Zombie Pop Culture Advertising

Pop Culture and Advertising; The Peanut Butter and Jelly of Marketing

By Kathleen Battin
In September 25, 2014

Pop culture and advertising sort of go hand-in-hand these days. It has been an endless debate whether or not pop culture influences advertising or vice versa. When advertising plays off something relevant in pop culture, it can be pretty impactful because it is extremely relatable to the audience in that particular moment in time.

Pop culture can be anything from a relevant singer or actor to a highly talked about television program. When pop culture and advertising and marketing collide, it can be a thing of beauty. Speaking of beauty, let’s first talk about Mr. Beckham; Mr. David Beckham, that is. H&M recognized the sports player’s mass appeal as a massive sports icon and used Beckham to sell its body wear line through a series of print and television ads. Social media helped spread this piece of pop culture advertising by incorporating unique hashtags asking viewers to vote for the #covered or #uncovered version of David Beckham. In the words of Joey Lawrence, “WHOA.”

There also seems to be an overwhelming sense of “what once was” occurring in advertising and marketing today which is creating a little bit of pop culture nostalgia. Rather than utilizing pop culture from today’s world, marketers are looking at pop culture of the past, thus creating a sense of nostalgia among us all.

In a recent AdWeek article, I read that marketers are shifting gears and rather than going after millennials, they have their eyes set on post-millennials. Evidently, these groups of 9 to 11 year olds are the decision makers of the household and are crazy tech savvy with their iPhones and iPads. In hopes of finding relevant ways to appeal to them, marketers are looking at pop culture that appealed to millennials back in the day and are bringing it back. And while marketers are busy trying to relate to tweens, they are widely creating a sense of pop culture nostalgia with their advertising among both young adults and adults alike. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and its noodle genuineness not only thought it would be a great idea to bring back Ninja Turtle pasta shapes, but with the help of Vanilla Ice, they brought us 25- to 35-year olds back to a happy place when Vanilla uttered the lyrics, “Go Ninja, go Ninja, GO!” in their recent television commercial which comically portrays the mother being more excited about the pasta than her tween.

Let’s forget about the past and shift gears back to current pop culture in advertising and marketing and talk about zombies. Who isn’t obsessed with them right now? Am I right?! There’s popular shows like The Walking Dead, movies like World War Z and they have been on the top of everyone’s Halloween costume idea list for the past few years. We recognized the zombie pop culture when developing print ad for our client, FMC Professional Solutions. The purpose of the ad was to promote a series of herbicides that worked underground to inhibit reproductive structures of weeds so that each year golf course superintendents and lawn care operators would see fewer of these weeds each season. Rather than brand the effect these products have on the weeds, we branded the problem – the weeds themselves. Because these weeds are relentless and came up year after year, they are in a sense zombies…or rather ZOMBIE WEEDS. They just don’t die. From trade shows and print ads to online and social media, we seized the zombie pop culture phenomena and promoted ZOMBIE WEEDS everywhere!

Zombie Weeds Print Ad

Kathleen Battin

I have a male cat named Bella. My response to people’s reaction is, “To me, he is beautiful.” But truth is, I was told he was a girl when I first got him and it wasn’t until months later when my brother said, “Your cat has a package,” that I found out my Bella was a Bell ... o? Aside from my confused cat, I am also a new mommy to a handsome baby boy, and as a new mom, I have learned three valuable lessons: 1. Always have a burp cloth handy. 2. Make sure the diaper is properly secured at all times. 3. Mom is always a phone call away if you are having a freak-out moment.