Bin Laden Kill Causes ‘Zombie’ Campaign to Include Paid Media

zombieitisIn the days leading up to May 1, Better Sleep Council was planning to push its fun-oriented “Stop Zombieitis” website by leveraging earned media via social sites like Facebook and Twitter. There would be no paid ads. But then the Osama bin Laden kill by the U.S. Navy Seals consumed the national conversation, and the trade organization’s team immediately started rethinking the budget for its larger “May Is Better Sleep Month” initiative.

“Because we were up against the Bin Laden news, we decided to reallocate some monies and put more towards advertising,” said Karin Mahoney, spokesperson for International Sleep Products Association, which runs the Better Sleep Council in Washington, DC.

In short, Better Sleep Council – a nonprofit supported by mattress manufacturers – did not want its efforts to get lost in the tidal wave of bin Laden-related news for the first half of May. So it scraped together a modest $5,000 to drive traffic to the site, which plays off the Zombie Awareness Society’s claim that May is “Zombie Awareness Month.”

It has spent approximately $4,000 so far. On Facebook, Better Sleep Council has spent $2,500 on ads targeting a variety of profile attributes: people who “liked” zombie-themed movies like “Shaun of the Dead”; women interested in nutrition/health; those who had shown a predilection for technology issues; and 26-to-45-year-olds living in metro areas. Last week, Better Sleep Council purchased roughly $1,000 worth of Google AdWords. In addition, Better Sleep Council will be giving away five $100 gift cards to people who register for a contest on the microsite.

Pure, a 60-person agency based in Columbia, MO, developed the microsite, bought the ads, and has been leveraging social media efforts in the name of Better Sleep Council. They’ve also created a “Cure Zombieitis” YouTube video the team hopes goes viral on Friday, which they’ve dubbed “Stop Zombieitis Day”. It follows up on a video (see below) launched at the beginning of the campaign.

“From Midnight on Thursday until Midnight on Friday, we are going to be on social media constantly to promote ‘Stop Zombieitis Day’ and the microsite,” said Emily Eldridge, SVP at Pure. “This is a grass-roots effort, and we will continue to target niche groups throughout the year with the same message, but slightly altering the microsite as we go.”

Eldridge added that the paid media of the past two weeks is creating earned media traffic to StopZombieitis.com. “Since Monday, we’ve seen a dramatic uptick from Facebook and Twitter clickthroughs,” she said. “We’ve had a ton of clickthroughs from Reddit, as well.”

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