Tis’ Halloween, that time of year where kids dressed up as Pokemon and serial killers knock on the doors of grown-ups pretending to be out. Pumpkins line the streets, horror films are endured, and Bev in HR is retelling her made up encounter with a ghost.
What’s not to love? So, rolling with the spooky theme, we decided it would be fun to build on our original list of the scariest ads by adding a new batch. Some are downright creepy, others playfully never-shredding – all are worth a watch on your lunch break.
More memorable than the ropey ‘beverage’ it promoted, The Nosferatu-inspired Judderman depicts a malevolent spirit as it stalks poor souls in a forest that wouldn’t look out of place on a Tim Burton set. Transport yourself into this sinister fairytale and rejoice in the macabre theatre of it all – preferably when the moon is fat and you’re past the age of drinking alcopops on the local recreation ground.
Calm down, 1970s Britain. This PSA gained notoriety for scaring the bejesus out of kids, and we get it. Sure, it may be a little dated these days – much in the same way Hammer Horror films are. But people in dark hooded robes standing by ponds will never not be a little unnerving, even minus a voice telling you not to drown in said ponds.
You’re waiting in line for your oat-chai-tumeric-latte with organic chocolate sprinkles on top. It’s cold. You didn’t sleep great the night before, and you’re trying real hard not to take your mood out on innocent strangers. Then one of them flies across the coffee shop and chairs start moving around on their own. Nope. Starbucks it is. Launched to market the Carrie remake, this is a case of the promotion bettering the promoted.
There’s something about dolls. Maybe it’s that I had to try and fall asleep with a whole shelf of my sister’s plastic demonoids watching me when I was a little kid, but whack one of ‘em in an ad and it’ll probably appear on a Guerillascope Halloween list. Add to that the maniacal laughs from unseen adults that emanate from this thing’s mouth, the unknowable, enigmatic images flickering in its dead eyes, and the sparsity of the room, and you have one heck of an unsettling ad.
Don’t like spiders? Nyak nyak nyak. Audi wasn’t mucking around with the promotion of its RS4 Quattro back in 2004. Seemingly ok with alienating the world’s arachnophobic community, the brand employed a hellish eight-legged critter to spin a yarn on its latest offering. Presumably, Matt Damon and the montage guy weren’t available that week.
What’s worse: being asked what your biggest weakness is in a job interview, or witnessing what looks like the end of all life on earth before you’ve even had a chance to tell your interviewer how much of a team player you are? This stunt seeks to demonstrate the quality of LG’s screens; it’s fair to assume that, judging by the reaction of the unwitting participants, they ain’t half bad.
Dirt Devil’s Head of Marketing: “We need a new concept that demonstrates the suction power of our vacuum cleaners.” Gavin, who’s been in the job six weeks and has never been the same since watching The Exorcist through sobbed tears as a twelve-year-old: “Hold my beer”. You can only doth your cap to the demented incongruity at play here.
Go on. Admit it. For one second, you’d be standing there gripping your Gregg’s sausage role thinking: “is… is this it?” Out-of-home advertising sure has come a long way… whether that’s good news for unsuspecting members of the public is another conversation. Yet another marketing stunt that topped the actual product.
Axe called, and John Carpenter answered. The music, location and mood are a loving ode to slasher classic, Halloween, with a smattering of The Shining and Evil Dead thrown in for ghoulish measure. Then it goes all Notebook on us, as every great horror film does.
Another great out-of-home campaign that utilises augmented reality to momentarily turn waiting for a bus into a life or death situation. Tentacled monsters rising from the depths, UFOs, meteor impacts (that old chestnut) and goddamn tigers all come out to play in this PepsiCo escapade… oh, and some guy who somehow got whisked up into the sky by a bunch of balloons. Must have been one hell of a stag do.
More sobering is this hard-hitting public service campaign from Think! Don’t Drink and Drive. Yes, it’s an exceptionally cruel prank to play, but with around 200 fatal accidents involving a drunk driver in the UK every year, the message is an important one.
Yup, another doll. But come on. One that whispers to you? Why was that ever deemed necessary? The gormless, empty-eyed face is bad enough. But combine it with a breathy child’s voice that says things like “I want to tell you something”? Nah mate. Imagine that going off in the dead of night. Enough said.
How tyres will save you from the lifetime of trauma that will ensue after seeing the ghost of a woman on an unlit country lane remains to be seen, but one thing Japan does exceptionally well is scary stuff. So, why not launch a TV ad that promotes your ring-shaped rubber car components by terrifying drivers?