Matthias Puschmann is the Managing Director of VAST MEDIA, a media research and consulting company based in Berlin that provides international television industry leaders with qualitative competitive market analysis of digital entertainment and content marketing.
As season six of "The Walking Dead" returned to AMC on October 11, 2015, the zombie-fever also reached Germany. German broadcaster RTL2 premiered the fifth season on October 31st, after airing a marathon of all previous four seasons, German pay-TV channel FOX showed the first episode of the sixth season on October 12th, only 24 hours after the debut on US television. To promote their zombie-infected programming, the two networks teamed up to launch the extensive online and social media marketing campaign 'The Stalking Dead', which was developed by Berlin-based creative agency DOJO.
The networks initially distributed a video titled 'The Ultimate Zombie Prank Compilation' across their social media channels (see above). The video parodies the circulating viral videos of zombie pranks and in the end refers to the series' premiere dates and the microsite thestalkingdead.de.
Fans that follow the link and visit the site have the option to 'infect' the Instagram and Twitter accounts of their friends by simply typing in the corresponding account names in the dedicated fields provided. Immediately afterwards, the 'infected' Instagram and Twitter accounts are followed by up to eight new zombie-accounts that have been specially created for the campaign.
Each Instagram zombie-account features nine images that are arranged in such a way that they form an overall picture, revealing detailed information on the series' launch and referring to the thestalkingdead.de site.
The microsite also features further shareable content such as zombie-inspired memes. The initial promotional video, which has generated almost 3,000 clicks after its upload on October 12, is also embedded.
Moreover, the microsite includes a gallery showcasing images that have been uploaded onto Instagram with the hashtag #TheStalkingDead. At the end, the premiere dates are pointed out again and users have the option to share the site on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.