Trick or treat: Adland’s best 2021 Halloween campaigns

Liquid Death, Hulu, Burger King and more brands released their spookiest campaigns ahead of Halloween weekend.

Halloween is celebrating a renaissance in 2021 after the CDC suggested avoiding trick-or-treating during the pandemic last year.

Sixty-five percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, compared to 58% in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation (NFA). The NFA predicts consumers will spend $10.14 billion on Halloween this year — an increase from $8.05 billion last year.

Consumers plan to spend $3.32 billion on costumes, 27% more than last year, and $3.17 billion on Halloween decorations. And $3 billion will be spent on candy. 

Brands are tapping into U.S. consumers’ revived interest in Halloween with spooky campaigns. 

Campaign US rounded up some of our favorites. 

Chipotle’s Roblox “Boorito” giveaway

Since 2000, customers have dressed in costumes to receive a free burrito at Chipotle stores on Halloween. Now, the fast-casual chain is expanding the offer into the metaverse. 

Chipotle launched a virtual restaurant on the online gaming platform Roblox. Through October 31, customers can dress their avatars in Chipotle-themed costumes and visit the virtual restaurant to receive a code for a free “boorito.” Only the first 30,000 customers will receive the free code, but the rest will win a $5 entree. 

Liquid Death’s “The Vegan Cannibal Steakhouse”

Hungry for human flesh? Canned-water company Liquid Death partnered with Postmates to offer a "Vegan Cannibal Steakhouse" menu in New York and Los Angeles. The limited-edition menu is plant-based, but inspired by human flesh.

Items include the New Yorkerless Strip Steak which is “vegan human steak served with blood red reduction, whipped garlic potatoes, and spiced heirloom carrots;” Guiltless Grilled Rack of Sam described as “vegan human ribs served with minted mango-cerebrospinal-free chutney, sautéed haricot vert and fingerling potatoes;” and Manless Meatballs in Marinara which is “vegan human meatballs served on a bed of bucatini and garnished with brain-free cheese and fresh basil." Yum?

The campaign was created with Liquid Death’s agency partner Callen.

Hulu’s “The Veil”

While Hulu viewers have enjoyed the return of the platform’s annual Huluween hub all month long, they’ve been secretly haunted by the spirit of Uluh. The spot “The Veil" features aspiring Hollywood actress Uluh, a character created by creative studio Alkemy X, who suddenly dies in a fatal accident. 

But she gets a second chance at fame when she returns to haunt Huluween, where she is watched by millions of viewers. 

Burger King’s “3AM Apparitions” 

Burger King is giving away free food to fans who can brave the witching hour: 3 a.m., the time spirits are most likely to appear. Customers can log into the Burger King app at 3 a.m. every day until October 31 to receive a different free meal. But act fast — the deal is only available for one hour. 

The Paranormal Activity-inspired spot, created by David, shows unexplained events,like books flying off shelves and kitchen taps sprouting water, while people try to sleep. 

T-Mobile and Reese’s “Apartment 5G”

T-Mobile and Reese’s released a limited-edition “Take 5-G” candy bar, which will only be available at “Apartment 5G,” located at a New York City brownstone and select T-Mobile stores in Miami, Santa Monica, California and Southlake, Texas. Each location will give away 10 candy bars to demonstrate how 5G can deliver speeds more than 10 times faster than LTE.

72andSunny’s “Ghosted Busters”

72andSunny creatives Megan Plevy and Jae Who launched Ghosted Busters, a parody site to bust ghosts in the dating world. 

Jilted lovers can send their “ghost” a link that will direct them to fill out feedback about why they ghosted their date. The site also includes a ghosting etiquette guide to prevent the situation from happening again. 

Temptations’ “Tasty Human MixUps” 

If cats were bigger, they would try to eat their humans, according to cat food brand Temptations. To satisfy that craving, the company created “Tasty Human MixUps” cat treats. In the spot, a man in the bathtub is watched ominously by his cat. 

“Treat your cat to Temptations Tasty Human, before they treat themselves to you,” the tagline warns. 

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