How Brands Celebrate Halloween

Halloween: the one night a year when you can be whoever you want or whatever you want – a night when children frolic in the streets donning masks and wigs, trick-or-treating and get to come home and bask in the glory of their candy-filled pillowcases.

But children aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy on Halloween. Many companies are taking advantage of the holiday, using spoooooky tactics to bring attention to their brands this season and, of course, having a little fun with it, as well.

One brand getting a lot of media attention for their scary stunt is Burger King. In what AdWeek described as a “flame-broiled burn,” one of the fast food chain’s locations in Queens, New York, was dressed up as the ghost of its biggest competitor, McDonald’s. It had everything from giant white sheets, eyebrows in the shape of the iconic McDonald’s arches and a special sign located out front that read: “Booooo! Just kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween.”

But if you’re in the mood for something a little creepier, make sure to check out the Halloween-inspired ad from Kit Kat and Viacom Velocity Entertainment Group. Together the two imagined a world in which homicidal psychopaths might be convinced to “take a break” from their murderous tendencies – a world where a young woman, alone and fallen in the woods, might make a hockey mask-wearing stranger wielding a chainsaw rethink his deadly ways with only the help of a single candy bar.

"We wanted to use some classic '80s horror movies and have fun with the idea of taking a break," Beth Trentacoste, SVP and Creative Director for the Viacom Velocity group told AdWeek, "The goal was to be fun, unexpected, irreverent."

The World Wildlife Fund of Canada, on the other hand, doesn’t think people are really scared of serial killers anymore. Or vampires or witches or monsters of any sort, for that matter. No, 2016 has brought on a whole new host of fears – ones that the WWF think are way scarier than anything a child can dream up: real-life environmental harms.

With the help of the Sid Lee Collective, the WWF created a line of horrifying masks, depicting everything from pesticides to oil spills. Also included was a pop-up exhibit in Toronto and a promotional video:

"The damage humans are doing to the planet is much scarier than any imaginary monster," executive creative director Jeffrey Da Silva of Sid Lee Toronto told AdWeek. "Kids seem to know this better than adults, and Halloween night felt like the perfect time to spark a conversation about what they are truly scared of."

But while the WWF of Canada is bring attention to environmental issues, WD-40 is bringing another issue to light: loud doors.

The brand, known for trying to remedy the creaking when you open your doors has used Halloween to do the exact opposite: create an app that, when your phone is place in a doorknob sleeve, uses motion sensors to expel an eery creak every time your door is opened.

The three options, “Paradoormal Activity,” “The Exdoorcist” and “Door of the Dead” are sure to scare children, but "By offering an extra creaky door SFX app, the brand finds a way to re-heighten awareness of your own existing, albeit less dramatic, creaky doors throughout your home that could actually use some WD-40," an accompanying release claims.

So this Halloween, instead of figuring out what to dress up as yourself, see what your favorite companies are doing to dress up their brand. You might just be in for a fun and freaky fright!

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