5 campaigns that weren’t afraid to give a scare

By 22/09/2017Ads, Digital, Experiential

We’re gearing up to bring to life some exciting Halloween campaigns for clients next month and it got us thinking about some of the most memorable brand campaigns of recent years that have been inspired by horror and Halloween. Here’s a round-up of the best brand campaigns and what we can learn from their executions.

1.The Ring

The team behind the famous Carrie coffee shop stunt have struck again and prove that people are captivated by fear, both feeling it and observing it. This video saw unsuspecting shoppers petrified as the girl from The Ring emerges from one of the TVs. The agency in charge claim that the key to shock success is to take an innocuous environment where people feel safe and then bring them something unexpected. The video went viral and proves that people respond to strong emotion so if you can tap into something emotive with events, this will always win out over rational/logical routes.

2.Vans – House of Vans

Each event should feel like a celebration of the brand because the ‘spectacle’ alone isn’t really enough. Vans, as a brand, are experts in throwing events which are genuinely entertaining for fans while staying true to the brand. Their ‘Haunted House of Vans’ was a mini festival, taking all the things loved by fans and giving it a Halloween twist. A house of horror theme provided the backdrop to a skate competition with endless live music and a undeniably Vans atmosphere.

3.Universal Orlando

Halloween is a great time to interact with people as there is a playful energy that brands can naturally piggyback on, without trying to force people into a particular mood. Universal Orlando developed a fully immersive VR experience and had virtual reality do what it does best; engross users in a story. Universal take care to transform both the virtual and the real world so there is a synergy and flow for users. Blending VR visuals with real life stimulus is also a great way to ensure fans are totally sold into the experience.


There is a common theme of low budgets breeding ingenuity amongst horror movie promotions. ‘Chronicle’, a movie about superhuman teens had a modest budget so created a relatively low budget stunt which fashioned bespoke light-weight human-shaped planes and flew them around the skies of Manhattan. As people become more savvy to the ways of agency stunt techniques, marketers have to stay ahead of the game and push for new ways of grabbing people’s attention.  This stunt managed to make an impact with New Yorkers, an infamously tough audience.

5.The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project marks the genesis of ambient horror when a group of amateur film-makers took a small budget and made a massive impact. They seeded an idea online about journalists who have disappeared while investigating an urban legend. The story became viral before the journalist’ footage was released in cinemas as the movie. This blurred the lines between reality and fiction, showing that the more consumers become lost in the storyline, the better.

Need help planning an experiential marketing campaign to scare your customers into a brand engagement? Get in touch!