No Trick, All Treat: Our Top 5 Halloween Ads

It’s that time of year again when brands conjure up spooktacular content (and everyone gets carried away by frighteningly cheesy puns). So, to celebrate all things Halloween, we’ve put together our top 5 campaigns for you to enjoy. Far from missing a trick, these ads are a seasonal treat… 

1. Direct Line, Survive the Horror 2019 (UK)

Mr Pickles witnesses a young woman getting into a scrape while parking. It might not sound thrilling, but Direct Line’s mock horror, ‘The Torment’, is an example of Halloween humour done right. Featuring dramatic close-ups, a nosy neighbour turned movie villain, and a terrifying cliff-hanger where a daughter wants to borrow her mum’s car, this ad ticks all the boxes.

2. Skittles, Witch 2019 (USA)

Remember that sinister story of Hansel and Gretel where innocent children are lured into a witch’s cauldron by the promise of sweets? Well forget that old tale – Skittles have given it a twist! In their ad, the witch is the victim being haunted by an annoying teenager. He eats all of her Skittles, asks her pointless questions and forces her to watch cool Halloween ads on his phone, all the while ignoring her pleas to “get out of my house”. We feel her pain. 

3. Renault, Easy Vampire Life 2017 (France) 

Easy Vampire Life explores a universal truth: vampire or not, all babies make a mess. We love that this ad relies on copy instead of dialogue, making it all the more funny when the words ‘Renault with removable and washable seat trims’ appear beneath a splash of vampire baby sick. Add a full moon, a werewolf howl and a Dracula-esque harpsichord soundtrack to the mix and you’ve got a hauntingly good Halloween ad. 

4. McDonalds, McSundae Halloween 2018 (Austria) 

McDonalds never disappoint with their Halloween print ads, and this chilling ice-cream ad is no exception. Subtle yet striking – who could resist sinking their fangs into this spooky McSundae? 

5. Budweiser, Responsible Drinking 2019 (USA)

This Budweiser campaign recreates Halloween arrests of the past, reminding party-goers to drink responsibly on October 31st, and it certainly makes an impact. With forlorn clowns, bleary-eyed black cats and ominous copy: “Don’t Let Halloween Haunt You Forever”, it’s a strong reminder to drink with caution this Halloween. 

Ghostly Happening Across the Globe 

Most of these campaigns celebrate American traditions of Halloween. However, as with all seasons, Halloween differs greatly around the world. For example:

  • In Mexico, they celebrate Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, to honour the lives of those who have passed away. The celebration officially begins on October 31st, when the spirits of children are invited to visit the living.
  • Samhain is a centuries-old pagan festival in Ireland, celebrated from October 31st – November 1st. The festival marks the end of the harvest season and the start of winter. Bonfires, traditional fruit cake (barmbrack) and samhain dinners where plates are set for dead ancestors are just some examples of the holiday’s traditions.
  • Pangangaluluwa is a traditional festival in the Philippines where children dress up, and go from door to door singing All Saints Day and All Souls Day songs. In recent years, Halloween trick or treating has taken over but communities in the Philippines are trying hard to keep the pangangaluluwa tradition alive.
  • In Cambodia, they celebrate Pchum Ben, a 15-day long festival where Cambodians remember the dead and show their respect to the older generations. The specific dates of the event change annually, but it usually falls in late September or early October. 
  • La festa di Ognissanti or All Saint’s Day is an Italian holiday falling on November 1st. Once again, it is a day to remember and celebrate the lives of the deceased. While this traditional holiday is still widely celebrated, Italian children have also adopted trick or treating on October 31st, knocking on doors and shouting: “dolcetto o scherzetto?!”

We hope you enjoyed our roundup of Halloween ads and our insights into Halloween around the world. Which hair-raising Halloween ads would feature on your top 5 list? Let us know!

Or, if you’d like some advice on making your seasonal ads work all around the world, get in touch

Natalie Thomas
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