Want your messages to resonate with audiences, especially young people?
The public is fascinated by these perennial favorites of the horror genre. Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) underscored this idea during a webinar in which it touted Zombies as a highly effective way to grab the public’s attention.
FEMA’s Danta Randazzo told the people tuning in
“Zombie-preparedness messages and activities have proven to be an effective way of engaging new audiences, particularly young people who are not familiar with what to do before, during or after a disaster. It’s also a great way to grab attention and increase interest in general.”
The key example to which Randazzo referred comes from Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which enlisted zombies as part of a public information campaign last May
. In an outrageously popular blog post, CDC explained the steps it would take if zombies began roaming the streets. The point was to draw attention to the importance of disaster preparedness kits.
At the time, CDC tapped into the Zeitgeist
; Zombies had infiltrated television (with AMC’s “The Walking Dead”), film, publishing, and video games. (In fact, a report from last October
said zombies are worth more than $5 billion to the U.S. economy.)
And that was part of FEMA’s message last week: To get the most mileage, tie your public awareness program into pop culture.
Some have questioned this approach. As Gawker
“Of course, this could all backfire—too many zombie awareness campaigns and the next national disaster will be followed by a bunch of vigilantes taking up arms against their ‘undead’ neighbors. But they'll also have an emergency kit with food and water, so maybe it's worth a little zombie panic?”
So there is that worry.
Either way, the undead helped FEMA pulled off a PR coup by attracting serious media coverage for a webinar on crisis preparedness. And with October being Zombie Preparedness Month
(in Kansas), you can get in the action, too.