Originally posted on Digithoughts:
Who would have thought something as classic as vampires would mix so flawlessly with something so new as an integrated marketing campaign? HBO certainly did when they set out to promote their new hit show â€œTrue Blood.â€ This is truly a case study for a marketing plan done right.
Here’s a background for those who have not yet seen the show: A synthetic blood drink has been invented that can sustain a vampire’s thirst for blood. This technological advancement was so significant that vampires can now â€œcome out of the coffinâ€ and become members of society.
Instead of a traditional marketing plan, True Blood creates an “in world” perspective. This is done through a vast array of social media, digital, and traditional advertising techniques but for the purposes of time and energy, I will focus on my favorites. The first campaign started before the debut of the show at last year’s Comic Con. HBO ignored reality and decided to play with imaginations by promoting the synthetic blood drink, Tru Blood, that the show is so appropriately named after. Posters promoting Tru Blood appeared on buildings and in magazines in the same way liquor ads do. They had catchy phrases like â€œFriends Donâ€™t Let Friends Drink Friendsâ€. They even launched a website for Tru Blood, which rivals even the best high-end beverage sites out there (it’s complete with â€œtype finderâ€, product descriptions, and of course, merchandise).
Of course, HBO didn’t stop there they took it even further digitally with the clever use of micro sites, blogs, and Twitter. The vampires’ lives on True Blood parallel the struggles other minority groups have faced in this country and in this universe, the fight for civil rights is not just for the living. Their main opposition, The Fellowship of the Sun has a bright, sunny layout that mirrors the (public) message of the church. It features sermons and words of wisdom to help us â€œlive in His light.â€ If you didnâ€™t know any better, you might just join the Light of Day Institute. The newest edition to True Bloodâ€™s online world is the American Vampire League which is styled to look like governmental and nonprofit websites. The content is what really brings the AVL to life; news, an â€œIntolerance Watch,â€ a Vampire Friendly Brands section, and even its own Public Service Announcements. And if youâ€™d like to support the AVL, there is an online kit where you can download fliers and T-shirt designs so that you too can rally for the cause.
Blood Copy is a blog written entirely from a vampire’s perspective. It is updated daily with everything from videos, to social commentary. On July 31st, 2009, regarding the topic of health care in America our blogger writes: “Breathers are so focused on our quasi-immortal lifespan, how we donâ€™t age and, barring a specific (and short) list of conditions, we do not die, they seldom note another critical aspect of our existence: Vampires donâ€™t get sick.”
Like many other media and entertainment professionals, HBO has also embraced Twitter. However, their approach is a little different. The twitter, BonTempsGossip, is named after the small town, Bon Temp, Louisiana, where the show is set. It provides small town gossip as well as leaks teasers for upcoming episodes, again from a first person perspective. Example- BonTempsGossip: Rumor is, Sookie’s in danger. Don’t think she counted on havin’ to get out of a mess without Bill’s help – word is he’s nowhere to be found.
Most recently, at Comic Con 2009, series creator Alan Ball announced that there will be a Tru Blood beverage on the market in September. Although Ball said it would be a mixture of â€œVicodin, Viagra, Ecstasy, Vodka, Cabernet and other ingredients,â€ the drink will actually be a blood orange soda, packaged in the same bottles as used on the show. So like I said earlier, well done HBO! I’m sure there will be more for us to sink our teeth into as the series progresses.