Marketing Your Brand in a Zombie Apocalypse
Zombies seem to always get a bad wrap. However, you’ve probably heard that bad press is still PR. Everyone is always trying to make a buck off their popularity, and the fear of the dead returning to haunt and eat the living sparks interest. In recent years the increase of TV dramas such as AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead and classic movies like Dawn of the Dead and many other entertaining stories have sparked interest in this topic on all social sites.
As companies continue to delve into the world of social media continuously discovering new ways to utilize and optimize this new medium for marketing, finding ways to integrate these “hot topics” into marketing strategies is always useful. When millions are using the hashtag “#zombie” or “#zombieapocalypse,” why not get your brand right in there with the conversation!
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found a clever means of advertising by using this hot topic. In January 2012, the CDC put out a tongue-in-cheek campaign to engage new audiences about the importance of being prepared in the case of a catastrophe. Dr. Ali Khan stated, “If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack.” So the CDC released a Zombie Preparedness Kit with some tips on survival.
However, in light of the recent face-eating man arrest in Miami and other heinous crimes of that nature, there has been a drastic increase in zombie interest and fear of a zombie apocalypse–so much so that last Friday the seventh most searched item on Google was “zombie apocalypse.” Due to the public response to these events the CDC, in an email to the Huffington Post, stated that, “[the] CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms).”
The reaction to the CDC’s original zombie campaign reminisces the War of the Worlds radio drama of the late 30’s, in which an alien invasion was broadcast in news like fashion. Responses to this broadcast were chaotic and the radio station was flooded with calls.
What the CDC managed to do by attaching their campaign to a current hot topic was generate a lot of social buzz around their campaign. What we can gain from this is that hot topics are to be utilized with caution, however being able to tactfully incorporate these topics and engage with your audience that is participating in these conversations is a great way to market your brand and make it more relatable! Attaching your brand to current topics of interest is a great means of creating social buzz around it.