Trick or treat? The spookiest Halloween campaigns

With Halloween retail spending set to reach £472m this year, brands are getting into the spooky spirit.

Burger King – Scariest BK

Burger King never misses an opportunity to make a dig at its rival McDonald’s. Earlier this week, a Burger King restaurant in New York dressed up as ‘the ghost of McDonald’s’ by covering itself in a massive white sheet alongside a sassy sign stating “Booooooo! Just kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween.” At the time of publication, there hasn’t been a retaliation by McDonald’s just yet.

Giffgaff – The Music Box

Undoubtedly the most high-end Halloween ad can be attributed to mobile telephone network giffgaff. The ad sees an unsuspecting victim forced to escape a tidal wave of horror scenarios (zombies: check. Being served up for dinner: check). And all to drive home a poignant message with viewers – to “end the nightmare” by not signing up to another 24-month mobile contract.

Santander Cycles – Presenting The Blaze Witch Project

‘Boris bikes’ are now a well-established feature in London’s landscape, and were recently rebranded by Santander after taking over from Barclays. To promote the introduction of laser lights to its Santander Cycles scheme, which aims to boost the safety and confidence of cyclists, it decided to get involved in the Halloween festivities by teaming up with Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jenson Button to create a short film called ‘The Blaze Witch Project’.

The London Dungeon and MAC Cosmetics – #HomeOfHalloween

MAC Cosmetics is predominantly known for its high-end make-up, boasting glamorous brand ambassadors such as Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj. It is now keen to show a more grizzly side, as it has teamed up with The London Dungeon to promote various “signature” Halloween looks. The short clip shows how anyone can use its products to turn themselves into a rather creepy looking ghost or witch.

Facebook – Spooky reactions


Even Facebook couldn’t stop itself from getting into the Halloween spirit. Today it unveiled updated ‘reactions’, which were launched in October last year and allow users to give feedback on a post.
 The usual emojis have been changed to include a laughing witch, spooked ghost, a sad Frankenstein’s monster and very angry pumpkin.

Tesco – Saving pumpkins


Forget about killer clowns and bloodthirsty zombies descending onto UK cities, Tesco says it is the pumpkins who should really be the scared ones. With as many as 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins being thrown away each year after Halloween, the retailer decided to set up 10 ‘pumpkin rescue stations’ across north London in collaboration with environmental charity Hubbub to save pumpkins from going to waste. Granted, this isn’t an ad in the traditional sense, but Tesco’s Halloween-themed goodwill efforts are likely to score it some top publicity points.

And how not to do it…

Sadly not everyone was as inspired this year, with most of the grocers falling into this category. Simply flogging your products alongside a Halloween label will not do, guys. But hey – at least you tried.


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