The final commercial of the ‘Walking Dead’ series revives old characters to make new announcements

By | November 22, 2022

Killing someone in the AMC series “The Walking Dead” is tough. Doing so often requires a powerful blow to the brain. The job got more complicated on Sunday with a little help from Madison Avenue.

Four veteran characters from the series’ more than 177 episodes returned Sunday night, but not in an episode — the last in the dystopian program’s original 11-season run. Instead, viewers saw cameos from four old characters, all brought to life by the original cast who portrayed them during commercials from advertisers who weren’t among the series’ top sponsors.

At one point, Gareth, an old enemy of the Walking Dead heroes from the Amazon Ring, tries to fend off the lawyers at the gate. “I would literally choose death — again,” he tells viewers. In another, Andrea, once played by Lori Holden, tells viewers how consulting firm Deloitte gathers the “big, brightest and juiciest minds” to help clients tackle their “toughest challenges.” Both characters appear as they were when they left the series: Dead (but eager to talk about their assigned productions).

“Advertising can still be about talking and being fun,” said George Davey, co-founder of Maximum Effort, which is partly controlled by actor Ryan Reynolds and packs advertisers and commercials on Sunday night’s finale. “It just takes a lot more work.” DoorDash, Autodesk and ad technology company MTN have joined the effort, including Reynolds on the senior leadership team.

TV networks typically do not like to give control of their advertising material to third parties. Such an idea has been floated for years by media agencies seeking to “program” commercial breaks in ways that prevent viewers from tuning in when their favorite shows are interrupted. During the finale of “The Walking Dead,” the top effort executives believed the show would encourage conversation, and wanted to find a way to engage some of its customers in the chat.

The agency approached AMC a few months ago, according to Kim Granito, AMC’s executive vice president who oversees integrated marketing and the company’s content division, Studio. The top effort was “creatively harnessing what has made this show meaningful over the past ten years,” she said in an interview. “Fans will be shocked when they see this invention.”

Some marketers may have done the same. The maximum effort, which finished the commercials days ago, shot all the locations in a compressed two-day period, Davey said. Customers who cannot adapt to the program will not be able to participate. High Effort has developed a reputation for bringing in trending advertising concepts with popular culture. To make them work, the agency needs to design them quickly, the concept of Div says “rapid adoption”. Move too slowly, he says, and the ads lose their relevance and relevance. “Each client is shot for three or four hours,” he says of the “Dead” ads.

AMC wanted at least $200,000 for 30 seconds, according to a person familiar with the location. That may mark a heyday from the streak — a series of 30-second ads ran more than half a million times in 2015 — but it’s above the average for the same ad period at the end of a recent cycle. rooms. In the year The average cost of a 30-second ad in the final episodes of “Walking Dead” hovers around $100,000 in 2021 and 2020, according to ad spend tracker Standard Media Index.

The Maximum Effort Plan is bringing unusual advertisers to the “Walking Dead” list. The series’ top sponsors in 2021 and 2020 were Apple, Capital One, GeeCo, Samsung and Rocket Mortgage, according to ad spend regulator Kantar. Marketers have put $37.9 million behind the series by 2021, Kantar estimates.

Deloitte has not relied heavily on television advertising in the past, but saw the “Dead” finale as a “great opportunity to introduce ourselves to people who don’t know who we are or what we do,” said Susan Kunkel, the company’s chief marketing officer. In an interview. Deloitte hopes that the most difficult but exciting position for job seekers will be to track whether the company is looking for a diverse workforce and whether the business will motivate them to apply. The company got the opportunity through another venture it had with Reynolds, she said.

The unique advertising trick at the end of the series is a recent advertising twist provided by “The Walking Dead.” Over the years, the show has tried to work with advertisers. The series takes place in an era where a plague that turns people into zombies has eroded most forms of civilization, so producers are reluctant to let advertisers get their products into the show.

However, AMC accepted commercials such as Microsoft that made commercials with zombie themes that were specifically made to appear in the series. And occasionally, producers manage to weave the product of advertisers into the plot, as they did with the kiwi-green Hyundai Tucson or PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew.

“Advertisers who are willing to lean into the nature of the show have reaped the rewards,” Granito said.

Category: tv

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