Reese’s Skeletons Start Halloween Right


It's Reese's Season


Given how massive the holiday is for candy brands, it’s remarkable we don’t see more great Halloween ads. Most of the spooky season commercials that do air are more of a transactional trick than an emotional treat – spotlighting sales and aiming only for short term gain.

So it’s good to see Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups put out a Halloween commercial in September, with all of the entertaining qualities we’ve come to expect from the brand. Reese’s have scored a string of 4- and 5-Star ads with short, punchy, witty ads which use a 10- or 15-second canvas to push their distinctive assets (bright orange and brown colors) and raise a smile at the same time. The work, by agency Dentsu Chicago, has a truly distinctive feel and a proven appeal to audiences.

The Halloween ad keeps all the standard elements and adds awesome dancing skeletons, rocking out to an obscure 80s funk cut. Not every ad needs to have hidden depths to be effective, and this one certainly doesn’t – it captures the playful, colorful party vibe of modern Halloween. The ad scores 4.4-Stars on Test Your Ad, showing strong long-term effectiveness. It also gets an Exceptional Spike Rating – meaning it’s going to be a powerful aid to short-term sales over the weeks leading up to Halloween.

This combination of excellent short and long-term growth potential is a valuable one – increasingly brands are realizing you don’t need to see emotional advertising as a tradeoff between the two effects.

One smart and subtle thing Reese’s do here is not mention Halloween – even though it’s clearly a Halloween ad. Instead they talk about “Reese’s Season”, strengthening the ties between the holiday and their particular brand. It’s a way of offsetting one of the potential problems with Halloween ads – something that may be a reason why brands stay away. Halloween is a big holiday for the whole category, which means that your ads as a candy brand are also helping your competitors. Reese’s, as a market leader, don’t need to worry as much as smaller brands do about this category effect – instead they’re in a position where they can exploit their strength and strong association.

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