By: Daniel Sweeney On: October 23, 2012 In: Advertising & Marketing Comments: 0

With Halloween just around the corner I’ve upped my consumption of all horror-related media this week. From Sunday’s glorious episode of The Walking Dead to setting the DVR to record each night of AMC’s Halloween marathon this week, I’m all about the thrills and chills from now until October 31.

Not just a fan of the films, I’ve always appreciated the way studios have positioned their horror films – going from disturbing (Saw) to tongue-in-cheek (Scream). In a genre where tropes are prevalent and originality is hard to come by, off-the-wall promotional tactics and strategies help distinguish a film or television show from similar ones.

To promote their 2011 release Contagion, Warner Bros. Canada came up with a rather unique billboard design that tied directly to the film’s plot. Contagion’s story revolves around a worldwide virus outbreak. Playing off the theme of bacteria and infection, the campaign’s developers created two large Petri dishes to cultivate large amounts of bacteria and mold as part of the billboard.

Upon first glace, the sheets looks rather barren, but as time passed the bacteria began to grow and the copy began to take shape. The grotesque nature of the end result was only outdone by the ad’s effectiveness. Watch the video above to see all the attention the simple storefront banners received.

The Walking Dead
The flash mob is nothing new, having been en vogue since sometime around 2003, but seeing them involve special effects and professional make up is something else entirely – which is exactly what we got when AMC organized this zombified flash mob in Times Square in Fall 2010.

Since its premiere in 2010, The Walking Dead has been one of television’s leaders in second screen engagement and social media. The series keeps fans hooked with online social games and makes hundreds of thousands of impressions well beyond the confines of its Sunday evening time slot (MediaPost).

Paranormal Activity 3
Yahoo!’s Ad of the Year for 2011 came from a film franchise that started just two years prior on a budget of $15,000. The Paranormal Activity series is seen as one of Hollywood’s greatest case studies in social media marketing – owing much of its initial 2009 success to positive social media buzz generated by filmgoers.

Paranormal Activity 3 made the most of its mobile advertising budget in 2011, creating a mobile banner that seamlessly blended in with the popular Yahoo! News module. After hooking mobile users with a very real looking news alert, the ad further engaged viewers with a static video that touted the films upcoming release.

(H/T Washington Post, MediaPost, BBC, Yahoo!)