Have you ever felt like being stalked when surfing the internet because of the same recurrent ads that keep popping up whenever you open a new window in your browser? If your answer is a yes then you should know that this is because of ‘cookies,’ which store data while you are browsing the web. Don’t freak out just yet, as they are all anonymous. But seeing the same ad, again and again, chasing you around the web can get a bit creepy.

Taking into account the fact that Halloween was just around the corner, Svedka Vodka launched a seasonal campaign that aims to scare millennials by making banner ads, internet users’ worst online nightmare, more frequent in their virtual lives. Created by Canadian agency Bensimon Byrne, the brand’s interactive campaign titled ‘Banner Ad Curse’ simply gives you the chills, because it subjects you to banner ads that seem to know what you’re up to and keep stalking you online.

Similar to The Ring‘s plot, after you watch the “Curse Video” you get kind of cursed, except no one dies, and your nightmare is fictional only. So once you watch the forced-view pre-roll video, you are the vodka brand’s digital victim. The company invokes its ‘supernatural’ powers and will target and retarget you with ads that contain scary messages and, oh well, curses.

The company uses cookies to collect data about users who, depending on their information (location, device, or browsing history), will be chased with one of these spooky messages: “I heart following you around New York,” “I’m bathing in your online data,” “I like that your post mean things about other vodkas,” “On your phone, calling for help?“, and “I know you like the wrong vodka.”

Don’t worry! Subjects can lift their curse, but all at a small cost, of course. All they have to do is pass it to other users. They can do that by accessing Svedka Vodka’s website and sharing a fake clickbait news article about its delicious cocktails (because what else could possibly be more annoying than retargeting posts?). If one of their virtual friends clicks on what the haunted user just shared, he or she will be redirected to the main video – where the process begins all over again. From there, they will have to confront this torture all by themselves or break the spell by infecting others.

Even if it was created especially for Halloween, the ad could work as a perfect scary prank for April’s Fool Day too. The current campaign marks the third spooky ad the company has made in partnership with the Toronto-based agency. In 2015 the duo released “Printable Costumes“, while “First World Horror Stories” was launched last year. Below you can watch the two of them (no extra curses, we swear). Based on what you see, you can decide which one is the scariest. Could it be one of these two or the one that keeps stalking you around the web? Let us know in the comments:


Client: Svedka Vodka

Agency: Bensimon Byrne