Ads of the week: Halloween edition

Tweets of the Week has been a staple of ClickZ’s Friday mornings ever since Disney celebrated the birth of Princess Charlotte with a baby montage.

Recently, we decided to switch it up a bit by adding Ads of the week to the mix, and switching on and off. We’ll be back with Tweets next week, but for now, it’s all about Halloween ads.

We’ll admit it: we were initially bummed that IKEA didn’t do a follow-up to its amazing Shining-themed ad from last year. But from Chipotle evoking the terror of GMOs to Pizza Hut scaring people into falling out of canoes, we saw enough good stuff that we managed to get over it.

There was also enough good Halloween-themed creative that we decided to dedicate this entire post to it. Not all of these ads are actually from this week, but you know what? Halloween is this week, so there.

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Target

Target earned a place on this list by having the most innovative campaign.

The retailer’s Halloween ad wasn’t centered on a holiday sale, rather it was about a whole new app it built for the holiday.

Treatster is the first social network aimed specifically at trick-or-treaters. As the ad says, only three of the year’s 8,765 hours are spent trick-or-treating, so there’s no time to waste.

With location services, users can see maps of their areas and vote for the houses that give the best candy or have the coolest decorations. It’s sort of like that “Yelp for humans” Peeple app, except not completely mean and terrible.

We like Treatster because it’s creative and unlike anything else we’ve seen out there. We’re also giving Target the benefit of the doubt that the app is sophisticated enough not to broadcast people’s addresses for potential burglars to see.

Snickers

The candy bar’s annual Halloween spot, executed by BBDO, opens with a man carrying a saw to his car in a dark, deserted field. When he gets to his creepy, desolate cabin, he looks over a big display of sinister looking tools and unloads a heavy garbage bag onto a table.

“You’re not yourself when you’re hungry” is a longtime campaign of Snickers. Was this man so hungry that he hacked someone up?

No, the bag ends up being full of huge pumpkins and the man is Jon Neill, a renowned carver of them.

Each pumpkin – all of which put the elementary one in our title image to shame – is given a different facial expression, conveying three different emotions. In their mouths are Snickers bars with the corresponding adjectives written on their wrappers.

Snickers has multiple Halloween ads, which makes sense given the brand’s desire to be a part of every trick-or-treat bag. But Hungry for Halloween? is our favorite for the unexpected twist

See Snickers – we’re only harsh because we love you. We know that ridiculous stunt you pulled during Back to the Future Day was only your D game.

Chipotle

Well known for its use of natural ingredients, Chipotle imagines “scary” in a different way: serving food laden with preservatives.

In Unneces-scary, the chain is replaced with a cheaper version of itself, Cheapotle. Its ingredients include things like “petroleum enhanced beans” and “flavor injected chicken with decorative grill marks.”

The man behind the counter explains the “fast food pyramid” to the horrified customer: you can have two of cheap, fast, and good, but never all three. “Real” would make it a square, and there’s no such thing as a square pyramid.

Throughout the ad, Chipotle throws shade at fast food chains with lines like, “We use ‘fresh’ colloquially.” It’s smart branding because these chains are Chipotle’s chief competitors, despite not really qualifying as fast food itself.

That message is emphasized at the end of the ad, when “The unnecessary additives in most fast food are creepy” comes on screen.

In addition to being clever, the ad stands out this Halloween by omitting the standard witches, pumpkins, and ghouls.

However, Chipotle is still celebrating Halloween in the traditional way. Customers whose costumes have unnecessary accruements get $3 burritos on Saturday. The brand’s examples include a vampire in a tutu and a devil in a football jersey.

Pizza Hut

Halloween ads involving someone jumping out and scaring customers have been done to death. Pizza Hut adds a twist, having a guy in a Jason mask jumping out of a lake.

He scares fishermen, one of whom fell into the water, America’s Funniest Home Videos-style. It was funnier than anything filmed at a grocery store, and besides, that’s not the whole premise of the ad.

How to Win at Halloween is a two-minute tutorial from Pizza Hut that’s been viewed 834,000 times on YouTube this week. Several of those views came from us, because people falling is funny.

The ad also covers creativity in costumes and the importance of not being that house that hands out pencils. Instead, you can really delight trick-or-treaters by handing out whole pizzas.

We commend Pizza Hut for its fun attempt at reminding people that pizza is part of Halloween. Nobody really hands out pies to trick-or-treaters – imagine the Treatster score, though – but Halloween is the third-highest pizza sales day, according to pizza.com.

Walmart

Walmart plays to the popularity of DIY with a series of video on its YouTube channel.

Who among us hasn’t been busy and gotten sneak attacked by a holiday? Who hasn’t realized it was October 27 and you have no idea what the hell you’re going to be?

3 Halloween Make Up Looks For Less demonstrates three costumes that can be crafted from random items you may already have at home. A zebra, for example, only requires eye makeup, a white T-shirt, and electrical tape.

What makes the ad work is the lack of heavy handed branding involved. The word “Walmart” isn’t outright mentioned, though it’s subtlety lingering in the background at all times.

You may already have those random items at home. But you also may not and for many people in the U.S., Walmart is the go-to when you need makeup and undershirts and tape and shoelaces.

Party City

It wouldn’t be right to do a list like this without including Party City, a store that’s synonymous with Halloween for many people. This retailer is another one whose ads center on helping you out with costume ideas.

Walmart teaches you to how to make something out shoelaces and mascara. Party City, on the other hand, encourages you to be creative by mixing two costumes together.

The retailer posted a series of videos on YouTube and Facebook featuring mash-ups that result in punny costumes like witch doctor and holy cow. The latter is literally a priest’s robe over a cow costume.

We gave Walmart and Target credit for creating ads with a little more subtle branding. But since Party City isn’t quite the giant they are, we enjoyed how it was blatantly like, “Why buy a Halloween costume when you can buy two of them?”

Here in the ClickZ office, we’re torn about which one of these ads is the best one. Which of the six do you like best? Or is there another really good one that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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