Hardware Chain Helping People Prepare for Zombie Attack

How do you prepare for the inevitable onslaught of rampaging zombies? With a hammer, some nails, and lawn seed apparently.

That’s what came in a media package we received from Westlake Ace Hardware, a chain of hardware stores that does business in six Midwestern and Southwestern states including Missouri and Kansas. There always was something strange about Missouri.

The kit comes equipped with directions for how to use each of the items in the Zombie Preparedness Kit (the seed is for your lawn after the undead pop out of it) and information about “the growing zombie trend,” which includes the millions of viewers who tuned in to The Walking Dead in 2010 and the millions of zombie-related Google searches.

Outreach with the packages targets media outlets in the hardware chain’s regions (with special exception for PRNewser, natch, and other outlets in the marketing and hardware space). And there are also a couple of websites and a zombie expert getting in on the fun. According to a spokesperson from Bozell, which is working with Westlake, the campaign speaks to the company’s message that it can help you with all manner of hardware issues, including flesh-eating monsters. The campaign runs through October.

Separately but related, The NY Times did a story yesterday about Bing’s efforts to tie its brand to The Walking Dead, which airs its highly-anticipated (by me) season opener on Sunday. Because a product placement wouldn’t make sense in a dystopian setting, ads that play off of the show have begun to air instead.

Kudos to the show for turning down the placement offer. Rightly, it found that having Bing in the middle of a scene wouldn’t make sense. Moreover, it’s a reminder to marketers that if you’re pitching product placement opportunities, be sure the placement makes sense or a good idea can turn bad quickly.