America Hooked on Zombies—But Why?

Who would have thought pale, flesh-eating monsters would be so engrained in American pop culture?

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Zombies have got everyone talking these days, from lighter Zombie parades and relay races to talks of a zombie apocalypse across the blogosphere, sparked by last month’s brutal cannibal attack in Miami.

So what’s got the country so hooked on the undead?

Cliff Courtney, EVP and chief strategy officer for Zimmerman Advertising, said America as a society loves to “resurrect the dead.” Not in the zombie sense, per se, but as far as trends go, Zimmerman said we need to only look to the past to see what will be popular again the future.

The zombie and vampire craze that has been sweeping the country for the past several years now is just one example.

“Zombies were movie staples in the 1950s and 1960s, and basically everything old is new again,” he said. “We milk something to death and move on.”

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Advanced CGI technology has only made the trend even more popular, Zimmerman said, because today’s zombies look even more real and terrifying, making the representations we see on television and in movies even more fun to watch.

And, as far as participating zombie races and the subculture that is seriously preparing for the zombie apocalypse? Zimmerman said this is all about making things more interesting for consumers. Take running, for example, which can be mundane and repetitive. Throw some zombies and obstacles into a 5K race and you will attract even more runners than you would for a standard race.

“It’s all about how can we make it more interesting,” Zimmerman said.

The same goes for those Zombie energy drinks, a term which Zimmerman attributes to the way sports players are referred to during events as “monsters,” “beasts “and “wicked.”

“Bad guys are powerful and have always been alluring,” he said. “The Darth Vaders, Hannibal Lectors—there’s no surprise there.”