Tricky Treats

Posted October 8, 2014, under Ad Absurdum

Of all the Halloween-related activities and indulgences, there is only one that has truly remained in the province of children: Trick-or-Treating.

In order to do it right, you need the following elements: costumes, candy, and decorations. Those are all commodities, and of course Corporate America is more than happy to provide — and that means advertising!

The Good


As a candy manufacturer, Mars is a natural entrant to the Halloween arena, and they’ve done some brilliant advertising over the years. Much of it has been TV commercials, but their print ads are no less brilliant.


In recent years, Goodwill rolled out a surprisingly well-executed ad campaign that’s really nothing less than genius. In today’s economy, it makes all the sense in the world to remind people that for a one-night outfit — one that could benefit from tears and bloodstains — the thrift store is the best choice. Besides, creating one’s own costume should be part of the fun.


Our search for advertising for Halloween decorations didn’t turn up much in the way of full-on campaigns. But perhaps that’s the way the decorating market works. Rather than take out a print ad or two in some magazine, they just do a whole magazine and flood the supermarket magazine racks.

The Bad

But because Halloween is the best holiday, and a license to print money, everyone wants to get in on the action.

We’ll reluctantly concede that the focus on candy makes the holiday fair game for dentists, so this isn’t the worst. But who wants to think about dental hygiene on Halloween?!

We have to admit, these ads are wonderfully creative — but how do we get an “official beer of Halloween”?

Don’t get us wrong, we like Mini Coopers — they’re fun and jaunty, and we are far less likely to accidentally sideswipe them in a lane change than a SmartCar. But we don’t see how they have anything to do with Halloween.

For truly abject terror, though, one need only look to the past, when tobacco products were apparently just the thing to give the ghoulish creatures appearing at your door.

The Whaaaat?

Then there’s this. There’s really no adequate commentary. Just join us in appreciation of the amount of sense this doesn’t make.

We’re just as confused as you are, lady.

Rigney Graphics is a Pasadena graphic arts company that can help you create an impact with design and marketing solutions for print and web.