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A Fright of Delight: Ad Performance of Halloween Ads This Year

October 28, 2021

Spooky Season is officially upon us, and as life in most of the US starts to feel a little more “normal,” Halloween is expected to return to its full, ghoulish glory. After the muted celebrations during 2020, consumer spending on decor, costumes, and of course, candy is expected to soar to an all-time high.

Despite not seeing a lot of new Halloween-themed activity for the confectionary category, we’ve got some new treats (in the form of ad insights using our industry-leading in-market measurement platform Phoenix Brand Effect) to drop into your candy bag, just in time for Halloween.

M&M’s “Ghosted” ad, which first aired in 2018, has returned this year to claim its spot at the top of this year’s ranking. Their spot features their iconic M&M’s characters (which boosted branding) in a unique storyline that gave viewers an unexpected twist at the end.

Reese’s stayed consistent with their strong branding by prominently displaying the product on screen and maintaining creative consistency with their other ads from the Brand, contributing to strong Brand Linkage. “Halloween Trick” performed better in terms of Ad Recall, benefitting from the more straightforward narration (courtesy of actor Will Arnet) and built-up suspense. “A Better Place,” which is new to air this year, is still struggling a bit to break through to consumers, perhaps because the ad hasn’t had sufficient time to wear in yet.

Prominently (and cleverly) featuring the product was the likely driver behind the strong Branding and Ad Memorability of Kit Kat’s “Vampire” ad, which gives a humorous take on a vampire. The ad also slightly resembles some of the branding styles typically attributed to Reese’s, with the solid red/orange background and a prominent feature of the product itself, which could have played a role in their branding performance.

Curious to see how these spooky campaigns performed on an overall brand level?  Give us a shout!



Phoenix Brand Effect is the gold standard for in-market performance and can provide real-world, real-time, in-flight ad measurement to help you establish a baseline for future campaigns. Looking to bridge the gap between pre-market creative development and in-market tracking? Our newly-developed AdPi-Brand Effect Platform offers clients a seamless solution to maximize ad performance using creative diagnostics (AdPi®) to generate forward-looking estimates to understand your creative’s full in-market performance potential (Brand Effect).

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