Project Summary

Getting people motivated to be prepared for emergencies can be difficult, but a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stepped outside the box with their zombie preparedness blog resulting in some unprecedented results!

Project Team

Team Members
David Daigle, CDC
Margaret Silver, CDC
Ali Khan, CDC
Catherine Jamal, CDC

Project Details

Using the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ (CDC) blog, Public Health Matters, the self-proclaimed “Zombie Task Force” crafted a witty but educational blog post about zombie preparedness, while regularly referring to real emergencies like hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes. Communicators stated that if people were prepared for a zombie apocalypse they were prepared for any emergency. Readers were told how to make a plan and emergency kit and how to stay informed using CDC’s emergency website, which provides up-to-date information on emergencies, tools for preparing, and training resources.

Stepping outside the box proved a success.  The blog went viral and trended on twitter; the traffic was so overwhelming that it crashed the CDC blog server.  Although only $87 was spent, the campaign achieved an estimated 3.6 billion impressions and had an estimated marketing value of $3.4 million. This campaign increased awareness of preparedness activities, involving new audiences that weren’t previously engaged. The success of this campaign demonstrates the importance of listening to your audience and harnessing the power of social media to deliver your message globally.  The success of the initial blog post has spurred many other products and partnerships, allowing CDC to reach a broad section of the population with an engaging and important topic.

Additional Information


HHS Innovates is one of the ways we are building an innovative culture at the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Innovates is a contest that recognizes and rewards action taken on good ideas. To date, HHS employees have submitted nominations of innovations for nearly 500 exciting new staff-driven innovative projects, and our employees have cast over 60,000 votes to select 42 finalists over seven rounds. This project is one of the finalists of HHS Innovates. Learn more about HHS Innovates.