‘Dead’ Walking to Retail With Mountain Dew Augmented Reality App

Mountain Dew sees a lot more life in The Walking Dead.

The PepsiCo soft-drink brand and TV’s top-rated show are launching an augmented reality promotion leading into the Oct. 22 launch of The Walking Dead’s season 8 premiere, which will mark the AMC series’ 100th episode.

Fans of the zombie drama will be able to download an app that will allow them to interact with some of the well-known Walkers from popular episodes. The app will also let users capture more Walkers while watching the series and by visiting Mountain Dew retail locations.

Related: Amazon Inks Deal With ‘Walking Dead’ Creator Robert Kirkman

The images from those encounters can be shared via social media.

At the same time The Walking Dead will be promoted on more than 100 million Mountain Dew products in stores and on in-store displays. Limited edition Mountain Dew packaging will feature key characters from the series, including Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus).

The sponsorship is part of a multi-million advertising deal that includes ads on all of AMC Networks' channels.

AMC Networks’ ad revenues have shot up since The Walking Dead became a ratings monster. And while the show’s ratings have declined from their peaks, Scott Collins, president of ad sales for AMC Networks, said the show has retained its vitality in the marketplace.

“Its dominance over the top broadcast show has never been greater,” said Collins, noting that among 18 to 49 year olds, The Walking Dead’s ratings beat the No. 1 entertainment series on the broadcast networks by 50%.

Collins said Mountain Dew has not advertised on The Walking Dead before because soft-drinks usually try to scare up sales in the summer and the Walking Dead has mainly aired in other seasons.

“This brand has some strong initiatives that they wanted for the fourth quarter and they really loved the augmented reality app opportunity,” Collins said.

“We’re excited about this partnership with Mountain Dew because it is very fan-based, fan-focused and gives the passionate viewer something really fun and unique,” he said.

The promotion came to life after AMC answered a request for proposal from PepsiCo last year, said Melissa Wasserman, senior VP of client solutions and integrated marketing at AMC Networks.

“We are always looking to form partnerships that will deliver one-of-a-kind experiences to Dew Nation,” said Chauncey Hamlett, senior director of marketing for Mountain Dew. “By partnering with AMC and the incredibly successful ‘The Walking Dead series, we’re bringing together two of the most passionate fan bases in the country. We’re excited to give fans the opportunity to collect limited edition Mountain Dew products featuring iconic show characters, and unlock new walkers each week with the augmented reality app.”

During the eight-week sponsorship, which will cover the first half of season 8, AMC and Mountain Dew will be creating co-branded short-form content that will air during The Walking Dead to explain how the app works, she said.

At certain points in the show, viewers will be able to use the app to capture walkers. Other walkers will be available to be captured at Mountain Dew retail locations. Once captured, the walkers can be posed in pictures or programmed to "attack" the user.

“The whole experience is kind of circular in the sense that we drive to show, people watch the spot, get a walker, which drives back to store to get a different walker,” Wasserman said. “They’re sharable and postable on social media. Social is a big part of it. And above all it is particularly fun. We want the experience to be something the] fan gets a unique turnkey quick experience out of.”

AMC has done branded content deals with TheWalking Dead before, and several brands have done creative for the show using zombie-based theme. Collins said that during the fourth quarter, the Mountain Dew campaign will be the big one.

“It’s not your typical this brought to you by,” he said. “It’s somewhat addicting.”

The app got a bit of a preview at the San Diego Comic Con. At the AMC event, visitors got samples of Mountain Dew drinks and were able tin interact with the app and post their videos and photos.

There were also some early examples of the Walking Dead-themed Mountain Dew packaging, and people wanted to take that, Collins recalled.

Collins expects the promotion to generate a lot of attention.

“I think it’s going to create a lot of excitement and enthusiasm and engagement for not only our brand but for Mountain Dew,” he said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.