Commentary

Where Are All The Big Halloween Video Campaigns?

Brands love to create online video campaigns for big events. They produce a plethora of content for the Super Bowl, the World Cup, the winter holidays, April Fools’ Day, and Mother’s Day.

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.

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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.

2 comments about "Where Are All The Big Halloween Video Campaigns?".
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  1. Dane Golden from Octoly, October 30, 2014 at 5:39 p.m.

    Our sentiments exactly. At Octoly we believe tent-pole programming around holidays is a key strategy for brands, whether with their own made-for-YouTube videos or by curating videos of fans who celebrate their products. See the article by our CEO Thomas Owadenko on ReelSEO recently: "Cosmetics Brands are Missing the YouTube Boat on Halloween" http://www.reelseo.com/cosmetics-brands-youtube-halloween/

  2. Brittney T from ASU, November 3, 2014 at 2:27 p.m.

    Holidays and traditions is a great way for marketers to get to customers. It can bring back memories and people’s favorite times of year. Once I read this article, it is true, there are not many advertisements based off of Halloween. It is the first holiday of the season starting off people’s favorite holiday time. It even mentioned that Halloween is in the top 3 for favorite holidays.
    As a marketer, they should be taking advantage of this. Since “Halloween comes with its own aesthetic, its own traditions, and its own set of stories that people love,” why don’t they base more ads or online videos off of this? There is a wide range of possibilities and storylines that can be played off of this. With this topic not being used often, it allows those who do an easier possibility for their video to be viewed. I watched the videos mentioned in this article. They are hilarious and appeal to me because of the Halloween topic. You can weave any company or product into these story lines.
    This is the perfect time of year to do prank and scary videos. I remember last year a viral video was about scaring people. The campaign was for a new movie Devil’s Baby, they made the baby from the movie come to live, rolling in a stroller crying. Once people came up to it, the baby jumped up and screamed. This was a hilarious video to watch, and other companies should be taking advantage of the time of year to market their products.

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