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The Zombie Apocalypse and the CDC

I have an unhealthy interest in zombies. I think it started with watching the Walking Dead this past fall. I have had real discussions about my zombie attack plan of action. (It changes depending on where I am at the time and whether we are dealing with the kind that like water or don’t.) But what does this have to do with the CDC? Well, a few weeks ago the CDC decided to take advantage of everyone’s love or irrational fear of zombies. They actually dedicated an entire page to preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Yes, that’s right. Real life zombies.

The posting has been so popular—more than 30,000 hit in three days—that it crashed the CDC’s servers. Dave Daigle, the Associate Director for Communications at the preparedness and response division explained that the strategy behind the page was to spark interest emergency preparedness.

What better way to connect with people and make emergency preparedness cool than by relating it to something like zombies?

I think this was a perfect example of an organization that could be seen as stale capitalizing off a meme that spans generations. They did it in a smart way, using Twitter and its blog to reach a new audience.

Of course, the hallmark of a good stunt is if there is measurable changes.

Ten days later (get it, like 28 days later?) the zombies were followed by hurricanes. Hopefully, the strategy paid off and people paid attention to the CDC’s recommendations.


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