News & Insights

Halloween Ads: A Trick or a Treat?

The holiday season is always anticipated by many. Slowly the world around us transforms into a uniform theme for the latest big event. It’s honestly quite magical. In October, we get to see jack-o-lanterns light up porch steps, and homes become haunted houses. Even the ads we see on TV join the fun and blend their brand voices with the spooky season spirit. But here’s the question: Are these ads actually highlighting a brand’s creativity or is it just lazy advertising?

Lazy Advertising

Why are these ads lazy? Year after year, brands push out advertisements to capitalize on holiday season marketing. Obviously, this is smart for the company to do. However, these brands are relying on Halloween to hook their audience and keep them engaged. If you pay attention to a Halloween ad this season, ask yourself what makes it creative and fun to watch. Usually, brands take a generic bland ad, insert a monster of some type, add in a pun and call it a day.

Where’s the creativity? That’s the problem. Brands not only don’t offer anything new with their ads, but they’re also doing the same thing each year. Some, not all. The reason they keep producing cookie-cutter ads is because they can. We hardly notice how bad they are. We think they’re great, but the marketing teams are simply feeding off our excitement for the holidays.

Now that we’ve burst your bubble, take a look at a few of these Halloween ads. It’s as if they all came from the same creative team.

Fanta Halloween Ad


KIA Halloween Ad


Jeep Halloween Ad


Creative Halloween Ads

Let’s be clear, we aren’t saying brands shouldn’t be utilizing Halloween for their marketing. Tapping into the holiday spirit is good marketing, but offer your audience more than a company Halloween mashup. If you do this, you’re missing part of the equation for a good ad. Let the holiday be the theme of the ad, not the creative.

To take your ad a step further, make sure you’re adding a creative and memorable touch. For example, the ads seen above are so indiscernible among each other, a person likely wouldn’t be able to recall your brand. It will blend into the noise of the rest of the Halloween ads.

Burger King did a great job leaving a memorable mark on their audience with one of their Halloween ads, #ScaryClownNight.

Halloween is the theme of this ad, but the creative is not. Burger King doesn't depend on Halloween for the ad, the creativity comes from tapping into their competitor and teasing them. This offers the viewer more than just a scary ad. So, this spooky season, keep your eyes peeled for the lazy bones and give credit to those who go the extra mile to make an impact.

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