Zombies are taking over pop culture. Movies, comics, TV shows…you name it…our screens and shelves are filled with images and stories of zombie attacks and disease spreading incidents. The Zombie culture is even being used by non-profit agencies to garner the public’s attention to more serious matters.
…A predictive date of destruction, elaborate re-enactments, government references, so-called ‘experts’ in the field…research, forensics, front liners…an elaborate ‘mockumentary’ to say the least. However, does this biopic do more to petrify than prepare?
The use of this documentary was part of a risk campaign by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to promote emergency preparedness. http://emergency.cdc.gov/socialmedia/zombies.asp
The website itself http://www.cdc.gov/ contains much useful information, and used the Zombie Apocalypse documentary as a hook…cleverly done; but how effective is the use of social media satire in this context?
How can we use social media and pop culture as an avenue for communicating risk to the general public? How effective is satire and humour in educating our youth of potential disease and disaster? While social media is a ‘free’ system for sending information viral in an instant, do the pros outweigh the cons?
If we think about our potential audience – who is going to view the film? Will they see it as satire? Will it create panic of pandemic proportions? How effective is it in raising risk awareness? Will it result in more informed and prepared civilians?
In their article CDC’s Use of Social Media and Humor in a Risk Campaign, Fraustino and Ma discuss “the tension between awareness and behavioural-based campaign success” (Fraustino, J.D, & Ma, L., (2015) CDC's Use of Social Media and Humor in a Risk Campaign—“Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse”, Journal of Applied Communication Research, 43:2, 222-241, DOI: 10.1080/00909882.2015.1019544)
This article is definitely worth a read and opened my eyes to the world of advertising and pop culture.