The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

Product Placement and ‘The Walking Dead’

Every time I think I can’t detest ‘The Walking Dead’ more as an exemplar of everything wrong with our crass, violence-drenched anti-Zombie media, they manage to find a new way to offend me.

Case in point, the way the show cashes in on PRODUCT PLACEMENT in its gruesome, savage pageantry, and how many sleazy corporations want to cozy up to them to do it:

BING, the two-year-old Microsoft search engine, has paid for product placements in movies including “Source Code” and television shows including “The Vampire Diaries” and “Hawaii Five-0.”

But when the search engine pursued a placement in “The Walking Dead,” the AMC drama whose second season premiere will be shown on Sunday night, the suggestion met the same fate as countless zombies on the show: it was shot down.

“The thing is that it’s a post-apocalyptic zombie concept,” where all power grids have been destroyed, explained Melissa Wasserman, the vice president of advertising sales marketing at AMC. “So people aren’t using their computers or phones in the show.”

Not all product-placement proposals for the zombie show are dead in the water. Because it is set in the present with the apocalyptic events having unfolded recently, the cars are of a recent vintage, which turns out to be convenient for Hyundai, which will be featuring a Tucson model in episodes of the coming season. Hyundai will give the actual car featured in the show away through a sweepstakes contest.

Pizza Hut, which advertises on the AMC show, also had internal discussions about integrating the brand in its plot.

“Maybe we could have had a scene where they ducked into a Pizza Hut restaurant to plan an attack or an escape,” said Chris Fuller, director of public relations for Pizza Hut, which is owned by Yum Brands. “But we didn’t feel like an on-screen integration was right for us.”

Yes, the marketing departments of some of the largest companies in the world have not so much crawled down into the gutter of ‘The Walking Dead’ as belly-flopped there, betraying both their complete lack of understanding of anything resembling art or narrative and the crassness of their attempts to ply their goods to Americans.

Read the NYT piece as an indictment of all the parties involved: AMC for considering this, the companies for attempting to pander through the show, and a media culture that facilitates this sort of operation.

Microsoft, Hyundai and Pizza Hut, the three companies featured most prominently in the NYT piece, have clearly decided that they want no custom from Zombie consumers or their allies in the Zombie Rights movement. I say whenever possible we grant their wish.

About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.


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