What’s Missing From Most Haunted House Commercials? – Advertising Expert Tim Burt Explains

People spend 8 billion dollars annually on Halloween.

Halloween Advertising Is Usually Anything But Scary.

What’s the one thing you’re paying for when going to a haunted house?

  • to scream your lungs out?
  • be startled into helplessness?
  • to be shocked into shock?

Actually, it’s none of those.

Wanna know what it is?

Want me to tell you???


You’re paying for suspense.

It is the anticipation of what is to come next that is truly the most terrifying part of any good haunted attraction.

Keep that in mind as you watch/listen to these first three haunted house commercials.

(At the end of this post, I’ll give you a haunted house commercial idea that would be incredibly effective…and one that I’ve never seen.)

Boo! More Like BOOOOOOO (thumbs down)

First, one of my core principles of copy writing for any advertisement: don’t fill the ad with too many words…or things for me to remember. Here’s a good example of what not to do in a haunted house television commercial:

Conversely, this television advertisement for a haunted house in Pennsylvania doesn’t use an announcer or voice-over at all:

Here’s a radio ad for the “Carnival Of Carnage” which could have been far better if the story were being told only by a clown, instead of some disembodied voice:

No suspense, all noise. Not scary.

Finally, Some Actual Copy Writing Effort

This is from 1978. Without the computer technology we have today, they had to rely on actual storytelling. This is by far the best commercial I’m sharing with you:

The Best Halloween Ad I’ve Never Seen

Would be one with just a picture of a door. Nothing else for the entire commercial.

Something like this:

Your Haunted House Commercial should just be this for the entire ad

What’s behind this door?

A sample script:

“Unforgiving. Relentless. Terrifying.

That’s how those who have opened this door describe what’s behind it. 

Open this door, and come face-to-face with your deepest, darkest fears.

You can’t imagine what’s on the other side. We’ve done it for you.”

Then add in the name of the attraction and website.

The script above which I wrote is very rough, but it’s far better than the first three commercials I shared with you.

Pro Tip: Let The Audience Imagine Your Attraction

Most professional haunters (the industry term for a haunted house operator) seem hell-bent on using graphic images and too many sound effects to attract their audience.

They also try to list every single thing that’s inside in their commercials.

That is a common, and massive mistake.

It’s far more creepy and effective to let the audience imagine what your haunted house has in it (“what’s behind this door?”).

The Secret Sauce:

As I stated earlier, if you give away the surprise, there can be no suspense.


That is what virtually every person who pays to go inside is expecting.

So give it to them in your advertising, professional haunters.

Tim Burt



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Three Powerful Advertising Techniques That I Use – Advertising Expert Tim Burt Explains

Why do some commercials convert their audience to buyers more than others?

Tomorrow on a free webinar, I’ll be revealing three extremely powerful advertising techniques that I use quite often.

You can use these for your own business, or apply them to advertising for your clients.

This is a no-hype, no selling webinar. No kidding.

Just click this link to register.


Tim Burt


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The Under Armour Ballerina Ad Isn’t As Good As You Think – Expert Marketer Tim Burt Critiques

This advertisement for Under Armour is generating a lot of buzz. Here’s the ad:

13-year old Misty Copeland recites her rejection letter from a “ballet academy.”

  • She’s too old.
  • Misty has the wrong body type.
  • Clearly, she’s very muscular.

I’m sure for legal purposes she cannot disclose the “ballet academy” that told her to take a hike.

What’s Good About This Ad

It’s visually stunning.

It’s extremely inspirational to those little girls who want to be ballerinas.

It instills the “don’t give up” mentality.

It Misses The Mark Badly

Three areas where this ad falls completely flat.

1) Had they shown Misty performing in front of thousands on stage, that would have created a greater impact in the mind of the audience.

Dancing on stage in an empty  airplane hanger (??)  means absolutely nothing to those she’s trying to inspire.

But the bigger issues I have:

2) Watch the ad again. I see absolutely no benefit that Under Armour brings to her skills.

Does wearing Under Armour make her jump higher? Twirl faster? Make her stand on her toes longer? Probably not.

You could replace the Under Armour logo with Adidas, Nike, Reebok, etc. and still get the same results.

3) This ad is very reminiscent of Nike’s wildly successful “Just Do It” campaign from the late 1980’s.

Bo can do all that because he’s wearing Nike. Or so they would have you believe.

But as I’ve stated in my seminars, you cannot copy another advertising premise, and mold it to your own…which Under Armour slyly tries to do…and fails.

Tim Burt


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Closing Online Ads Lack Consistency – Advertising Expert Tim Burt Explains

If you play the free version of Words With Friends (or other ad-supported games), you’re subjected to periodic advertising.

Like most consumers, I want these ads to go away as quickly as possible.

After all, unless the ad is speaking to me I don’t want to waste my time looking at it.

Besides, I want to play the next game, round, level, etc.

So I took some screenshots of actual ads from my iPad after destroying playing my buddies in Words With Friends.

Here is an ad for Chick-Fil-A


Notice where you tap to close the ad (pardon the fancy circle job):


Up next, Best Buy


This ad closes on the bottom right corner:


Now, an ad for another game called “Cookie Jam”:


To escape this colorful mess, you’d click on the upper left:


Three different ads in unrelated categories, yet no consistency on how to make them go away.

This one for Dr. Scholl’s foot products is particularly annoying:


Why? Because the “X” button is deceptively small:


Two conclusions:

1) The mobile advertising industry needs to develop a standard by which consumers can quickly close the ads, and fast.

Otherwise they’re only increasing the user’s frustration level with advertising in general.

2) Take this lesson and apply it in your own business. Do your customers expect and receive the same predictable process when trying to buy your products?

It would be akin to moving the cash register to different locations every day in your store. Or changing the layout and appearance of your mobile checkout page.

As I discuss in my seminars, “unexpectedness” is powerful in attracting new customers, but not when you’re trying to condition them to your businesses’ practices.

Tim Burt


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Finalist: Dumbest Commercial of 2014 – Gain Flings – Expert Marketer Tim Burt Critiques

First, the commercial.

What’s the thing you remember the most? The singers?

Were you anticipating when they would appear next?

Yet, that’s not what they want  you to recall when you’re in the store.

They have a (potentially) great product, combining Oxy-Clean and Febreeze with the power of Gain laundry detergent.

But unless you catch the approximately 4 seconds (13%) they devote to that selling point, you’ll miss the point of this commercial completely.

This is a classic example of modern advertising where the “entertainment value” of the ad completely overpowers the selling point.

If I were to ask you in a week when you’re buying laundry detergent at the store what product had the singers, and why you should buy it, I’d be surprised if hardly anyone recalls “Gain Flings.”

Tim Burt



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How Radio And Television Stations Unknowingly Sabotage Their Own Sales – Tim Burt Explains


The formula for advertising success from Don Draper

If you’re a business owner who has been approached by a sales representative from a radio or television station, tell me if this sounds familiar:

You’ve agreed on an advertising schedule, the amount you’re going to pay is settled, and then the discussion turns to the actual commercial.

The radio/t.v. person will say, “let’s create an ad that ‘cuts through the clutter.'”

What they’re really saying is “every other advertisement, and all the non-programming elements on our station is just unwatchable, unlistenable garbage.”

That pits them against every other sales person from that particular company.

Of course it’s not going to be your commercial that is the “clutter”, right?

That’s the “other” guy who is driving away the audience with their terrible advertisement.

When, in fact, if you don’t follow some basic, simple, proven rules, your commercial will become “clutter.”

Those basic rules are (which I’ve covered on this blog extensively):

  • Give the audience one thing to remember about your business
  • Give the audience the one way you want them to contact you
  • Don’t do what’s cute, do what sells.


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How To Use Hypnosis Techniques To Create Mind-Blowing Advertising – Tim Burt And Wendi Friesen free webinar

One of my powerful advertising weapons is using hypnotic techniques in the commercial.

Wendi Friesen is a world-renowned clinical hypnotherapist who has used these same techniques in her own radio ads.

On this free webinar, Wendi will join me to share some devastating tips that you can use in your own advertising, or for your radio and television clients.

Learn powerful hypnotic advertising techniques from world renowned clinical hypnotherapist Wendi Friesen on my free webinar June 25th.

Sign up here:


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