Customer Service Apocalypse: New Customers and the Undead

What really happens when worlds collide? Well, in the case of fitness culture and zombie mania, the answer may just be “a whole buncha new customers.” And in the world of customer service and support, it’s all about the customer.

I have long subscribed to the theory of running as a survival mechanism. When necessary, I run to safety. Otherwise, I prefer to walk, thank you very much. Even for all its noted fitness benefits, running is simply an activity I do not enjoy.

In truth, you’re far more likely to find me discussing contingencies for the zombie apocalypse with my 10-year-old son rather than you are to find me training for an upcoming 5K. Seriously. When Z-Day comes, what are the best shoes for survival? What are the most versatile blunt weapons? How do we add armor to a school bus? I want to know.

Zombie Fitness

As it turns out, the worlds of fitness and apocalyptic fantasy have already collided. It’s not a brand new thing. In the 2009 film Zombieland, protagonist Columbus famously survives by following a specific set of survival rules, and fitness plays a large part:

  • Rule #1: Cardio
  • Rule #18: Limber up

From experience, Columbus learned that evading zombies requires stamina and agility. Be ready to run, and be ready to keep running. That’s just a movie though, right? Of course it is! But what if you could drop yourself into a virtual zombie apocalypse? The ultimate mash-up of movies, video games, apocalyptic fantasy, and…fitness?

Well, thanks to companies like to Six to Start and Reed Street Productions, the idea of zombie training has me thinking differently about running.

Zombies, Run!

With its mobile app Zombies, Run!, Six to Start overlays Abel Township—ground-zero for the zombie apocalypse—onto your actual world. So, regardless of where you’re running—parks, trails, or treadmills—you’re immersed in a thrilling game where you elude zombies, collect supplies, and distribute them back at your base in order start rebuilding civilization.

With more than 30 missions, there’s plenty to keep you entertained as you build up your endurance. Also, a backstory involving the cause of the zombie apocalypse provides additional layers of engagement. Seriously? How cool is that? A game where surviving in the virtual world helps you get fit in the real world! It’s totally better than Wii Fit. I actually want to go out and run.

At $8.99, Zombies, Run! is a little pricey for a mobile game, but it’s still much cheaper than the $60 price tag on many console games. And you get the added fitness boost. At a certain point, though, almost every game wears a little thin. The question then becomes, what do I do with my new-found cardiovascular fitness?

Run for Your Lives

In early 2012, Reed Street Productions announced Run for Your Lives, a zombie-infest 5K run and obstacle course.  Run For Your Lives gives runners and zombie lovers an opportunity to test their mettle against the course as well as the hordes of undead pursuing them throughout the race. To make the $67+ registration fee completely worthwhile, organizers made it an all-day event; combining the race with a “monster” party at the end of the day, which includes live entertainment/music, food, and beer.

Similar to the Zombies, Run! app, Run For Your Lives combines classic elements of video game play into the race. For instance, each runner is a given a belt with three removable flags—just like flag football—to represent the individual’s health. To complete the race “alive,” one must cross the finish line with at least one flag intact.

What’s the catch? Zombies, or course. The undead pursue runners throughout the course, attempting to remove the flags and transform the runners into zombies. Just like video games, though, power-ups are hidden across the course. These health packs provide lucky runners with additional health flags to help carry them safely to the finish line.

Oh, did I mention you can register for the race as a runner or a zombie? So, if survival’s not your thing, you can join the baddies trying to spread the zombie plague. AWESOME!

The mission at Reed Street Productions is “to create unique events that blend genres, blur the lines of reality, and promote an environment of simple fun.” Ummmm…mission accomplished? I think so.

In these zombie-fitness mash-ups, both Six to Start and Reed Street Productions have not only created a fun new experience for the core audience of fitness enthusiasts, they’ve tapped into a whole new market of nerds like me.

As I stated earlier, I do not run because it is not fun. But now I’m giving it some serious thought. After all, as unlikely as it is for a real zombie apocalypse to happen; I’d rather be prepared. And as we already know: Rule #1 – Cardio.

Scroll to Top