The week before Halloween is always zombie week. This time last year, retailer Sears hit it big with a successful zombification campaign that turned the Sears website into a zombie-infiltrated .com of the walking undead, including the "Blue Zombie Crew, your trusty undead experts."
Emboldened, the retailer is back this year with an even bigger zombie Halloween campaign, this time enlisting its Craftsman tools brand. And, of course, braaaiiiiinnnnnssssss!
Sears' zombie campaign is part of an outbreak of brands' zombie marketing gimmicks and themes.
Honda Civic, Starburst, Polaroid, Geico, and Doritos are just a few of the many brands that have used zombies in some sort of TV commercial, while Toyota has produced at least three zombie commercials globally.
The US Centers for Disease Control crashed its servers when it released a viral "Zombie Apocalypse" preparedness plan in May. Axe is jumping on the zombie meme, while Toshiba tapped into zombie fever for a commercial released in June.
Far from the one-dimensional zombie "skin" Sears used last year, this season's Zombie Sears promotion (head to sears.com/zombies) asks users to choose between two sides, "Human for now" or "Zombies forever."
From chainsaws to running shoes, the selections on the "human" side drive to individual products selected for their zombie fighting benefits.
Those opting for "Zombies forever" are offered various options to "find your undead style," "resurrect family time" and "28 gadgets later," a play on the movie 28 Days Later. Most of the paths lead to a different zombie spoof video, which can be viewed on the brand's Zombie Shopper channel on YouTube.
But there is more to the campaign than this expanded conversion of the Sears site to zombie mode. There is also an addictive throwback arcade-style video game of Craftsman vs. Zombies.
Sears has certainly gone all out this year to zombify itself. The question is, how is the brand creating awareness of all of this effort? So far, the viral campaign has received some pickup by USA Today while Twitter has a trickle of mentions.
While Sears reps were not available for comment at this time, one wonders if the brand plans a Twitter promoted "trending" topic, which might be the perfect final "nail in the coffin."