“…walk the earth,” according to filmmaker George Romero.  In 1968, he introduced zombies to the masses with his ground-breaking cult classic “Night of the Living Dead.”

http://www.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/s_63350_92d9902d1.jpgThe edgy, black and white film spawned a sub-genre of horror that exclusively featured the living dead.  Most of the time, they simply shuffled, grunted, and ate the survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse.  Fast forward to the present and Romero’s influence is still felt and his mindless reanimated corpses have evolved.

Today, zombies market products for companies like Toshiba, Honda, Federal Express, and Kellogg’s, just to name a few.  The cool cadavers even popped-up in a SuperBowl Commercial for Doritoes (a product of Frito-Lay/PepsiCo, Inc). This past April, the finalists of “American Idol” were featured as zombies  in a commercial for Ford Motors.

“Zombie Marketing” is becoming a catch-phrase of advertising that draws parallels to the imaginary Zombie Apocalypse.  Fictionally speaking, most zombies exist due to an infection of some unknown origin.  The infection starts with just one unlucky individual who sets in motion the events that ultimately lead to a total collapse of society.  Before long, the shabby stiffs outnumber the non-dead.  In other words, to market a product designed for a specific demographic, you don’t need to spread the information to the general masses, but rather directly to that audience.  Before long, your product will, in theory, spread like a plague, thus acquiring more customers.

For example, during an episode of “The Walking Dead” (an AMC series based on the comic books of the same name) the channel aired a commercial for Hyundai, featuring zombies.  The show’s mid-season finale which aired on November 27th, captured 4.5 million viewers in the much-desired category of 18-49 year olds.  That’s quite a target audience, so it’s obvious why advertisers are creating commercials that fit the mood.

I doubt that George Romero envisioned this type of zombie invasion, and in all my years of horror-film fanaticism, neither did I.  The types of commercials being shown in this vain are definitely memorable and I have found myself discussing them with friends and fellow “zombiephiles.”  Whether or not they actually influence my purchasing habits remains to be seen.  For now, I’m sitting back, grinning and mocking those who once condemned Romero’s creatures of the night.