Dissecting the Eerie Power of Halloween Storytelling

Storytelling Short Bites FOX Digital Studios and Mars

(this ridiculously eerie image is courtesy of FOX Digital Studios)

Halloween Marketing

Halloween is just around the corner and it’s hard to decide who’s giddier… the kids about to get their candy rush on or the brands who plan to leverage the holiday in every way, shape and form to promote their wares. But with every brand under the full moon playing the Halloween card, how can a brand break through all that creepy clutter? How can you grab and hold the attention of your customers?

Brilliant Storytelling

Well, you can bet it won’t be through Hokus Pokus nor black magic… in fact, it goes back to our reliable, old friend… storytelling. Yes, we’ve talked before about how storytelling can be one of the most effective tools brands have to connect with their customers and make their message stick. And what better opportunity is there to tell a story (especially a good ghost story) then Halloween? Here’s a spooky good example of what we’re talking about…

Skittles, Starburst, M&Ms, yes you’ve heard of them. Little, bite-sized candies that you can certainly guess want to be top-of-mind with consumers this time of year. That being the case, parent-company Mars partnered with FOX Digital Studios to produce four, amazingly creepy, “Bite-Sized Horror Films” that have aired on FOX over the past few weeks — here’s a nice overview of the campaign from Tim Nudd at AdWeek.

Creepy It Clown

Image courtesy of IMDb

“Contagious Engagement” is the “It” that transforms a standard piece of content into a viral success.
(And no, we’re not talking about that “It.“)




Besides the less-than-subtle “Bite-Sized” reference to Mars’ products, these cinematic-style shorts–each 2 minutes in length–have about as much in common with traditional commercials as I do with the boogie man. Rooted in high production value and classic ghost story elements, each of these shorts is a riveting mini-feature film that hits the mark with eerie effectiveness capitalizing on what we, here at Dialsmith, call, “Contagious Engagement.”

What is Contagious Engagement?

It’s a concept we define as, “The ability to create a narrative or content that captures attention, connects with the right words and experiences, and is remarkable in such a way that your audience will feel compelled to share it.” In short, “Contagious Engagement” is the “It” that transforms a standard piece of content into a viral success.

You want to feel what “Contagious Engagement” feels like? Give the Skittles Bite-Sized Horror Film a watch below. Then just try not to tell anyone else about it. We dare you.

We, here at Dialsmith, are passionate about ensuring our clients’ words, messages, imagery and experiences are hitting the mark. If you liked this blog topic or if topics like storytelling and message testing interest you, we encourage you to follow us on Twitter and/or LinkedIn and join the discussion.


Contagious engagement