4 Walking Dead Characters Came Back as Zombies in Ads During the Series Finale

Maximum Effort, AMC collaborate on fun stunt with five brands

The Walking Dead may have outstayed its welcome a little on AMC, but the show got a fun sendoff during the advertising breaks of last night's series finale—thanks to a playful stunt, devised by the agency Maximum Effort, that saw four characters who died during the show's run return as zombies in spots for five different brands.

"Ads should be fun," Ryan Reynolds, founder of Maximum Effort, said in a statement. "The Walking Dead has generated more cultural conversation over the last decade than any other property and we wanted to honor that by bringing a few characters back from the dead in some fun contextual ads." 

Reynolds and his agency recruited four brands to be part of the stunt—Autodesk, Deloitte, DoorDash and Ring. A fifth spot promoted MNTN, the connected TV performance marketing platform where Reynolds serves as CCO.

Check out the five spots here:

The Walking Deadvertising

Yes, that was Rodney (played by Joe Ando-Hirsh), Milton (Dallas Roberts), Gareth (Andrew West) and Andrea (Laurie Holden) getting reanimated to pitch their respective brands. Maximum Effort worked with AMC Networks' Content Room as well as Kimmelot's Dan Sanborn on the campaign.

"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, EVP of Content Room and integrated marketing for AMC Networks. "We know TWD fans will love the creativity and seeing some of their favorite characters come (back) to life through these imaginative spots."

"Ads can be a part of the cultural conversation as they once so frequently were. They just need a little more love, attention and mischief," adds Reynolds.

Getting multiple brands behind a single—and this case, very unique—concept is no small task. Past examples include "It's a Tide Ad" from the 2018 Super Bowl (in which Old Spice, Budweiser and Mr. Clean agreed to appear in a Tide campaign) and ITV's "Get Britain Talking" campaign from 2019 (in which Dunelm, Oral-B, Gillette, SEAT and Network Rail all agreed to run silent ads in a single break).

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. He is the former creative editor of Adweek.

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