An online campaign promoting the new “Halloween II” flick is serving up a little divine intervention with a hellish twist by unleashing horror villain Michael Myers to wreak havoc in a series of banner ad spoofs. Fulfilling many a Web user’s wishes, the masked slasher drags away those annoying characters we’ve come to hate from financial service and dating ads.
The brutal banners were created by LA-based digital shop Heavenspot to promote Rob Zombie’s upcoming film Halloween II, the rocker-auteur’s sequel to his own remake of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic.
“The original ads that we are spoofing defy the practices of good advertising design both fundamentally and aesthetically,” said Heavenspot President and Creative Director Chevon Hicks. The Halloween ads are parodies of ubiquitous display ads for firms like LowerMyBills that feature gyrating silhouettes and other obnoxious imagery. “Who doesn’t want to kill those ads?” asked Hicks. Apple’s PC vs. Macintosh ads also get the Myers treatment.
“Everyone who uses the Web is unanimously tired of seeing them. With our goal to raise awareness for the film itself, we thought, why not have the main character, Michael Myers, kill the people in those ads?” The result is a collection of ads that look deceptively similar to the ones seen across the Web, until Myers swoops in to attack the characters in them.
Along with the Michael Myers-starring creative, Heavenspot has also implemented standard units and Flash units that “are more of your typical converted movie poster type ads” to complement the campaign. The target market is 18-35 men, but Hicks said the objective is to reach other niche audiences including “fans of the horror genre, Rob Zombie, and the Halloween franchise itself.” As a result, the ads are running on a variety of entertainment, gaming, and horror sites including Comingsoon.net, Fandango, FearNet, Hollywood Stock Exchange, IGN.com, IMDB, MovieTickets.com, Yahoo, and YouTube.
According to Hicks, all five banner creatives — which eventually fade out to reveal the actual Halloween II poster once the hapless victims meet their doom — were conceptualized, shot, and developed by Heavenspot’s in-house team. Perhaps taking a cue from the film’s tagline “Family is Forever,” all the actors within the ads are also Heavenspot staffers. The project marks the shop’s first for The Weinstein Company, the studio behind the movie.
Weinstein initially offered to make available Tyler Mane, the actor who plays Michael Myers in the film, for the online ads. However, scheduling conflicts prevented Mane from starring in the ads. “Michael Myers’s shoes definitely aren’t the easiest to fill, so we got resourceful,” said Hicks. “The Weinstein Company sent us a mask, we bought a jumpsuit and paint, and our creative director went to town on treating the costume. We brought in a friend to play Michael, who later switched to [another role] while our sales director played Michael.”
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