Making the threat of zombie walkers relevant to young people was critical to the launch of the new series of The Walking Dead in New Zealand. With the attention span of 18-25 year old males known to be generally confined to what's right in front of them, the strategy was to bring the Walking Dead horde to New Zealand.
The challenge was to create a one-to-one digital relationship between the audience and the Walkers, so what better platform to do it on than via a dating app? That’s why, for the first time in the world, Tinder was chosen as the media channel to launch a TV series.
Zombie Walkers were placed in an environment where the audience would least expect them. Using location-based dating app Tinder, profiles for beautiful young ladies were created and then connected with as many guys as possible. The girls started a dialogue with anyone who matched with them, but over time it was revealed that they weren't all they appeared to be. Using TV quality make-up, the girls' profile pictures were gradually changed out as they decayed to become Walkers. The conversation changed from being friendly and slightly flirty to being outrageously zombie-esque, culminating in a reveal that drove to the launch episode of TV2's The Walking Dead.
Of the guys contacted through the campaign, 87% actively engaged with the Walkers. #TV2WalkingDead trended before the first show and they won the time slot with twice as many 18-25 males watching TV2 as rival channel TV3, which aired competitive programming aimed at the same market.
This campaign was lauded by the leading global creative industry magazine Contagious as an “imaginative execution” and great example of “platform hacking”. They went on to say that “…as a media strategy reaching The Walking Dead’s target audience of young men through Tinder was a stroke of genius.”