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Gerber joins the fight against the undead

The Tigard company has a new role in 'The Walking Dead' series on the AMC television network
by: Jaime Valdez Gerber’s Machete Gator Pro and several other products are featured prominently in the new season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The products are proving so popular that the company website crashed after the first episode Oct. 16.

When it comes to slaying the undead, one Tigard company has the market covered.

Gerber Legendary Blades, the longtime Tigard knife and tool company, announced earlier this month that it was partnering with the AMC television series 'The Walking Dead,' and that a number of its products - including knives, axes and machetes - would appear in several episodes of the show's second season providing the show's characters a cache of weapons to use against flesh-eating creatures.

'It was a meeting of the minds,' said Gerber marketing specialist Andrew Gritzbaugh. 'We were looking for partnerships where our tools could be utilized.'

After only a six-episode first season, the horror cable series has exploded into a tentpole program for AMC, shattering basic cable records to become the most watched drama in basic cable history.

''The Walking Dead' is one of the most talked about shows right now,' Gritzbaugh said. 'It is huge, and people absolutely love it. At Gerber, we are all about being prepared for anything, and although it's fantasy, that does include being prepared for things like the apocalypse.'

The series follows a group of survivors after a zombie outbreak, and characters are constantly on the lookout for weapons to arm themselves with.

In the season opener Oct. 16, the characters come across an arsenal of Gerber tools, including several machetes and small hatchets which soon prove invaluable to the rag-tag group.

The company didn't create new products for the series but used its existing line of machetes, knives and other blades to arm the characters against the undead.

The ultra-violent series is not for the faint of heart, and neither are the Gerber weapons featured in the series, but Gritzbaugh pointed out that, while violent, the products are meant to be tools.

'It is not so much about killing zombies as it is about survival,' Gritzbaugh said, 'and that makes it a great fit for Gerber. We are all about survival.'

Gritzbaugh said he expects about a dozen different machetes and knives to make their way into the show during this season, and as each new product is revealed on the show, the product will be added to Gerber's 'Apocalypse Survival' line on its website.

After more than 70 years making knives and blades for commercial, industrial and military use - the company supplies many of the combat knives and other tools for the U.S. Army - the Gerber/AMC partnership is the company's latest attempt to find non-traditional means to sell their survivalist and outdoor tools to customers.

'In only its second season 'The Walking Dead' has become one of the most talked about shows on television and is a prefect fit for the Gerber brand as we broaden our leadership position outside of the knife and tool industry,' said Corey Maynard, Gerber's vice president of marketing.

The company's products have been seen on shows such as 'Deadliest Warrior' and the FOX series 'Terra Nova,' and Gerber's line of knives featuring Bear Grylls - who appears on the Discovery Channel series 'Many Vs. Wild' - have proven widely successful for the company.

Gritzbaugh said he hopes that the new ties to AMC and one of cable's hottest shows will prove to be a moneymaker as well.

'The Walking Dead' airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.