Top Halloween Digital Marketing Campaigns of 2014: Brands Treat Consumers to Videos Galore

20 brands cel­e­brate Hal­loween with pranks and par­o­dy videos, and go big on Insta­gram and Vine.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Hal­loween 2014 is not only the Hal­loween of the sexy Ebo­la cos­tume, it is also the Hal­loween of brand­ed video with par­o­dies (par­tic­u­lar­ly of “The Shin­ing”) and pranks aplen­ty as mar­keters attempt to cap­ture con­sumers’ atten­tion on this scari­est of hol­i­days. In fact, brands went for scares in a big way this year. They were also big on Vines and Insta­gram – includ­ing tap inte­gra­tion – as well as choose-your-own adven­ture-type expe­ri­ences and vir­tu­al trick-or-treat­ing. Mul­ti­ple brands offered coupons as incen­tives and a few offered tips, although some made more sense than oth­ers.

Here’s our roundup of the most mem­o­rable Hal­loween dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns of 2014.

The Halloween Parodies

Ikea Singapore

First up is Ikea Singapore’s take on “The Shin­ing”, which, as of Octo­ber 30, has near­ly 4 mil­lion views. It pays “homage to Stan­ley Kubrick’s hor­ror clas­sic” while it also com­mu­ni­cates that its stores are open until 11 p.m. (In addi­tion, Ikea Sin­ga­pore asks fans to take screen shots of hid­den prod­ucts for a chance to win gift cards.)


Next is Snick­ers, which par­o­dies The Exor­cist in a Span­ish-lan­guage video, Twist­ed, which is also part of its “You’re not you when you’re hungry”-series. The video has so far net­ted about 45,000 views.

Slim Jim

For its part, meat snack brand Slim Jim calls itself “the Killer Snack of Hal­loween,” releas­ing a series of images and videos that also par­o­dy scary movies, includ­ing “Para­nor­mal Activ­i­ty”, “Scary Movie”, “The Silence of the Lambs”, “Night­mare on Elm Street”, “The Shin­ing”, and “Texas Chain Saw Mas­sacre”.

Internet Explorer

Even Inter­net Explor­er has got­ten in on the par­o­dy action with a “Psycho”-themed Vine pro­mot­ing IE11.

The Pranksters

Oth­er brands have gone to great lengths to scare con­sumers this Hal­loween with elab­o­rate pranks.


In its Haunt­ed Open House, res­i­den­tial real estate web­site Tru­lia boo­by-trapped a home and then scared the beje­sus out of unsus­pect­ing house hunters who stopped by dur­ing an open house. This is in the name of dri­ving home Trulia’s mes­sage that it pro­vides “Home search­ing so easy, it’s kin­da scary.” The video has gen­er­at­ed about 29,000 views.


Not to be out­done, Ford put togeth­er a Spooky Car Wash Prank in which it asked 30 con­sumers to stop by a car wash en route to a test dri­ve and ter­ror ensued. There was no real brand tie-in – the video ends with Ford’s “Go Fur­ther” tagline – but it has racked up an impres­sive 1.3 mil­lion views.


Anoth­er pop­u­lar prank video this Hal­loween, Oui­ja Psy­chic Ter­ror, comes from the mak­ers of the movie Oui­ja, who hired a psy­chic with the abil­i­ty to pop her eyes out in order to scare the liv­ing day­lights out of the poor souls who dared come in for a free read­ing. As of Octo­ber 30, the video has been viewed 1.9 mil­lion times.

The Originals

But it’s not all mim­ic­ry and ter­ror this Hal­loween. Mul­ti­ple brands have come out with pop­u­lar orig­i­nal videos for Hal­loween.


Take Crest, for exam­ple. The brand’s The Effects of Hal­loween Can­dy video demon­strates exact­ly that with a room full of chil­dren high on sweets and the sim­ple mes­sage, “Hal­loween can­dy may have an effect on your kids, but not on their teeth” because “thanks to Crest, their teeth are cov­ered.” It also ends with some click­able coupons. The video has more than 1.5 mil­lion views.


On the oth­er end of the spec­trum is the some­what NSFW video from Lithuan­ian min­er­al water Vytau­tas, Bounce Back, which fea­tures a busty nurse and a dra­mat­ic head injury. It has 104,000 views.

Dos Equis

And then there’s Dos Equis’ Most Inter­est­ing Man in the World, who is back with an inter­ac­tive mas­quer­ade, which has 1.7 mil­lion views as of Hal­loween Eve.

In addi­tion to the inter­ac­tive video, the brand has also part­nered with Ocu­lus Rift to cre­ate an addi­tion­al vir­tu­al real­i­ty expe­ri­ence. As the sto­ry­line goes, the Most Inter­est­ing Man lost his lit­tle black book and asks the view­er, his guest of hon­or, to help him find it. At mul­ti­ple points through­out the video, view­ers are asked to click on one of two options. Those who “[choose] the right path through his manor” could win a tick­et to an actu­al mas­quer­ade par­ty in New Orleans, the brand says.


Quick ser­vice chain Chipo­tle Mex­i­can Grill has cre­at­ed a video to push its Hal­loween fundrais­er, Boori­to, in which it offers $3 bur­ri­tos, bowls, sal­ads, tacos and kids meals to cus­tomers in cos­tume with pro­ceeds ben­e­fit­ting the Chipo­tle Cul­ti­vate Foun­da­tion, which it says is a “non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing a more sus­tain­able and health­ful food sys­tem and to rais­ing aware­ness about impor­tant issues in food.” The brand is also ask­ing fans to par­tic­i­pate in an online cos­tume con­test by upload­ing pho­tos to Twit­ter or Insta­gram with the hash­tag #Chipotle­Boori­to­Con­test.

The Vines

And then there are the brands that opt­ed for short­er mes­sages.


Anoth­er play­er in the quick ser­vice space, Arby’s, has released a series of #Trick­o­rMeat videos on Twit­ter to tout its #Trick­o­rMeat pro­mo in which it will add free bacon to any order on Octo­ber 31 when a cus­tomer says, “Trick or meat.”


In addi­tion, Hon­da says it is host­ing the first-ever trick-or-treat­ing event on Twit­ter by ask­ing fans to tweet pho­tos of them­selves in cos­tume with the hash­tag #Treat­Pro­mo for a coupon for a free box of Mike and Ike can­dy and “a link to a spooky Vine video.” In fact, accord­ing to a press release from Hon­da, “Five eerie Vine videos fea­ture the redesigned CR‑V open­ing up when trick-or-treaters come to Honda’s door, so to speak,” on Octo­ber 31.

Capital One

Bank­ing com­pa­ny Cap­i­tal One is using the hash­tag #KaCH­ING to tie itself to a Vine with a tip to soak jack-o-lanterns in dilut­ed bleach to pro­long their lives and ask con­sumers for sug­ges­tions for oth­er “sim­ple Hal­loween hacks.” (Although it should be not­ed the effort was not par­tic­u­lar­ly pop­u­lar, gen­er­at­ing just 10 likes.)


Home improve­ment chain Lowe’s, on the oth­er hand, struck a bet­ter chord with some Hal­loween-themed #Fix­in­Six Vines, such as using a cook­ie cut­ter and a ham­mer to carve a pump­kin, which received almost 800 likes.

The Instagrams



Oreo, too, has released some stop-motion videos as part of its Oreo Lab­o­ra­to­ri­um effort in which it per­forms “exper­i­ments” on Oreo cook­ies with oth­er treats like jel­ly beans and gum­my worms to cre­ate “nom­sters” and then asks fans for sug­ges­tions about what to call the result­ing crea­tures.

Accord­ing to dig­i­tal agency 360i the #Ore­o­Lab was inspired by “an 1800’s mad sci­en­tist lab­o­ra­to­ry” and fea­tures a set design housed on Insta­gram with its own account, @OreoLab.

Sour Patch Kids

Can­dy brand Sour Patch Kids launched a series of haunt­ed house videos on Insta­gram and is ask­ing its fans to watch the videos and respond in the com­ments with either #SPKsour or #SPKsweet. The brand says it “might ins­ta direct ya” about how the video ends for those that do. The series of about ten videos ranges from around 100 to 300 likes apiece.

Chupa Chups

Sim­i­lar­ly, lol­lipop brand Chu­pa Chups has cre­at­ed “Get Lol­li,” or what it calls the “first choose-your-own-adven­ture game on Insta­gram.” It has also post­ed a pre­quel video to YouTube.


And then there’s retail­er Tar­get, which, like Hon­da, says it is offer­ing vir­tu­al trick-or-treat­ing, but on Insta­gram in what it calls Hal­loween Hills.

Accord­ing to the Tar­get blog, Hal­loween Hills is “a new des­ti­na­tion for dig­i­tal DIY con­tent” in a “haunt­ed fan­ta­sy neigh­bor­hood.” In order to par­tic­i­pate, fans tap any of the hous­es and select “trick” or “treat” when the tags appear to see “inspi­ra­tional, scary-clever DIY step-by-step pho­to tuto­ri­als of fun, fam­i­ly-friend­ly crafts [‘tricks’]) and yum­my snacks [‘treats’] housed on dif­fer­ent accounts.”

Jose Cuervo

Also on Insta­gram, tequi­la brand Jose Cuer­vo is push­ing a cin­na­mon-infused tequi­la, Cinge, with a one-of-a-kind graph­ic nov­el called, “The Drifter: Red Moon Over Baja.”

As of Octo­ber 30, the nov­el includ­ed eight parts, each of which had been revealed on Insta­garm and many of which asked fans to like or to tag self­ies with #Cinge­My­Face for a chance to be fea­tured in the sto­ry.

Which mar­ket­ing cam­paign do you think was the most cre­ative for Hal­loween 2014? Share your opin­ion in the com­ments.

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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