The 8 Most Creative Halloween Advertising Campaigns of 2016

The 8 Most Creative Halloween Advertising Campaigns of 2016

As per usual, once the year begins to wind down and the holiday season comes upon us, the largest global multinationals are in an epic battle to show off during the busy season.

According to Business2Community, Halloween spending in the US is estimated to reach a cool $6.9B (or, $74 per person). It’s clear that marketing departments of household brands have a prime opportunity on their hands to win over consumers by showcasing creativity and surprising their audience with a delightful approach.

This year is no different. We kept tabs on the most creative Halloween advertising campaigns for this year’s trick or treating season.

Let’s dig in.

1. AirBNB Hosts: A Night at Dracula's Castle in Transylvania

Halloween is the season for Haunted Houses. And who better to play into this heart-stopping tradition than a home-rental giant?

AirBNB went all out with a bone-chilling house listing on Twitter for an overnight stay at nowhere other than the actual Dracula Castle in Transylvania, Romania.

The message was retweeted 100+ times and received 300 likes since being posted on October 17th. Those who apply for the listing and answer the prompted question will be entered into a competition for this exclusive chance to experience a very real Halloween adventure.

And AirBNB certainly did not take half measures on this. Selected prize winners will be flown into Romania, travel in a horse-drawn chariot ride to the castle that originally inspired the legendary tale of Dracula.

Once on site, the lucky chosen ones will meet the last descendant of Bram Stoker and stay overnight for a special event on October 31st. AirBNB outdid itself this year in terms of originality and creativity.

Are you brave enough to test the myth?

2. Frito-Lay presents: Cheetos Chester on the Dresser

A clever play on the Elf on the Shelf story for Christmas Time, Chester’s game includes 31 pranks – enough to hold you and your loved ones over for October.

Cheetos is hoping to kick off a brand new holiday tradition this season and bring the family back together in the process. From the looks of it, they might just pull it off.

Introducing Chester On The Dresser: 31 Days of Mischief.

The concept is simple.

Step 1: Get your hands on your own Chester On The Dresser Set and place the Dracula-themed Chester doll on your dresser.

Step 2: Read the book daily with your family to find and play one prank a day.The book includes 31 pranks – enough to hold you and your loved ones over for one prank a day over the month of October.

Step 3: Share your results on Frito Lay's Instagram account or on Twitter using the hashtag #ChesterOnTheDresser.

“Halloween is a fun holiday for families – from dressing up to decorating the house, families create traditions together which adds to the fun of the holiday,” says Jeannie Cho, vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America.

“Chester on the Dresser is based on Chester Cheetah’s belief that unexpected surprises can lead to fun. It includes a playful prank for every day leading up to Halloween, which we hope will inspire families to do just that, enjoy a playful moment together.”

Having initially released 200 doll & book sets, Cheetos quickly followed up with an additional 800 units after the first release sold out. Amazon reviews of the set have been positive and some users have taken to Twitter and Instagram to demonstrate their approval and showcase Chester’s acts of mischief.

For more information on #ChesterOnTheDresser, visit www.chesteronthedresser.com and get your hands on one of these combo packages while supplies last.

3. Hungry Jack’s ‘Scarily Good’ Drive-Thru Prank

No Holiday season is truly complete without a company opting to scare their loyal customers for promotion purposes. The fine people at Australia’s Hungry Jack’s have taken it upon themselves to do just that.

Hungry Jack’s teamed up with Drive-Thru customers to surprise their unsuspecting fellow passengers and have them jump out of their seats.

The purpose of the campaign was to promote their limited edition Whopper, featuring a Jack ‘O’ Lantern-inspired bun with cheddar cheese. The campaign was designed and executed in cooperation with creative Agency Channel T.

Marianne Little, Channel T creative director says: “Hungry Jack’s are such an inspiring business to work with. They make bold marketing choices, challenging the team here at Channel T to push the boundaries and give them a campaign that really captured the fun of Halloween and effectively transcended traditional media channels.”

As part of a nation-wide campaign across 400 Hungry Jack’s locations across Australia, Channel T collected digital and social media videos and animated social posts to promote the new Halloween-themed burger.

4. Pokémon Go goes Halloween

Niantic is moving on their massive success of this past summer with a Halloween special. Also known as ‘the Pokémon company’, the mobile gaming pioneer cashed in on one of the biggest commercial successes of the year in the digital game industry.

The game surged through the ranks on the Apple store and set records for fastest mobile game to reach 10M downloads as well as most downloads during its first week availability.

For Pokémon Go - a virtual augmented reality game in which players rely on real-life movement to advance their character - Halloween is a fantastic first opportunity to connect with the user base.

Niantic announced on Monday October 24th that its first in-game event is set for Halloween. The event becomes available to all players on Wednesday and will run until November 1st.  

It’s only fitting that during this time some Ghost Pokémon (Zubats, Drowzees, and Gengars) will be more widely available. In addition, catching a Pokémon will be rewarded with double points and playing with the buddy system will earn you more even more points (4 candies instead of the usual 1).

Since the announcement of the event, the message was retweeted 250+ times and favorited over 750 times.

5. Universal Orlando Resort Presents: Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Orlando Resort is well-known as a popular family destination for most of the year. But in the Fall, during the weeks leading up to Halloween, Universal Orlando transforms itself into a premier event: Halloween Horror Nights.

Advertised as the biggest Halloween experience in the country – if not in the world – the amusement park changes from a family-friendly environment by day, to a fully immersive experience of haunted houses, scare zones, and theatrical experiences.

Universal Orlando is keeping its anticipated visitors on their toes with this disturbing teaser on their website.

With inspiration drawn from Hollywood blockbusters such as American Horror Story, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Walking Dead, and the Exorcist, Universal Orlando seems to be your best bet if you have the burning desire to experience living in a horror film.

Check out their website or Twitter for more information.

6. Not for the Faint of Heart: Score A Boorito at Chipotle

Chipotle invites you to get ghoulish with them and take advantage of their Halloween special for 2016. Come in after 3pm until closing time and get yourself a $3,- burritos (affectionately named Boorito for the occasion).

Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch! Chipotle asks that you come dressed appropriately in your spooky attire. Deals are limited to one Boorito per person in costume.

Proceeds from the campaign will be donated to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation (up to $1,000,000). You can get your Boorito at one of the restaurant locations in Canada, USA, or Europe.

7. Clown Alert! Atomic Confectionary Candy Ad

Texas confectionary Atomic Candy released a creative, slightly disturbing new ad to play into North America’s most recent wave of mass clown hysteria. The commercial, designed and shot by Innocean USA, features a clown attempting to force an animated piñata into producing candy. The result is will certainly stay with you.

The commercial, designed and shot by Innocean USA, features a clown attempting to force an animated piñata into producing candy. The result is will certainly stay with you.

View the commercial here.

8. Kit-Kat Featuring Chance The Rapper

Last but not least, Kit-Kat came out of left field by teaming up with crowd-pleaser Chance the Rapper.

The brand decided to revamp its signature jingle for the holiday season. Chance puts a low-key spin on the jingle while staying true to the “Gimme A Break” tagline, all the while rocking a lion suit or the holidays and his signature ‘3’ hat. 

The YouTube video was tweeted at Chance in early October with the hashtags #PressPlay #KitKatBreak and #HalloweenBreak. With over 15.000 retweets and 20.000 likes, the video quickly garnered over 700.000 views.

As a creative play on words and in addition to the jingle, Kit-Kat released a variation of their classic wrapper now featuring Chance the (W)rapper as the new face of Kit-Kat. The chocolate is now available in stores for the holidays

Did You Have a Favorite Ad Campaign This Year?

And with that, we conclude our round-up for this month’s creative seasonal campaigns! It’s certainly worth investing some time into putting a spin on your product the way your brand interacts with its audience.

If the result is in line with what your brand stands for & executed with care, you’ll have people talking about you for a long time to come.

Did you spot other noteworthy Halloween marketing campaigns? Share with us in the comments.

About the Author

Dan Virgillito is a storytelling specialist, blogger and writer who helps digital startups get more engagement and business through online content.