It’s safe to say AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is a hit show. When it premiered a little less than a year ago, it gave the network the highest ratings to date. The first season finale received 6 million viewers, a series high; with 4 million viewers in the 18–49 demographic, making it the most watched basic cable series for the demographic. Numbers like that make Marketing Executives drool like a zombie dropped in the middle of a chess club.

The fine folks brain leaches at Microsoft wanted a little piece of that action. A little over a year ago they approached AMC with an idea to work the 21st century answer to “Ask Jeeves” into the show.

From the New York Times:

“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.”

“We pitched them last year where maybe the characters could find a library with a generator and do a Bing search,” said Sean Carver, a marketing director at Bing, who acknowledged the scene was a stretch.

A stretch? I didn’t get the best marks in high school english, does “a stretch” mean “an idea so colossally bad it makes me want to slam my own testicles in the refrigerator door till I forget I ever heard it?” – Maybe I should Bing that… yea, like anyone uses Bing.

But wait, there is more!

Pizza Hut, which already advertises on the AMC show, also wanted to shoe horn its brand onto the screen.

“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.”

Really? The last time I was in a Pizza Hut, most of the clientele seemed to be the walking dead. It might have been a perfect fit!

So, one product placement we will see in the up coming second season is Hyundai, the Korean car manufacture will have its Tucson SUV featured in an episode.

Grimes, grips the steering wheel tightly. “We’re going just going to have to drive through that pack of geeks. Luckily this economically priced SUV is equipped with Downhill Brake Control and Hillstart Assist Control so we can maintain a safe speed on steep declines without having to use the brakes and maintain control on a steep or slippery hills without rolling backwards. Plus check out all this leg room!”

 Oh, and for Microsoft and Pizza Hut? Don’t worry, while they won’t have any on screen time, they both have some commercial tie-ins. Microsoft will have its “Walking with the Dead Stagger on Sweepstakes“, which actually has a pretty sweet prize. Pizza Hut will launch it’s own “The Walking Dead Trailer Mash-Up Contest“, inviting Facebook users to cut together their own trailer for the show.

Am I the only one that see’s some missed opportunities for more appropriate product placement? Chainsaw manufactures, people that make bite proof clothing, Glad garbage bags… hey, those people that you just met, you’re going to have to wrap their corpses in something.

The Walking Dead shambles, moans and gnaws its way back on to TV  this Sunday October 16th, 2011, at 9:00 pm EST.

Source: The New York Times


Category: TV

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