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Fright fest

It’s time to carve the pumpkins, stock up on the fake blood and ignore the constant ringing of trick or treaters. Yes, it’s Halloween again and with it comes plenty of spine-chilling adverts to sink your teeth into. And here are a few that have had us cowering behind our desks this week.

The dead undead

It might look like a scene from the latest George A. Romero flick, but this video is actually part of a campaign by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. The action takes place in the midst of a zombie apocalypse to highlight the importance of CPR in making the dead, ‘undead’. Get it?
It has reached nearly 600,000 YouTube views, which along with it’s great website, has grabbed the attention of some of the world’s biggest media companies. Business media magazine Fast Company praised it as one of the best ever Halloween ads. And it certainly had us reaching for the light switch.
The campaign also encouraged the public to buy tickets for the ‘safe zone’ at Canada’s Holiday Halloween Haunt to learn for themselves how to make the dead ‘undead’. And it proved a massive success with more than 5,000 people taking part, a North American record for people learning CPR at one time.

Dirty devils
With the ticking clock, the chilling screams and the dark setting, the latest ad from Dirt Deivil could almost pass for a scene from The Exorcist. But instead of revealing a demonically possessed child, Dirt Devil recreated one of the film’s most memorable scenes to show just how powerful their own ‘Devils’ can be.

Can you remember you worst childhood nightmare? Whether it’s clowns or giant bunnies, they’re all turning up in Fragile Childhood‘s latest awareness video.
Using some truly terrifying monsters, it highlights a child’s perception of their parents under the influence of alcohol. As the story unfolds we realise these creepy ‘monsters’ are in fact grownups. The video questions ‘How do our children see us when we’ve been drinking?’ in an attempt to make parents aware of the damage their drinking can sometimes cause their children.

It’s already grabbed a lot of attention with more than 1.5 million YouTube views. And we think it’s a brilliant way of getting parents to think before they drink.
Horror hotel
Doritos found the perfect way to put some more bite back into their brand with the help of a spooky internet game.

Inviting teen players to spend the night in the very haunted, very scary online Hotel 626, Doritos employed some clever techniques to create a unique gaming experience. The game sends players on a scream-inducing journey to escape the hotel and its terrifying inhabitants with the help of their own technology. Your computer microphone allows you to sing a ghoul to sleep while your camera flash banishes the hotel’s scary maid. What’s more, the game takes a cheeky photo of you using your own web cam which appears in the game inside a madman’s lair. To add to the terror, the game can only be accessed in the dark (between 6pm and 6am), and your only salvation is a creepy phone call on your mobile giving you directions out.

The games and its follow-up Asylum 626 proved a massive success for Doritos. Four million people in 136 countries viewed Hotel 626 alone, driving Doritos sales back up.

Coal cares!

A small group of American medical experts and other activists took on the coal industry with the launch, yesterday, of the fake charitable initiative and website coal cares. With the offer of special branded inhalers to take the stigma out of childhood asthma and helpful debunking of the myths of alternative energy supply, it’s a potentially controversial way to generate media interest by lampooning the culture that it challenges.

This has been followed up with press releases quoting statistics from the American Lung Association showing that polution kills 13,000 people each year in the US and making explicit links to cancer prevelance.

Developed through the YesLab, the forum for developing media grabbing activist projects, and in tandem with the Yes Men, who have had high profile successes with similar stunts challenging big corporations such as Dow Chemical, Exxon and Halliburton, it would be interesting to know what the pick-up rate across US media has been. But meanwhile, I’ll leave you with an interesting fact from their Asthma Trivia section…

Piggy, from Lord of the Flies, didn’t die from an asthma attack
Piggy (the “fat kid”) did have terrible asthma, but he sure didn’t die from it! Rather, he perished from a boulder dropped on his head by a group of his frustrated peers.

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