Flesh-Munching Zombies Can Fuel Your PR Campaign

It can be incredibly hard for PR pros to be creative.

We all have these grand ideas for the next viral video or unique ways to use new technology to tell our client’s story. But when we sit down to put those ideas in motion, we get bogged down by the minutiae that can plague our industry — time entry, six rounds of approvals, etc. — and our creative juices stop flowing.

It’s frustrating.

For a profession that prides ourselves on being creative, we sure are an extremely process-driven bunch, aren’t we?  So aggravating.

Sometimes it seems like a small miracle that we get to actually implement an idea here and there.

But fear not, fair readers. (All 17 of you.) There is a shining beacon of creativity that should give all of us hope for a better, more creative future.

And it’s the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

*record scratch*

Yep. The CDC.

Last May, they revealed “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.” It was an emergency preparedness guide taken to the next level.

With their tongue firmly planted in their cheek, the guide explained why it’s crucial to be prepared in the event of a zombie apocalyptic scenario, even going so far as to cite the Bible of surviving a zombie attack.

Oh, yeah: They also shared tips on how to prepare for real emergencies, too.

It was a brilliant PR strategy.

Emergency preparedness guides are boring.

Emergency preparedness guides with a pop culture twist are much more entertaining (and readable.)

(I’m not going to lie to you: I wish I’d thought of this.)

What really blew me away was the fact that a government agency would allow this idea to see the light of day. We think of large corporations and government entities as being dry and “by the book.” This was neither, which is probably why it got picked up by mainstream outlets.

To take it to the next level, they even released a graphic novel in October, just in time for NY Comic Con. A neat (and logical) next step in their continuing campaign to prepare people for emergencies.


This initiative proves that you don’t have to be a small, nimble agency to pull off a surprising PR campaign.

If it’s a good idea and fits the overall goals of the initiative, it can be done.

So the next time you find yourself doubting your idea before it has been presented, because you think it will be shot down, take heart.

And think about zombies.