A Zombie at the Movies for The Walking Dead Season 2



To promote season 2 of The Walking Dead on TopTV’s FX channel, Ireland/Davenport enlisted the help of a zombie to terrorise cinema go-ers while they were being distracted by a fake romantic comedy trailer.


The activation took place over December at selected cinemas nationwide.




Philip Ireland – Executive Creative Director
John Davenport – Executive Creative Director
Natalie Urban – Art Director
George Chen – Copywriter
Yoli Mes – Agency Producer
Lourens Van Rensburg, 7Films – Director
Benjamin Kaufman, 7Films – Producer
Zama Jolobe, Aces Up – Editor
Peter Cornell, Humdrum – Music & Sound Composition



  1. Awesome work. I love it!

  2. "The activation took place over December at selected cinemas nationwide."


    what’s with the comped in laughter?
    i highly doubt that your fake trailer was THAT funny. and did you add in the trailer afterwards? kinda looks like it was done in post?

    Was it?
    Did you guys cheat it?
    you can admit it if you did.

    otherwise it’s a really neat idea to promote something that probably doesn’t need that much promoting.

    i’m sure you’ll get some activation award for it though.

    well done.

  3. just out of interest who benefits out of advertising done for a TV show? is it to boost local ratings? does that kinda thing even matter here?

    i just struggle to see the relevance of advertising a TV show that’s only available on Top TV.
    Surely most people will just download it?

    am i wrong?

  4. Good stuff!

  5. A little too many familiar industry people’s faces planted in that video. Nice idea. Bit scammy.

  6. fuck that fucking cell c banner on the front page.
    why does it activate when i havent rolled over it?
    bad programming?
    its kinda fucking annoying

  7. so..no1 sees the camera man…

  8. Hey Joe – sorry about that we’ll look at getting it fixed/removed.


  10. really? i’ve seen better acting on Isidingo. scam.

  11. As the Marketing Manager at TopTV I am compelled to clarify any confusion or misconceptions about this activation and concept. Ireland Davenport presented the cinema activation as part of a comprehensive national campaign to promote the program “The Walking Dead”, exclusive to TopTV.

    As a young marketer, I’m personally always excited by the impact of how a brand can accentuate its brand benefit through social media and digital platforms. This idea was definitely a winner! Having researched the level of talk-ability that “out of the box” concepts like these encourage and influence – it is important to have young Marketers who sit in positions of influence and authority to support such ideas and concepts. There are so many ideas and activities which creatives and agencies can use to create excitement about their product (eg. The Old Spice viral campaign and the Carlsberg viral campaign).

    It’s disappointing to see such ideas and concepts that are initiated globally are most welcomed in SA but when a proudly South African brand and it’s agency pushes the envelope, the support isn’t there.

    Having said that, this idea was BRILLIANT, OUT OF THE BOX, DIFFERENT and has definitely set us apart in the clutter of the advertising that most broadcasters take on. A brave idea requires CRAZZZYYY agency to present the idea and a BRAVE client to APPROVE the idea.

    I encourage all the creatives to start thinking out of the box and push the envelope and as I personally always say “MESS WITH THE EDGE”. I also encourage all young marketers to stop playing by the rules and “think differently” *for lack of a better term* – look where it got Apple and Steve Jobs.

    #nuff said!

  12. Firstly, are you the BRAVE client that you are talking about?
    Secondly, don’t get upset if other people don’t think you’re clever. as a senior marketing person you should know this.
    Thirdly, you can’t prescribe to people how to digest your promo.
    sure it’s a clever idea.
    the problem is that your case study video looks completely staged, so it’s almost as if your BRILLIANT idea was only seen by the twenty agency people in the cinema. which is what it looks like. and that means that all you have is a clever idea that wasn’t seen by anyone, which means it wasn’t that clever to start with.

  13. I don’t think the idea was to get mass reach through the actual activation – it was more to get reach through the “Viral Video” created out of the activation.

    If it was staged with agency people or actors is irrelevant, it’s the perception of authenticity amongst the audience who are watching the video.

    Either way, so far 3,900 views on the video. Could have bought irritating pop-up banners on 10and5 and reached more people than that 😛

  14. Step 1: Use extra time and budget from your TVC to shoot a trailer
    Step 2: Send an email reminding people at your agency to attend the morning cinema show because you’re filming a “viral”
    Step 3: Film your agency co-workers reacting to stuff in the dark
    Step 4: Drop your trailer into a stills shot of a cinema audience, add a laugh track and screams

  15. Dear, dear tasj

    All arguments aside dear, dear tasj, the fact that Tasj commented under his own name (I assume it’s his) and went out on a limb to embrace a creative philosophy that is sorely needed on in the marketing side of this industry, says rather a lot.

    Firstly, Tasj is clearly BRAVE.
    Secondly, Tasj didn’t come across as being upset.
    Thirdly, it is actually Tasj’s prerogative to prescribe how people digest his promos.

    In the open forums on the internet, it would be more constructive if our opinions were attached to a name or face. Critics of arts, commerce, politics and so on don’t hide behind a pseudonym and back up their opinions with experience. Tasj goes so far as to clarify that he is a “young marketer” probably with little experience, but his response is braver and stronger for it. Once again, hats off to him. This industry needs people like him, dear Tasj.

  16. I dig it. It’s fun. I’ve been waiting for the zombie apocalypse for some time now. Patiently sharpening the blade of my kitana, I wait for my time to unleash. If I was sitting there, that dude would be dead…again.

  17. Well said Anton. I refuse to put my work up to be insulted by pseudonyms and trolls. Maybe time for 10 and 5 to add a log in to be able to comment? Then again, we must always remember, unless it’s a Cannes winning Grand Prix, people will only comment on the negative.

  18. Hey Dean,
    it is definitely something that we are looking at implementing. We have a number of changes we want to roll out to the site, and that’s one of them.
    Thanks for the feedback!

  19. I think anonymous commenting is a good thing.
    Let me tell you why.

    It allows our junior creative minds to give their honest opinion on work without fear of losing out on future job prospects and opportunities. As I’m sure you guys know our industry is a very small one and word travels fast.
    I also believe that anonymous commenting allows for equal debate. And let’s be honest, some work should be discussed as far as relevance and objectivity goes.
    There’s no big names vs. little names.
    All comments can be measured by their content and not just by the gravitas of the name attached to it.
    Anyways, we all know that the best arguments will always rise to the top.
    I’m also pretty sure that the guys at Ireland/Davenport are not losing any sleep over some comments on their work.

    so i would say that more people should be allowed to comment anonymously as everyone has the right to their opinion, even if it isn’t the opinion that you would like to hear. It can only make the work better.

    So if you’re going to be sensitive than you’re probably working in the wrong industry and then by all means, don’t post your stuff on 10&5.

    So for the love of free speech, don’t take away the anonymous commenting as it will most certainly lead to less interaction on your site.

  20. Wow! This dialogue is great, am loving. Just a couple of things:
    1. I am in fact a very proud and BRAVE “SHE” *just had to clarify that*.

    2. It’s actually amazing that one can pick up whether I am upset or not over the internet, in that case – technology is really tapping into my emotions and relaying them on the screen without me knowing *Kanye shrug*.

    3. This activation was a national campaign (WC, KZN and JHB) – like I mentioned on my response. So let’s stick to facts.

    4. Yes, the intention was for it to be distributed viral as part of the entire digital campaign of The Walking Dead.

    I hope you all enjoy the show on TopTV, channel 100 (FX) next week Tuesday.

    Lovely chatting to you.
    Tasj “The She”

  21. Spoiler alert: They all die.

  22. Sam Beckbessinger

    I actually saw this activation on a random Friday night in the cinema (I definitely wasn’t asked to be there). Funnily, when I saw the activation done, no-one in the audience really seemed to understand what was happening (the actor looked like a drunk guy; you couldn’t see his make-up in the dark). There were some laughs when the trailer revealed what was really happening, though, and the incident was surprising and amusing enough that I told a lot of people about it.

    So, overall, maybe the reactions in the video are exaggerated a little, but it’s still a very rad idea that probably got a fair amount of talkability. Go Ireland-Davenport.

  23. Chest Rockwell

    It is highly likely that had this activation come been done for some zombie show on HBO with an agency name such as W+K, Droga5, etc. attached to it, everyone would be raving about it. But because it was done by a local agency for a local broadcaster, people are going all out to trash it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s always a place to critique and analyse a piece of work – but with valid reasons for doing so. Instead, some people here are just spraying wholesale vitriol for no justifiable reason.

    Tasj, props to your agency for coming up with a cool idea for a cool show – and for you having the cojones to actually go with it. It might not have been executed as perfectly as the agency probably imagined it would have (like Sam Beckbessinger said) but it was a rad idea that got people talking I’m sure (again, as Sam Beckbessinger said).

    @Uno: I agree with Brendan Boyd comments about the anonymous commenting. There are trolls from time to time who talk ridiculous amounts of excrement. But there are lots more people with valid and interesting commentary on work that gets put up here. As Brendan says, advertising is a very, very small industry. And if someone says something valid but isn’t necessarily positive about a piece of work, they could be blackballed by that agency group. And we all know how cliquey and such an old boys’ club advertising is. Always has been and probably will be for time to come, unfortunately.

  24. Brandon and Chest… fair enough. Points taken. The right answer lies somewhere between the 2. Maybe log in so 10and5 can moderate user’s behaviour but allow annon comments.

  25. Haters gonna hate.
    This video has almost 600k views.

    Haters can shut up and well done to Tasj and the team for having the balls to stick to your guns.

    I take back my words!

  26. Just to clarify once more, the show actually has 1 137 869 views, GLOBALLY!

    Watch out for The Walking Dead season 3 – coming soon. Only on TopTV!