- Svedka Vodka launched a Halloween-themed digital campaign featuring banner ads that "haunt and taunt" users wherever they go online, according to The Drum. The campaign, created by Toronto agency Bensimon Byrne, starts by serving up a video pre-roll spot about a fictional curse of "hellish ads," followed by a slew of retargeted ads.
- Users can lift the curse and break free from the ads by visiting a Svedka microsite and sharing what looks like an article or seasonal cocktail recipe but is actually a link to "infect" their friends with the curse instead. Those who click on the user's shared post will be redirected to the branded video and chased around the internet until they do the same.
As if retargeted ads aren't scary enough to some consumers, Svedka ramps up the creepiness factor in its latest clever push to spook users and lure them to the brand's dedicated microsite filled with seasonal cocktail recipes and content. The campaign is reminiscent of mid-2000s jokingly-threatening email chains, which might stir up nostalgia for some consumers but also runs the risk of painting the brand as too invasive, as the retargeted ads flaunt individual user's data. In either case, the ads are likely to garner attention — whether the end result is positive for the brand remains to be seen.
The strategy appears to be fueled by the idea that banner and retargeted ads are already perceived as creepy, like a stalker who knows someone's every move — or at least their basic activity online, something that's standard for web tracking. In the spirit of Halloween, some might find the creepiness fun even as the ads serve as reminders to consumers that their actions online are being collected via cookies for marketing purposes.
Svedka is likely trying to reach its massive millennial audience — a majority of the brand's U.S. customers are between 21 and 34 — by tapping the Halloween trend and creating its video content to look like the trailer of a horror movie. Younger consumers are simultaneously more aware that their personal information is available online but are also more willing to exchange that data for improved customer experiences. The vodka company has a history of deploying Halloween-themed campaigns with Bensimon Byrne, including 2015's printable costumes and last year's First World Horror Stories.