- AMC Networks and Mountain Dew, the PepsiCo brand that's the No. 4 carbonated soft drink in the U.S., partnered to promote the upcoming season of "The Walking Dead" with an augmented realty (AR) mobile app. "The Walking Dead Encounter," which overlays digital images of zombies on the real world using a smartphone camera, lets fans see zombies in real-world environments and share the interactions on social media, according to a press release by the drink company.
- The campaign will include "The Walking Dead" branding on more than 100 million Mountain Dew products in stores nationwide. Fans can unlock the AR app by scanning specialized packaging featuring images of main characters Sheriff Rick Grimes, Michonne and Daryl Dixon.
- The AR app is now available for iOS and Android devices, and the branded soda products will hit stores leading up to season eight's premiere on October 22.
Once the new season of "The Walking Dead" begins, viewers can unlock new "walkers" during live episodes of the show each week when Mountain Dew commercials appear. This directly connects the live show experience to the mobile game, giving it an additional "second screen" advantage when it comes to engagement. As second-screen viewing becomes an entrenched activity, this effort reflects how marketers are looking to take their strategies to the next level through gaming and AR.
"The Walking Dead" has been one of most popular dramatic TV series over the past several years, including being No. 1 among viewers 18 to 49 since 2012, per the press release. That makes its demographic highly desirable for brands like Mountain Dew that aim to reach young adults, especially those in the cohort who frequently use mobile tech and social media.
The AR app is just the latest in a series of the soda brand's recent moves to embrace mobile and social sponsorships. In July, Mountain Dew sponsored a chatbot featuring NBA star Russell Westbrook that answered fan questions on Facebook Messenger. Last year, the company rolled out a section on its website that featured virtual reality videos of extreme sports.
AMC and Mountain Dew's latest app is separate from an AR-based game the cable network previewed last month as part of a peek into the AR capabilities of Apple's next operating system, which is due for release next week. "The Walking Dead: Our World" app shows smartphone users hordes of virtual zombies that can be fought with guns, swords, grenades and other weapons.