The Top 3 Spooktacular Halloween Campaigns

By Scarlett King

Tuesday marks Halloween 2017, a day where dress-up parties are prevalent with young Brits, just as they have been with their American counterparts.

Halloween has become so popular it has overtaken Valentines Day and is now ranked third among the biggest retail events of the year, after Christmas and Easter.

Traditionally a day for honouring dead saints, its rituals have been adapted and commercialised. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that while people are busy putting together their costumes and decorating their homes, global brands are perfecting marketing campaigns for this year’s spooky season.

So let’s take a look at the most scarily successful Halloween marketing campaigns from both past and present…


Fanta has gone all out for Halloween this year, embarking on their biggest marketing project to date. The host of spooky activities includes ghoulish limited edition graphics on their products, a virtual reality experience set in a crashing elevator, and limited-time only Snapchat filters and lenses.

The virtual reality experience is a chance for the Brand to directly interact with their target audience. The elevator crash experience will be shown at Thorpe Park and Westfield Stratford every day until November 1st. Those who are brave enough will be invited to take a ride in an elevator to the 13th floor to attend a Halloween party, met by a string of scary surprises along the way.

To support the campaign in-store, Fanta have also designed spooky limited edition graphics for their packaging. Accompanying the design is also a snap code (QR code), which allows customers to access limited edition spooky filters and lenses on Snapchat. What a great way to engage with their target audience!


Ford’s Spooky Car Wash remains one of the most talked about Halloween marketing campaigns of the century. The video of the fake car wash prank has been viewed over 1.8 billion times on YouTube after it went viral within 3 minutes of the video being uploaded on the Internet.

The prank video shows 30 strangers who were asked to pull over for a car wash on their way to what they believed was a filmed test drive.

However, automotive giant Ford kitted out a Detroit car wash with spooky lighting and interior, and enlisted actors in scary masks to swarm the vehicles inside the car wash, which predictably freaked them out and led to hilarious reactions that were all caught on camera. To watch the full video – click here.

‘Prankvertising’, as it is known, is a great way to engage with the audience and create awareness of your brand name. And of course it has become an effective way for brands to insert themselves into viral videos. Although it may not have directly led to purchases of Ford cars, it definitely got Ford’s brand name out there!


Property rental site Airbnb took a different approach to Halloween marketing in 2015, offering a night in the Catacombs on Halloween to those who were looking for a change from the usual festivities. The holiday rental site offered fearless individuals a chance to escape pint-sized pirates and goblins by spending the night in the Paris catacombs, home to six million souls. The campaign appeared all over social media, where individuals were posting reasons as to why they should be chosen for the experience. Similarly, in 2016 they offered a “sleepover to die for”, where two lucky winners would spend a night in Dracula’s Transylvania castle (Bran castle).

Looking at the huge social successes of these three campaigns, we can see how engaging with your audience and thinking outside the box pays off. Doing something unexpected like Ford is an excellent way to grab peoples attention, while offering a night to remember gets people talking about your brand on social media. With humour, interaction and enough shock factors, it is no surprise that all three campaigns were a hit with their consumers!