Still an exceedingly good ad

Every year as we approach Halloween, we post the same ad on social media, or on our blog and challenge readers to find a better example of advertising at Halloween.

This is without doubt, our favourite Halloween-themed ad of all time.

Given that every year, big brands everywhere jump on the seasonal bandwagon, it’s amazing that we’ve never seen a Halloween ad that’s better.

But why is it so exceedingly good? Here are 6 good reasons why it works for us.

  1. It’s simple. Really simple – paired back to only the essentials. French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” In that respect, this is bang on.
  2. It makes a clear promise of how the product will improve your life. It’s not overblown or over-claiming. It’s believable.
  3. Excellent art direction. The product is the element that draws your attention but presented in a way that makes you really look at what’s going on here. Lovely.
  4. It’s strategic. Think about it, it’s positioning cake (the category) against other treats. Sod sweets; bugger biscuits; eat cake.
  5. It’s campaignable – it’s not a one trick pony. Easter, Christmas, Guy Fawkes, Mother’s Day, Midnight feasts, kid’s parties. You can pretty much see this ad construct working for any occasion.
  6. It’s cake. What’s not to like?

But surely, I hear you ask, there must be others out there, other great Halloween ads that deliver on all of these fronts?

Well, here are a few that get close:


Here’s a nice once from M&Ms that works on a number of fronts.

It’s simple and very nicely art directed with the product as the hero of the execution.

It’s campaignable too, not only at Halloween (think spiders, pumpkins and ghosts made from M&Ms), but you can see the principle extending easily to Christmas too, for example.

And it’s been executed well – visually striking, really nice work.

But it’s not what I would call strategic. It’s a tactical ad. Nothing wrong with that – associating the product with the treat in ‘trick or treat’ is no bad thing at this time of year; it should help deliver sales – and that’s what this is all about.

And there’s no clear proposition here. There’s no single-minded promise. It’s not really saying much directly – the message is subliminal. Take out of it what you will.

But really good.


Love this one from 2015, definitely worth a mention.

Greenpeace attacked VW on the emissions scandal and called for pressure to be put on them to invest in electric vehicles.

As an execution it’s single minded, simple and arresting.

But clearly a tactical opportunity, a one-off.

Wellington Zoo

This ad, advertising Sleepovers at Wellington Zoo, is nicely executed.

Simple, definitely. No need for words here.

Easy to see how it could turn into a campaignable series.

Not sure if it’s an entirely original thought however; we’ve seen a very similar idea from San Francisco Zoo.


And finally, there’s this from Crest.

OK, so this is proper old school. But the visual cue is clear, there’s a simple and single-minded proposition, and there’s a clear seasonal connection.

They clearly understand their audience – parents want to treat their kid but worry about their teeth – and strategically, there’s a strong fit with the ‘positioning’ line of “We’re working to make cavities a thing of the past”.

Criticisms? Well, the word ‘treat(s)’ appearing twice feels a tad clunky?

Surely, “After all the tricks, treat them all to Crest” would scan better?

OK, so there are a few of our favourites. So, what about you?

Can you find any Halloween ads to compete with Mr Kipling Halloween treat, or would that be much too tricky?