Using a viral campaign aimed at many blog owners, True Blood on HBO was looking for some exposure via curiosity as they engaged the different web site owners with mystery envelopes and encrypted letters.
The show is based on a book series by Charlaine Harris, called Southern Vampire Mysteries. It takes an interesting twist on the idea of humans and vampires co-habitating in a small Louisiana town after the vampires have discovered a Japanese-made synthetic blood called TruBlood. This moves the vamps from predators to "fellow citizens."
This obvious scenario creates an amount of tension that can be taken advantage of if done well. With religious leaders and world governments having chosen their sides, the jury is still out in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps.
The show is brought to us by Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball.
About the studio promotional support:
HBO has already started a community bulletin board. They've jumped on board the promotional comic book avenue. The comic opening panels is set in a private jet where one of the characters is pondering about "coming out", in the vampire sense. The stewardess offers him a magazine, then some TruBlood. It seems interesting just from that unique set of comic panels.
The comic smartly incorporates some of the viral campaign components, with special envelopes, a website referenced, etc..
The viral advertising sure is thorough. At the bottom of the HBO True Blood home page are a series of informational links for the inquiring vampire mind. Links to real existing sites!
For the latest Vampire news check out BloodCopy. It has news articles based on the world of TrueBlood. The lead article starts out: "The paint on the American Vampire League office in Shreveport barely had time to dry before an angry mob gathered torches and stakes and charged the building. "
Or if, you're a lonely vampire, you can find eternal love at LoveBitten.net, which coins itself as "The Best Human/Vampire Dating Site". It has a video of a potential date who was stamped "Rejected by Human Dating Sites!" Now the 211-year old Sebastion is hooked up with 26-year old human named Mindy and they're very happy.
Or there's even a link to buy some TruBlood! TruBeverage.com. With all flavor, no bite! There's a video that shows a vampire coming upon a group of campers who happen to have some TruBlood with them and it becomes a kind of Budweiser-ish ad.
The HBO True Blood website has the tagline "Thou shall not crave thy neighbor."
Some of the cast include Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten and Rutina Wesley.
The details of how they assembled this campaign are refreshing and my curiosity is piqued. On the down side, I don't subscribe to HBO but some rumors here and there on the 'net seem to indicate this isn't as good as all the hype would lead me to believe. Yet other mainstream sources seem to be giving it some credit.
One perception of the preview clip from Comic-Con at San Diego comes from Time.com: The preview "struck fans of the series as sexier than the books, more violent than the books & more sensationalistic."
Someone's gonna have to tell me how it really is if you catch it on the tube.
Image source: LA Times