11 spookiest Halloween ads for trick-or-treat season

Hearder_ Halloween ads article

The Halloween season is traditionally a big one for the advertising industry. The oldest Halloween ad dates back to 1954 when the Mars bar featured a white ghost as a part of their “Haunting flavor” ad.

Since then, marketing teams and advertising agencies have been tirelessly creating great Halloween campaigns. Time and time again, this has proven to the world that there’s always space for a little more creativity around the spooky season.

To show you what I’m talking about, I’ve put together a roundup of the 11 most creative and spookiest Halloween ads celebrating the trick-or-treat season in the right spirit.

So let’s dive into the list of the best Halloween commercials to help you get your creative juices flowing for this year’s Halloween campaign!

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1. IKEA – The Shining

When one giant meets another, you can’t expect anything but great results! That’s exactly what happened when IKEA used the movie “The Shining” as their inspiration for their 2019 Halloween ad which promoted late-night shopping.

The ad campaign features a young kid, strolling through the spooky corridors of IKEA, when he encounters two strange-looking adults in little girl’s costumes. Once he opens his eyes, it becomes clear that the two scary people are actually his parents in Halloween costumes, giving the kid a huge relief.

This simple, yet super-effective Halloween ad not only perfectly communicated the Halloween spirit, but it also maintained the lightness and family atmosphere that goes along with the IKEA brand.

2. Burger King – Nightmare Burger

Burger King is known for serving a real spooky experience to their customers for every Halloween. From creating black hamburgers to match the spirit of the day to coming up with creative campaigns that simultaneously give you the creeps while having a good laugh.

In their Nightmare Burger campaign, Burger King depicts a clinical trial for the increase of nightmare occurrence after consuming the infamous green nightmare burger from the brand. In this chilling yet humorous ad, the brand perfectly displays the Halloween spirit and all the spookiness that comes with it.

3. Geico – Good Choices

As an insurance company, Geico is always outshining its competitors when it comes to advertising. And their Halloween advertising is no different. The brand’s 2021 Halloween ad is done in its usual witty style by making fun of the poor choices all horror movie characters make right before getting killed.

In this 30-second long ad, the brand managed to entertain its audience, and make you scared and laugh, all while promoting their insurance packages – is there a better way to roundup a Halloween ad than that?

And if you’d like that, check out our roundup of all Geico’s best commercials.

4. M&M’s – Staying In

Who is the only loser on Halloween? Probably, all the candy that gets eaten on the day. That’s why M&M’s from their 2016 ad decided to stay in, watch a movie, and protect themself from being eaten on the day. Pretty cool and simple concept for a Halloween ad.

5. Airbnb – Halloween Night in Paris Catacombs

Compared to other brands that create fun and often scary Halloween ads, Airbnb decided to go one step further and invite their users to a real-life Halloween experience. In 2020, their users could book a night in Paris Catacombs and spend Halloween night in the largest grave, surrounded by skulls and echo.

This spooky campaign was released to build a buzz around the night while offering a unique experience for Halloween enthusiasts – a win-win for all.

Source: airbnb.com

6. LG – So Real, It’s Scary

Imagine entering the elevator at work in the morning and the floor suddenly starts tumbling down and disappearing. Hell of a wake-up, even for the sleepiest ones in the morning.

In the spirit of the Halloween celebration, LG decided to do exactly that to promote their new screens, with apparently such real displays that it’s scary.

As a part of their prank, the brand installed the screens on an elevator floor and suddenly started playing an animation simulating the decomposition of the elevator floor as the passengers were riding it. Let’s just say no one was left unbothered.

7. Ford – Spooky Halloween Car Wash Prank

The spookiness of Halloween simply calls for a scary prank. And some brands recognized this as a perfect opportunity for their marketing activities. To make sure they properly prank all Ford test drive participants, the company organized a scary visit to the carwash prior to the test.

Once the car entered the carwash, it darkened, and participants suddenly got jumped by numerous monsters, walking dead, and other Halloween creatures. The hidden camera in the car showed all the terrified faces, the screaming, and relief once the participants realized it’s all part of the Halloween costume.

Besides the fact that some participants won’t be going to a carwash any time soon, this advertising campaign showed the true power of creativity behind some of the greatest Halloween commercials.

8. Pepsi vs Coca-Cola – We Wish You A Scary Halloween

In the everlasting advertising war between Pepsi and Coca-Cola, there must have been one brilliant ad with the Halloween theme that made this list. Back in 2014, Pepsi released a Halloween ad that displayed a Pepsi can wearing a Coca-Cola cape, titled: “We wish you a scary Halloween”.

As if this wasn’t enough, Coca-Cola quickly came back with a response, and repurposed the same image but replaced the title with: “Everyone wants to be a hero”. In this witty wordplay, both companies got enormous media attention, and once again proved why they’re ruling the world of advertising.

Source: brandme.com

9. Skittles – Halloween Giant Talking Spider

As a part of their 2020 Halloween ad, Skittles decided to make an impossible scenario possible. By playing with the idea of a giant spider becoming a young boy’s best friend in an attempt to reach Skittles stuck in a spider web, the company perfectly uses dark humor.

This Halloween ad takes an unexpected turn in the end, finishing on a slightly darker note for a true Halloween experience.

10. Marks & Spencer – Little Shwop of Horrors

Back in 2014, Marks & Spencer opened the doors of their Little Shwop of Horrors (and no, that’s not a typo!) It was a sustainable pop-up store in London, with the goal of encouraging visitors to swap (or “shwop”) their clothes and share their biggest fashion fears. The shoppers were also encouraged to bring along an old garment to gain entry to the store.

The Little Shwop of Horrors was designed as a one-stop shop for both Halloween and fashion lovers and it featured spooky decorations like carved pumpkins and cobwebs.

The company also promoted the campaign through social media platforms, where they encouraged Twitter users to share their biggest ‘fashion fear’, using the hashtag #ShwopOfHorrors.

Source: campaignlive.co.uk

11. Snickers – Halloween Grocery Store Lady

If you’re looking for a creepy, yet hilarious Halloween ad to inspire your ad efforts, then you should definitely check out the “Halloween Grocery Store Lady” ad from Snickers. This brilliant ad is a great example of how to combine elements from horror movies with the lighthearted humor of a brand like Snickers.

Plus, the ad can be used as a source of inspiration for ambitious trick-or-treaters looking to collect as many great candies as possible.

Final thoughts

While most of us are celebrating Halloween by attending a spooky Halloween party, brands are using this occasion to deliver new creative ads year after year. Some of the best examples of Halloween advertisements celebrate Halloween by taking the recognizable symbols of the day – like dark humor, scary pranks, and trick or treating, and turning them into creative work.

Hopefully, our selection of Halloween-themed ads inspire you for this year’s spooky season!