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Vampires and Zombies

Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker was an Irish author best known for his Gothic novel ‘Dracula’ published in 1897. His novel about an undead, centuries old Transylvanian nobleman Count Dracula, provided the basis of the popular vampire legend that is still enjoyed today.

The marauding, blood-sucking Prince of Darkness who only feared daylight, garlic and a sign of the crucifix, is said to have inhabited Bran Castle that today is a national monument and tourist landmark in Romania.

Count Dracula has featured in popular culture from movies and TV dramas to advertising commercials for decades. Just about every conceivable brand on the planet has used vampire characters in spoofs at some time. Even Heineken and Kellogg’s.

Here are two of my favourite vampire send–ups.

1. Audi S7, Vampire Party

Advertising Agency: Venables Bell & Partners

Directed by Matthijs Van Heijningen the commercial is single-mindedly focused on Audi’s LED Headlight Technology. It is a very effective dramatisation of the consumer benefit and makes for rewarding viewing.

2. CanalPlay, Vampire

Advertising Agency: Buzzman, Paris, France

CanalPlay is a French video on demand Internet service. Directed by Bart Timmer, this cinematic commercial is brought to life by a stellar performance from John Malkovich as a vampire Bank Manager who seems to have overcome any problems of operating during daylight hours.

George A. Romano

In 1968 George A. Romano produced and directed a horror film, co-written by John A. Russo, called ‘The Night of the Living Dead’. The apocalyptic story is about an outbreak of flesh-eating zombies.

The movie was a runaway success and has become a cult classic. It was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Many ‘Living Dead’ themed movies followed to become a highly popular ‘Movie Genre’ and franchise. The undead has also been an effective theme for many advertising commercials.

3. Brooks Running Footwear, The Rundead

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago

Superbly directed by Bjorn Ruhman, “The Rundead” commercial is a three-minute long zombie parody that very effectively and rewardingly dramatises the brand’s selling proposition.

4. Audi, Zombie Mechanics

Advertising Agency: Thjnk, Hamburg, Germany

Directed by Sebastian Strasser, this dramatic, cinematic commercial builds up to an an epic ending that makes for rewarding viewing.