How the undead can help you win with your target.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

Get your guns, knives, swords and crossbows ready folks because Zombies are everywhere.  We are a culture obsessed with these shambling hordes of the undead.   Just have a look at this chart from Vulture which tracks 20 years of pop culture popularity of Zombies against Vampires and Witches:

Zombie popularity had been lurching towards an upward trend for the past 10 years, escalating in 2008/2009.  And this rise in popularity coinciding with the massive recession is, in fact, not a coincidence.  The CBC reports Clemson University professor Sarah Lauro (who studied zombies while working on her doctoral degree, naturally) believes the zombie phenomenon is not just a random fad but rather “part of a historical trend that mirrors a level of cultural dissatisfaction and economic upheaval.”  Zombie love increases “at times when as a culture we feel disempowered.”

Just look at the world around us: terrorism, cyberattacks, pandemics, climate change, financial crises, global unrest.  Oh the horror!  It’s no wonder we are seeing everything from the flesh-rotting, ultra gruesome zombies in The Walking Dead to the oddly adorable albeit brain-hungry versions in Plants vs. Zombies (that my 5 year old loves).   

Given the ability to track a culture’s mood through zombie popularity, we say forget the Consumer Confidence Index, we give you a new leading indicator…the Zombie Indicator, or the ZI.

So what’s the lesson for those of you with working brains?  Monitor your target’s ZI scores.  If their stress levels are rising like the undead in Thriller, think about what you can do to calm them with a message of hope and optimism.