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Kill a walker, chug a Mountain Dew? Walking Dead is testing out product placement. Yes, really.
Do the Dew! What pairs well with the zombie apocalypse? A refreshing bottle or can of Mountain Dew, of course! According to a new report from Variety, AMC's The Walking Dead is exploring a brand partnership with the PepsiCo-owned soda. The fizzy green product will appear in this weekend's episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond in both appearance and scripted lines of dialogue.
"This is definitely something that we love doing and want to do more across this universe," Kim Granito, AMC Networks’ Senior VP of Integrated Marketing, told Variety, adding that any real-world product introduced into the expanding mythos "needs to be authentic to that world."
The only other product placement seen throughout the series was a a kiwi-green Hyundai Tucson that was written out before Season 5 of TWD. "While we had a great run with The Walking Dead, the plot of the show changed and moved in such a way that the car ceased to have a role,” David Matathia, Director of Marketing Communications at Hyundai," said at the time.
For Mountain Dew's entrance into the IP, Huck (Annet Mahendru) will surprise Felix (Nico Tortorella) with a bottle of the soda with a label from around 2010, offering some possible context on when the Walker-pocalypse ifrst began. The origins surrounding the zombie outbreak have always remained rather vague, which allows fans to come up with their own theories, while fearing the ambiguities of a pathogen that's not fully understood. That sentiment is more relevant than ever in the age of COVID-19 when it seems like new things are being discovered about the virus every week.
"We believe this integration sits at the nexus of both — Walking Dead is a highly anticipated show that remains a part of pop culture and conversation,” Nicole Portwood, VP of Marketing for PepsiCo's Mountain Dew business, told Variety. "We believe the way the brand is shown in the episode will resonate with fans of the brand as well as the general audience."
Also speaking with the trade outlet, Scott Collins (former president of national ad sales at AMC Networks) explained that product placement is difficult when it comes to The Walking Dead because there's no electricity at the end of the world. As such, you can't really feature electronic gadgets in an organic way. The network did consider a brand partnership for a flashback sequence to when the Walkers first started taking over, but the idea was scrapped. With the recent news of Hilarie Burton Morgan being cast as Lucille (Negan's late wife), the idea could certainly be revisited.
World Beyond is the second spinoff series from the main show after Fear the Walking Dead. The new project, which follows a group of young people who have been raised in a fortified community away from the zombie-infested outside world, is only running as a limited series.