Real-life pranks are often the best part of Halloween advertising—and horror advertising in general—and here are a few good ones from 22Squared for costume and supply store Party City.
Party City is usually a bright and bubbly brand, befitting its name. But 22Squared wanted to give it a creepier side ahead of Halloween season, which is a busy time for the retailer. For the three videos below, the agency used products available at the store in real-life pranks—leading to entertaining results that also educate viewers on how to make the products their own.
The unsuspecting victims thought they signed up for “market research,” but soon found out the truth.
“We thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with Party City to illustrate just how spine-chilling this year's Halloween can be,” said Della Mathew, executive creative director at 22Squared. “Our goal was to accentuate every product, from makeup to animatronics, in a manner that empowers viewers at home to replicate these incredible results. It was a delight to assist the brand in donning its own Halloween costume and fully embracing a more ominous, sinister aesthetic.”
Customers who try out their own elaborate scares, and post the results on Instagram (including #daretoscarecontest and tagging @partycity) will have a chance to win a $500 Party City gift card, a year’s supply of Tombstone pizza and a five-day trip for two to Savannah, Georgia.
The campaign will run across paid and organic social (Meta, Pinterest), paid search, publisher partnerships and owned channels. The effort includes two BuzzFeed articles, a custom advertorial on HGTV, a 360 Shoppable unit on Pinterest and various influencer activations.