treats” like vegetable-flavored gummies and tofu ghost-mallows, then films their hilarious reactions. It’s generated more than 6.4 million views, to date, and while there was a 30-second TV version of the ad, the majority of the views are attributed to its minute-and-a-half online video.
The lack of Halloween content created specifically for the Web, like Crest’s video, is surprising, since Halloween and online video seem to be a perfect match.
Online video gives brands time to develop a story longer than the traditional 30-second spot. Halloween comes with its own aesthetic, its own traditions, and its own set of stories that people love. Think of the ways a brand could weave its own story with the stories of Halloween, given enough time. I mean, if a toothpaste brand can find a way to make an engaging Halloween video, think of what other brands that are more suited for the holiday might do.
We’ve also seen that online videos are most successful when they are newsworthy – they surprise viewers and give them something to talk about. What’s more surprising than a spooky prank or a scary story? Brands create “stuntvertisements” and “shockvertisements” on a regular basis, and yet few think to release them around Halloween or to produce that kind of advertising for Halloween.
So which brands are having fun with the holiday and taking advantage of the medium this year?
Crest is back with another video starring cute costumed children. In “The Effects of Halloween Candy,” the kids are given a giant gummy bear and other sugary treats and then left to run wild as the camera rolls. It’s accumulated 1.2 million views since its release two weeks ago.
Ford got into the spirit of the holiday with a three-minute-long video, “Spooky Halloween Car Wash Prank,” in which the brand pranked unsuspecting customers by turning a car wash into a haunted house. As the cars slowly roll through the car wash, the lights go out. Then people in terrifying masks jump out and bang on the car windows; screaming ensues. It’s generated more than 1.2 million views since its launch less than two weeks ago, proving once again that viewers find it very amusing to watch people be terrified.
But the big winner this Halloween season is IKEA Singapore. It celebrates the holiday by paying homage to a Halloween and horror movie classic, “The Shining.”
Referencing one of the film’s iconic scenes, a little boy rides his tricycle through a darkened IKEA store. The lights flicker and he passes a wall bearing the letters “REDRUM.” Finally, the boy stops in front of two adults wearing matching blue dresses and white knee socks, chanting “Come play with us, Danny.” The fearful boy covers his eyes. When he uncovers them, the lights are on and his parents are asking him to come check out with them. The spoof has garnered 3.8 million views since its release a little more than a week ago.