Candy Brands Spook Fans on Social for Halloween

Boo! It’s time to trick-or-treat for your next cavity! To supply that toothy ache this Halloween, brands have dug deep into their sinister candy bins. Whether its traditional digital marketing with a mysterious Snapchat dare, a hashtag challenge, costume contest, starting a Halloween petition only to run out of candy, or teaming up with a mega-scary influencer, brands are doing frightening good stuff this All Hallows’ Eve!


Earlier this year, M&Ms created Bad Passengers, an ad to promote a chocolate bar version of it’s colorful, bite-sized candies. The ad featured the lovable anthropomorphized M&M characters Red, Yellow and Orange getting into their usual mischief in the backseat of a car, irking the driver to no end. It culminated with the driver slamming on the brakes, turning around and revealing Red, Yellow and Orange, all stuck in a chocolate bar, fighting for space. The driver, fuming, yelled, “If you don’t stop, I’m going to eat all of you alive!” Eat alive, eh? Spooky.

M&Ms Eaten Alive Ad

The advertised bars varied from red for chocolate, yellow for peanut, green for hazelnut and orange for crispy. The ad debuted on digital platforms earlier this year in the U.S., but was recently tailored for the U.K. It’s a fun, sweet ad that carried on the tradition of M&Ms lovable, oafish characters. But don’t think M&Ms was caught in yesteryear! At the end of September, it posted a Halloween Snapchat dare on Twitter. I wish I could say more, but I was too scared to click.

M&Ms Dare Snapchat


Like Halloween costumes, marketing is about what is popular or trending—and banking on crazes this year was Skittles with its new Halloween flavored competition!

Skittles #DaretheRainbow

The fruity, bite-sized Mars candy wanted to see if fans had the guts to take part in its #DareTheRainbow Challenge. The contest promoted Zombie Skittles by daring fans to get together with friends, eat Zombie Skittles and post reactions to its @skittles IG or #DareTheRainbow. The new, Halloween-themed selection featured a gross, stomach-turning flavor called Rotten Zombie hidden among revamped flavors Petrifying Citrus Punch, Mummified Melon, Boogeyman Blackberry, Chilling Black Cherry and Blood Red Berry. I wonder if the Rotten Zombie flavor was brain? Get it? Zombies! … I’m embarrassing myself.

Skittles Zombie Flavors

Hershey’s Chocolate

Combining costumes, candy and a social challenge this season in hopes of some mild Halloween embarrassment was Hershey’s. Partnering with MGM’s new Addams Family movie, Hershey released one million Addams Family-branded “fun size” bags and over 20 million branded “individual size” bags with 20,000 plus in-store displays nationwide. The cross-promotional campaign hit social too.

Hershey's Addams Family Promo

Hershey’s urged fans to dress in the best Addams Family costumes and post them to Instagram, tagging HersheysCostumeContest @Hersheys, The photo could be of one’s actual family, co-workers or just friends (the pics needed at least two people). The winner would then claim Hershey’s Halloween Chocolate for his or her whole “neighborhood,” plus a chance to snag a signed Addams Family collectible! Enticing. Hopefully the candy sales equal the film’s!

Hershey's Addams Family Contest


While Skittles used social media to advertise Halloween flavors and Hershey’s partnered with a movie studio for a costume contest, another brand used social media to try to change the holiday itself!

Snickers Saturday Halloween Petition

Over the summer, Snickers shared a petition via Twitter and its 340,00 followers to change Halloween to the last Saturday of October rather than the 31st (a Thursday in 2019). To get signatures, Snickers vowed to hand out a million free Snicker bars if the government changed the date! “No tricks, only treats … we’re serious!” said Josh Olken, Snickers brand director, in a press release.

Snickers Saturday Halloween Feedback

It was an enjoyable, lighthearted stunt that instead of selling a new flavor sold the brand itself. The big question was whether Snickers had a million bars to give away. It couldn’t trick its customers twice this fall, right?

Snickers: Chapter Two

This autumn, Snickers released a limited edition, fall themed bar made with Texas-grown pecans instead of traditional peanuts. They were available exclusively online via SnickersPecan.com.

Snickers Pecan

It created quite the social buzz among fans, but mere hours after the site went live, it posted the following: “Unfortunately, we’re all out of SNICKERS Pecan right now. If we restock and you’d like to get notified when that happens, please enter your email below.”

By the following afternoon, Snickers ditched the email request and in its place posted a pop-up directing fans to Instagram or Facebook for future information. Talk about a trick rather than a treat. So far, no new info.

Snickers Pecan Out-of-Stock Anger


Where Snickers fumbled, Reese’s scored. What is more powerful: digital spots, Instagram challenges or Twitter petitions? It’s like settling Dracula v. The Wolfman v. Frankenstein’s Monster – not easy. So, Reese’s went a whole other route: influencer advertising from a mad scientist!

Reese's NPH Halloween pairing

The Hershey product created a one-of-a-kind, interactive Halloween experience called It’s A LIVE, hosted by Dr. Horrible himself, Neil Patrick Harris. Fans following Harris on Instagram and Facebook had the chance to co-create the scariest (and sweetest) crowd-sourced Halloween house by choosing what tricks or (Reese’s) treats to build the oozing walls and creaky floorboards with. Then, on October 24th, a few fans experienced the haunted house, full of scares and frights in an event streamed on Facebook LIVE where viewers chose the fate of the participants via a Facebook Live voting poll. “Halloween has always been my favorite,” said Harris. “To have Reese’s … provide the most epic, larger-than-life Halloween experience? Well, it‘s simply terrifying – in the greatest way imaginable!

Reese's It's aLIVE

Halloween is a spooky, sweet candy holiday and the basis of horrific nightmares for dentists and orthodontists or the tooth enamel conscious public. But, for brands, it’s all about who is advertising the best costume or giving out the best sweet. From funny digital spots to a candy-built haunted house Facebook Live event, candy brands want to treat consumers this All Hallows’ Eve rather than trick them … or at least treat ‘em with a few scares.

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

Follow Dan on Speaking Human  /  Human Content from Dan





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