Halloween is a highly competitive time for the retail sector. Campaigns build towards one big day with brands fighting for their voice to be heard. But in a sea of samey Americanised communications featuring cutesy kids in costumes, there is little that stands out. We needed to find a fresh angle that was true to a British perspective. Something that would cut-through all the generic little wizards and witches, building brand warmth and mental availability for Sainsbury’s.
To do this, we needed to identify a relatable behaviour that would make our video emotive and shareable. What’s the experience of the average suburban Halloween really like?
Our insight was centred around a behavioural truth that a large part of our audience could relate to: the fear of realising that you don’t have any sweets when the trick or treaters arrive.
Every year there are people who actively avoid having to deal with trick-or-treaters. In fact, according to a YouGov poll, 70% of Brits say they prefer that trick-or-treaters don’t come to their door. It’s a little pathetic, a little awkward but an unmistakably British sentiment and worth poking some fun at.
So, whilst the ATL celebrated children trick or treating, our social activity went the other way and shone a light on the adults answering the door (or not in this case).
This allowed us to land a role for the brand naturally within the idea, without it feeling shoe-horned as it so often can be. Scared you’re unprepared? Better come to Sainsbury’s!
The film showcases the ludicrous antics of an unprepared couple as they attempt to hide from an advancing group of trick or treaters. Because no-one wants to disappoint the neighbours kids at Halloween.
Directed by the brilliant Tom Geens, the film borrows visual tropes from the pantheon of horror movies, making it feel like part of the genre. The film was shot natively for mobile in a vertical format and distributed specifically on Facebook with many of the behaviours depicted in the film designed to foster discussion in the comments.
The insight rang true and, as a result, the response to the film was overwhelmingly positive with 36k people tagging their friends and commenting.
“Brilliant advert, we always seem to eat the sweets before the kids invade!!!!”
“This advert is more terrifying than any horror I've seen