Zombies in Advertising: Oh, the Horror!

Corporate America's favorite fiends hunger for your brains, and your wallet

Headshot of Tim Nudd

When it comes to scare tactics, advertisers are fond of one rotting, shuffling, foul-smelling, flesh-eating monster in particular: the zombie. In this, they're simply mimicking consumers, who've had an insatiable appetite for zombies for years now. And it's often true that nothing brings an ad campaign to life quite like the undead. It hardly matters what you're selling. Cars, electronics, video games, sneakers, candy—whatever the category, the ads are always happy to welcome an animated corpse or two, hell bent on dispossessing you of your brains and your disposable income. For this infographic, we've collected 10 examples of zombie ads from the past year or so—evidence that the trend is hardly slowing down. These creatures will likely still be selling clear through the zombie apocalypse.

  1. Sears
    For the second straight Halloween, the retailer has a whole Sears.com/zombie section of its website, with videos, products and advice for humans and zombies alike.

  2. Honda
    RPA's ads for the Honda Civic featured a zombie named Mitch, one of various motley souls drawn to a vehicle "uniquely suited for unique people."

  3. FedEx
    When you absolutely, positively have to save your friend from becoming a zombie, you choose FedEx to ship the antidote, said this spot from BBDO in the Philippines.
  4. Centers for Disease Control

    Even the U.S. government has gotten in on the act: The CDC this year posted an online guide to preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Unfortunately, traffic crashed the CDC's website—not a good sign in the event of an actual apocalypse.
  5. Starburst
    TBWA\Chiat\Day threw a zombie into its Starburst "Contradictions" campaign, with a bus-riding rotter claiming that "living dead" in the most noteworthy contradiction of all.

  6. Yoga Outreach
    "Come back to life," suggested this Canadian commercial by ad agency John St. for a yoga center whose clientele real does need limbering up.

  7. Converse
    Undead versions of indie pop duo Matt and Kim, rapper Soulja Boy, and party dude Andrew W.K. threw a rager in a morgue in this creepy sneaker spot from Anomaly.

  8. Toyota
    The Toyota Corolla provides much-needed safety from flesh-eating creeps in this Burrell Communications campaign, timed to the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead.

  9. Call of Duty
    Zombies make the most sense when the product is zombie related—for example, Activision's zombie game Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection. This live-action trailer from TBWA\Chiat\Day is probably the goriest spot of its kind this year.

  10. Dead Island
    This video game, from Techland and Deep Silver, also takes place in a zombie-infested world. The stunning trailer, filmed in slow-motion reverse, won a Gold Lion in Film at Cannes this year.

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.