The public really, really, really likes zombies these days. Once eschewed by almost all but the most dedicated, resolute gore hounds, the undead are popping up everywhere. AMC’s The Walking Dead continues, inexplicably, to grow in popularity with damn near every episode. You can also find rotting corpses shilling big name products including automobiles, fruit flavored candy, and cell phones. That last one at least makes a little bit of sense if you’ve seen Return of the Living Dead, that scene where the zombie gets on the radio and says, “Send more cops,” shows that some incarnations have the manual dexterity to work a device like a telephone. Zombies even got their very own romantic comedy this year, with Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies. In one of the stranger marketing moves you’ll ever witness, a Bay Area community college has tapped flesh eating ghouls to be their new spokesmonster.
Badass Digest snapped a picture of a peculiar bus ad for Foothill College which sits just between Palo Alto and San Jose. The photograph shows a young woman in zombie make up and a scowl, clawing her way towards you, with the message, “Like the zombie apocalypse, we’ll feed your brain.” Zombies and education are not necessarily the estranged bedfellows you might initially expect. Schools have offered classes that revolve around the undead, they’ve been used to teach survival skills, and the CDC has even employed the walking dead as way of informing the public of potential dangers, like infectious diseases and pandemics. This is, as far as I’m aware, that institutions of higher learning have used zombies to bolster enrollment.
Most of my life I’ve been fascinated by all things zombie, from the Haitian voodoo origins to George Romero’s brain-munching shufflers, and even a few of the fast-moving variety. I won’t bore with you theories or preferences or any of that nonsense, but my entire left arm is taken up by a tattoo of zombies tearing down the Seattle skyline. This, however, likely signals the death knell of the genre (okay, maybe that was the Starburst commercial, but this is certainly another big ass nail in the coffin).
I really wish I could have been in the room when someone pitched this idea, it’s very obviously done by someone with no idea about zombie other than they’re popular. First off, they got it wrong; zombies definitely don’t “feed your brain.” Feed on, definitely, but I seriously doubt that’s what they were going for, and if so, who would want to go to that school? And how well did they really expect this advertising campaign to work? This is one of those situations where you wonder how many people this idea had to go through, how many versions of the add they had to make, and how many opportunities someone, anyone, had to say, “Hey, guys, maybe this is a shitty idea.” This is seriously like something you’d see on Community, not something you should see in real life.
Well, we’ve had fun, zombies. It’s been a wild ride, but I think we’re done with you. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.