Viral Review: Mars Wins Halloween With Terrifying ‘Bitesize Horror’ Ads
Fans of ‘The Twilight Zone’ or ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’ should look no further for their latest fix of anthology scares.
Surprisingly, we’re not talking about a new season of ‘Black Mirror’ but instead the terrific Halloween campaign from confectionary brand Mars. While sweets and chocolates are certainly central to Halloween tradition, they aren’t usually responsible for many frights. With its ambitious new project, Mars certainly looks set to change that.
‘Bitesize Horror’ isn’t an online video campaign in any traditional sense. The series of spots finds Mars taking the role of studio boss, commissioning four filmmakers to produce a short, spooky film to ring in the festivities.
While the shorts are bookended with a brief sting for a Mars product, the content is otherwise totally unrelated, unique to each film and – most importantly – legitimately scary.
The four shorts vary in style and influence. ‘The Road’ presents a familiar tale of dimly-lit backroads and lingering spirits, seemingly straight out of an urban legend.
‘The strongest of the batch by far is ‘Floor 9.5’, written by Simon Allen and directed by Toby Meakins. A brilliantly simple concept involving a Twilight Zone-worthy twist, the short imagines what happens when a building’s elevator stops between floors, and what horrors might lurk there.
‘Replacement’ is unapologetically eerie, charting the uncanny afternoon of a boy who finds his doppelganger standing in a field. By far the goofiest of the three, ‘Live Bait’ could be an early Stephen King story, with an ironic twist in the tale to match.
Each of these pieces are better left unspoiled, but suffice to say that every ‘episode’ of ‘Bitesize Horror’ is worth watching for its own reasons.
Compared to the blockbuster bombast of Christmas, Halloween is typically a chance for brands to have a bit of a goofy fun.
While brands like Burger King have opted for novelty ‘Zombie Whopper’ gimmicks, Mars’ effort stands out from the bunch because of the sheer quality of the shorts on show. This has already worked in the brand’s favour, with each video receiving tens of thousands of views across the social web.
With any luck, this success may prompt Mars to make ‘Bitesize Horror’ an annual tradition, drafting in more plucky young creatives to try and scare us in under two minutes.
In the meantime, ‘Bitesize Horror’ sets a high standard for brands looking to capitalise on the current horror trend.
If the content produced is always this inventive and purely enjoyable, we can’t wait to see more brand-sponsored short films making their way online.