Back from the dead: 5 brands join forces to celebrate ‘The Walking Dead’ finale

    • Maximum Effort, the production company and digital marketing agency founded by Ryan Reynolds, brought five brands together to air a series of commercials during the series finale of the AMC show, “The Walking Dead” Sunday, per a press release.
    • The ads for Autodesk, Deloitte, DoorDash, MNTN and Ring, featured four characters who died over the course of the show’s 11-season run. All five commercials were shot in two days. In addition to Maximum Effort, AMC Networks Content Room and Kimmelot’s Dan Sanborn also worked on the collaboration.
    • “The Walking Dead” has proven to be a cultural touchstone, drawing in 15 to 17 million same-day viewers at its peak. While the 177 episode zombie apocalypse show waned in popularity over time, the five-brand collaboration speaks to the lingering relevance of linear TV and its potential for reach a wide audience.

    The collaboration between Autodesk, Deloitte, DoorDash, Ring and MTN, of which Reynolds services as chief creative officer, resulted in a series of funny advertisements featuring fan favorites, including Milton Mamet (Dallas Roberts), Andrea Harrison (Laurie Holden), Rodney (Joe Ando-Hirsh) and Gareth (Andrew West). Each of the five spots were composed with a similar playful tone and spooky ambiance, nodding to style of “The Walking Dead.” 

    In one spot, a decapitated zombie version of Rodney holds his finger in his mouth in an effort to order from Doordash, highlighting the every day essentials that he can shop for. Another spot highlighted Milton Mamet and Autodesk’s software, which can help make vital tools like a grunt-powered door handle perfect for zombies who can’t use their hands. The spot pulled inspiration from Ted Talks, instead with the background reading “Ded.” The Autodesk tie-up marks the first commercial for the company in its lifetime, per details shared with Marketing Dive, and arrives a few months after the appointment of its CMO Dara Treseder, the former marketing head for Peloton.

    A third spot features character Gareth in an advertisement for Ring, highlighting how “relentless” humans are when it comes to dropping in for an unexpected visit. The fourth spot positions character Andrea Harrison as the “chief brain officer” of Deloitte in a recruitment push. A final spot highlighted MNTN Performance TV and its capabilities, with Harrison appearing again and crediting her knowledge of the brand to eating Reynolds’ brain.

    “It was great partnering with Maximum Effort on this epic partner showcase. Content Room’s unique access to the zombie apocalypse and its millions of living fans is one of the many ways we can contextually bring a brand to life,” said Kim Granito, executive vice president of Content Room and integrated marketing for AMC Networks in a press statement. 

    Despite linear TV giving way to other forms of entertainment such as streaming and connected TV (CTV), landmark shows such as “The Walking Dead” have proven to be valuable advertising outlets. Brands such as Coors Banquet, owned by Molson Coors, have found success in shows such as ‘Yellowstone’ through both product placement and collaborations.


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