It’s the end of an era at AMC as The Walking Dead aired its final episode after 11 seasons tonight—but some of the finale’s biggest surprises came during the show’s ad breaks.
That’s because four Walking Dead characters who died over the show’s 12-year run were resurrected—as zombies—in five spots that aired during the program. AMC Networks’ Content Room partnered with Ryan Reynolds’ production company Maximum Effort to create that ads for Autodesk, Deloitte, Door Dash, MNTN and Ring.
“Ads should be fun,” said Reynolds in a statement. “The Walking Dead has generated more cultural conversation over the last decade than any other property and we wanted to honor that by bringing a few characters back from the dead in some fun contextual ads. We were blown away by the total support of AMC Networks’ Content Room and the willingness to be untraditional shown by Autodesk, Deloitte, DoorDash and Ring. I would also say MNTN but that one was easier since I control that budget! Ads can be a part of the cultural conversation as they once so frequently were. They just need a little more love, attention and mischief.”
The campaign brought back zombified Walking Dead characters Milton Mamet (played by Dallas Roberts), Andrea Harrison (Laurie Holden), Rodney (Joe Ando-Hirsh) and Gareth (Andrew West). Maximum Effort and the Content Room shot all five commercials in two days across two locations.
“It was great partnering with Maximum Effort on this epic partner showcase. Content Room’s unique access to the zombie apocalypse and its millions of living fans is one of the many ways we can contextually bring a brand to life,” said Kim Granito, evp of Content Room and integrated marketing for AMC Networks, in a statement. “We know TWD fans will love the creativity and seeing some of their favorite characters come (back) to life through these imaginative spots.”
The Autodesk spot features Roberts as Mamet, a zombie researcher working to create a tool for walkers to open door handles. “Now nothing can stop us, except stairs. Those are tough,” he said, in character.
Deloitte’s creative stars Holden as Andrea Harrison, the company’s chief brain officer, with an interesting recruiting strategy.
In DoorDash’s spot, Ando-Hirsh’s Rodney manages to place an order on the delivery app, leading to a dasher making a risky delivery. “Everything in your neighborhood delivered right to your door. Or pike,” the tagline reads.
MNTN—where Reynolds serves as chief creative officer—opens its spot with a brief appearance from the actor, before flashing back to Holden, who notes that while commercials are fun, getting them on TV can be hard for marketers. She demonstrates MNTN’s software, before quipping that she knows so much about the software because she ate Reynolds’ brain.
In Ring’s ad, West’s character Gareth uses the company’s technology to hide from humans ringing his doorbell.
All five spots were produced by Really Original and directed by Maximum Effort’s Bryan Rowland, with ideation and creative concepts by Maximum Effort.