Creative marketing ideas

Creative Marketing Ideas: Zombie Apocalypse

Posted by Amy Peveto on June 06, 2011

It’s been a year of absolutely insane natural disasters — and with hurricane season beginning June 1, government health agencies are taking no chances when it comes to promoting disaster preparedness.

And no one is doing it better than the Center for Disease Control.


On May 16, the CDC published Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse on their Health Matters Blog. In the article they go through the steps you need to take in order to prepare for and deal with the aftermath of the Zombie Apocalypse — or other natural disaster. They also talk a little bit about the steps the CDC would take in the event that actual zombies began shambling around town.

A campaign with braaaains

Zombies are big in pop culture right now, and it was the CDC’s goal to capitalize on that interest. Not only were they reaching out to their current audience in a new way, they were also trying to modernize their image and catch the attention of younger generations.

And boy was it successful. Two days after it was posted, the article had received 60,000 hits — 500% more than the CDC’s previous record of 10,000 hits on a single post. In fact, so many people visited the article that the CDC blog crashed. The day after that, “#Zombie Apocalypse” was trending on Twitter, and local and national newspapers and news stations have been covering the story ever since.

Not only did the CDC manage to reach a previously unreachable audience and get themselves some great publicity, they may have also saved some lives, too.

Marketers’ takeaway

Okay, so maybe it’s not your goal to save lives. Maybe what you want to do is sell bookmarks or bath mats, or design buildings or corporate websites. No matter what you’re selling, there are always creative ways to do it better.

  • Find out what the members of your target market talk about and enjoy. It might be zombies, but it could also be funny pictures of cats, or Punk Rock, or collecting seashells.
  • Think about ways that those interests intersect with your business or product.
  • Create content that speaks to those intersections, and promote it across relevant channels.

Your content may not go viral (pun so intended) like the CDC’s did, but your efforts to meet your prospects on their turf can lead to positive brand experiences and new customers. And you might even have a little fun in the process.

[Image: “Shaun of the Dead”]

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