Candy killer: branded comedy horror

With the sun shining and a long summer stretching out before us our thoughts naturally turn to … er… Halloween.

Butterfinger, the ever-popular US candy, appears to have bypassed summer completely this year.  The brand has poured a hefty slice of ad budget into the annual fright fest, that is still some 6 months away, with the pending launch of a new piece of branded entertainment.

‘Butterfinger The 13th’ is set to be the first ever comedy horror film produced by a candy brand as opposed to a major Hollywood studio.

So who is behind this candy-based shock horror movie? George A. Romero? Sam Raimi? Rob Zombie even? No, for this excusive 25-minute production Butterfinger has enlisted none other than …Rob Lowe (he of St Elmo’s Fire and Wayne’s World fame).

“Butterfinger is always looking to deliver new and exciting entertainment experiences for fans, mixed in with a heavy dose of clever fun,” said Butterfinger spokesperson, Tricia Bowles, Nestlé USA Confections & Snacks. “With Rob Lowe behind the camera for this humorously horrific masterpiece, ‘Butterfinger the 13th’ is sure to be a hit, and we can’t wait for Butterfinger fans everywhere to be scared funny.”

The whole concept is very tongue in cheek. Literally in some senses as the dubious tag line “you can’t scream with your mouth full” appears to indicate.

Butterfingers' “psychological thriller that will leave you laughing” is perfectly timed to coincide with the usual onslaught of Halloween movie fare come October, and while we here in the UK still fail to see the allure of the trick or treat phenomenon it is still a $5.8B industry in the US with our friends across the pond spending around $66.54 per head on the season.

We’ve been banging on about the rise in horror lite marketing over the last year, and this is a fairly committed example of the medium in action, facilitating new creative work in the process.  What would possibly have made it more interesting is if fans of the brand  - and horror in general – could have become more involved with the creative process. This however, may be forthcoming in the coming months.

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