Makers of “bite-size” horror commercials got tricked before Halloween

Words: Haonan Yuan | Subbing: Bernadette Galbraith

A new advertising campaign from confectionary giants Fox and Mars is using Halloween as a way to hook us in to buying their products. A series of short films has been issued online, but it’s emerged that some of the producers didn’t know how the films would end up being used.

One of the adverts, Floor 9.5, advertising Skittles was played during a Yankees-Indians playoff game on FS1 last week, causing a Twitter stir.

All commercials are with high production values and a cinematic feel, but originally, makers were only told to produce a short for Halloween. With a tiny budget, which is around $25,000 for one piece, most of them said yes instantly.

Christopher Leone, director of Replacement by Starburst from the same series, thinks Fox and Mars made “a smart approach”.

“I got some minor editorial notes from Fox and the client at the end, but that was about it,” Leone spoke to ADWEEK, “From my point of view, it was just about making a creepy, weird short film. I didn’t know it was going to be for Starburst until I saw it on TV.”

But on the other hand, makers had almost total creative freedom on the project. Gabriel Miller, writer of Live Bait, believes this is “a creative standpoint to have such freedom with literally zero input from the brand.”

This “bite-size” series has 12 shorts in total and the rest is expected to be released before Halloween. It is also said that Fox might be planning a similar series, possibly with a different brand, for Christmas.

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