These 2 Gritty, Post-Apocalyptic Short Films Are Surprisingly Interconnected

Xbox and 215 McCann create diaries from a zombie nightmare

A nurse keeps a video diary of her struggles to survive the world of State of Decay 2. 215 McCann
Headshot of David Griner

Pop culture has been so saturated with the undead over the past decade, it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for yet another zombie apocalypse. I mean, we get it: Zombies surround a pocket of survivors, someone gets bit, arms get cut off, a corpse rises unexpectedly, and then everything goes to hell.

So it’s especially impressive to see a promotional effort like the one agency 215 McCann created for the upcoming Xbox video game State of Decay 2. Aptly called “Video Diaries,” the campaign centers on individual survivors more than a year after the collapse of civilization.

The videos go beyond the basic terror of a zombie nightmare and focus on the logistics of survival, which works well with the game’s format. Unlike most first-person, bash-zombies-with-bats games, State of Decay 2 is a more strategic game of base building, resource management and team leadership.

The stresses and struggles of those challenges are apparent in the video diaries, which tell two stories that are seemingly unrelated—until you’ve watched them both.

Once you’ve seen the nurse’s plight and then how “Coach” gets a new lease on life, it becomes apparent the stories cross over in a subtle way that some might not catch. It also goes to show that even in a world beset my zombies, humans are (as always) their own worst enemies.

The ad campaign launches globally today, with the game launching for Xbox One and Windows 10 on May 22.

Campaign: Video Diaries
Game: State of Decay 2
Client: Microsoft Xbox / State of Decay 2
Senior Director, Xbox Global Marketing Communications: Taylor Smith
Director of Marketing: Julie Lowe

Agency: 215 McCann
Chief Creative Officer: Scott Duchon
Creative Director: Neil Bruce
Copywriter: Andy Holdeman
Art Director: Zach Lepine
Director of Integrated Production: Alex Spahr
Executive Producer: Jeremy Arth
Director of Business Affairs: Mary Beth Barney
Business Director: Peter Goldstein
Management Supervisor: Bryant Marcia
Senior Account Executive: Ben Blaska
Assistant Account Executive: Monisa Lu
Director of Strategy: Brian Wakabayashi
Associate Strategy Director: Ryan Ouyoumjian

Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Isaiah Seret
Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall
Line Producer: Andrew Travelstead
Editorial Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Pete Koob
Assistant Editors: Max Holste, Christopher Kasper
Executive Producer: Deanne Mehling
Producer: Brady Fiero
Flame Artist: M. Trivan, Jogger SF
Original Music: Human Worldwide

Mix + Sound Design: One Union
Mixer: Joaby Deal
Telecine: Company 3

Colorist: Tom Poole

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."