Season four of The Walking Dead will return to AMC on February 9th, ending a ten-week mid-season hiatus. In order to remind everyone about the show in which fictional zombies scare the crap out of fictional people, AMC has engineered a prank in which real-life zombies scare the crap out of real-life people.
The prank takes place in New York City, which has turned into quite the hotbed of film and TV-based prank marketing stunts. This time, AMC had construction workers open up a subway grate in Union Square, and it proceeded to invite a bunch of participants to dress up in zombie makeup and hide underneath the ground. You can probably guess what happened next.
The prank is the latest iteration of The Walking Dead‘s impressive online video presence. Each new season has also been met with a web companion: Season two had Torn Apart, season three had Cold Storage, and season four had The Oath. Those three series are among the best TV companions ever released on the Internet, and the show’s midseason prank is similarly well-executed.
Meanwhile, the rise of prank marketing continues unabated. The zombie prank has been used extensively as a pre-roll advertisement, and while it hasn’t seen the same viral success as the ‘Devil Baby‘ or the ‘Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise‘, it has garnered some attention. It is also reminder to New Yorkers to stay alert during their commutes; from the looks of it, the streets are filled with carefully engineered jump scares.