Horror of Horrors: Candy Brands Get Creative With Halloween Ads


Reese's Halloween

It’s peak season for candy marketing ghouls, and every brand that could conceivably fit into a Halloween trick-or-treat bag has been jockeying for position with new products and promotions.

A sampler:

Mars’ M&M’s brand is in the midst of a big Halloween promotional push featuring its color characters, which includes an ad in which Yellow starts to take on other-worldly qualities—and the camera shows that a large bite has been taken out of the back of its head.

Yet if you’re looking for something new that’s Halloween-related from Skittles, another Mars brand, it might be a better bet to wait until 2019: That’s when the company plans to introduce the Zombie pack, which will consist of five fruity flavors along with hidden “Rotten Zombie” flavors mixed in.

The “good” flavors will be Petrifying Citrus Punch, Mummified Melon, Boogeyman Blackberry, Chilling Black Cherry, and Blood Red Berry flavors.

Zombie Skittles

Reese’s, a Hershey-owned brand, features an ad with MTV starring a bored teenage couple who are trick-or-treating just to get a candy stash and are unimpressed by any of the genuine horrors that they encounter on their journey around the neighborhood. Only when they get to the final home—with a bowl bearing only a single Reese’s cup and a sign that reads, “Please Take One“—do they scream in horror.

Reese's Halloween

Meanwhile, Reese’s has developed a “candy exchange vending machine” that will swap out unwanted candy for it peanut better cups. But you better hurry—it will only be available in New York City on Halloween night.

Reese's Candy Exchange Vending Machine

Jelly Belly, Brach’s and other brands of candy corn were called out in a Wall Street Journal story this week about the varying popularity of that Halloween staple, candy corn, depending on what state you’re in. About 70 percent of candy corn is sold this time of year, and much of it in just five states: Nevada, Utah, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York.

And for getting ahead of the curve in the hair-trigger world of social media, credit Dole for its lighthearted treatment of a clear trademark infringement related to its decidedly non-Halloween-friendly lineup of products.

Dole Fun Size Mini Salad

After a graphic artist who goes by Adam the Creator came up with the nightmarish Halloween treat of “mini” sizes of packaged Dole salads, the brand not much later picked up the meme with some of its own suggested “mini” products, including Dole Broccoli. But Dole also tweaked  the guy, good-naturedly warning him not to infringe its trademarks again.


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