While the influence of the ‘zombie’ genre on prime-time TV is a hugely popular one in America, the European nation of Norway seems less tolerant of letting the undead be seen by younger audiences, a stance which sporting goods store XXL learned the hard way when they reportedly pulled their unusual advert from primetime viewing.
The 80-second advert depicts a zombie apocalypse, with hordes of the undead attacking citizens, who fight back with the time-tested weapons of sporting equipment such as golf balls, tennis rackets, footballs, and cheerleader outfits, with the battle ending up in a stadium for an unseen climatic showdown, with the accompanying tagline ‘XXL – All Sports United’.
While not an official decision by Norwegian broadcast regulators to block the commercial, XXL are thought to have made the change due to a surprisingly very negative reception after airing it last weekend pre-‘watershed’, with users describing it as ‘stupid and provocative’.
XXL’s Tom Erik Kjono said of the advert’s content (translated from Norwegian): “The calls we have received is that the whole family sitting around the TV Friday night, and that one is thinking of the children. We don’t want there to be negativity surrounding it. We are a little uncertain about the extent to which we are talking about. There have been a few dozen comments on the Facebook page, while hundreds of thousands have seen it. The choice fell on zombies because they wanted to attract a younger audience. It’s been a zombie-wave over a longer time. When we designed this we realized that we didn’t come to take as broad and popular, but perhaps more of a youthful group that has a relationship to the subject and realizes the humor. At the same time, we wanted to break through the sound barrier in the commercials.”
Giving in to the unusually high levels of pressure, XXL will now screen the advert (which can be seen below) at viewing times past 9pm only. A sidenote not considered, though – despite it being an advert, how often does Norway really get clear blue skies and sunbathers?