By Scott Leffler
The Tonawanda News
— It seems as though the military industrial complex has agreed with the Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control that zombies are the next big thing.
This past Sunday, it was announced that security firm HALO Corp. will train members of the military, police departments, the medical community and government employees on the inner workings — and how to deal with — a zombie apocalypse, according to media reports.
The annual counter-terrorism summit will use the zombie metaphor as a humorous means of dealing with real-life problems like disease, mass hysteria, riots and panic. The location of the summit will feature zombies harassing troops and first-aid teams cleaning up.
The Military Times, which first broke the story, made sure to point out that zombies are not real. Hmm. I can’t help but wonder whether they were told to say that. Especially since the CDC made it a point to state a few months ago that zombies weren’t real — during a period of some incredibly bizarre stories that happened right here on American soil.
As I said previously, it’s somewhat refreshing to see government “get it” and attempt to use something viral (pun intended) like zombies to actually create interest in a campaign.
The Department of Homeland Security — in somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek announement — reported earlier this month that “the zombies are coming” in an effort to get citizens to prepare for a real disaster.
The CDC — prior to stating that zombies weren’t real — had a public campaign using the zombie apocalypse as a background for getting the American people prepared for actual disasters.
Yes, the counter-terrorism summit sounds intriguing. And this from a guy who is vehemently opposed to the military industrial complex. So the PR people and marketing nerds must really be doing their job well. Either that or my affinity for flesh eaters is unhealthy.
Still, I can’t help but wonder if this zombie phenomenon within the U.S. government is dumbing down the message so much that it’s getting completely lost — like a commercial that you absolutely love but have no idea what the product is that they’re pitching.
Is it really possible that the federal government is too cool for its own good? I mean, afterall, we want those eggheads to be eggheads, right?
For me, the most famous government campaign ever was a 1987 Partnership for a Drug-Free America campaign that featured a father confronting his son about drug use, to which the kid retorted (everyone who’s seen it already knows), “I learned it by watching you.”
It was, by far, the corniest commercial of my generation. But it got the message across. And 25 years later, I remember it clear as day.
Will the same be true with the current trend of zombie-related government programs? Hard to tell. But at least they’re trying.
Scott Leffler would make a tasty zombie snack because he has braiiiiiiins. Follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.