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Main > Archives > 2008 > September > TrueBlood HBO's Vampire TV Show Taking Viral Marketing to Extremes

Thursday, September 04, 2008

TrueBlood HBO's Vampire TV Show Taking Viral Marketing to Extremes

TrueBlood HBO Series on VampiresAbout 2 months ago I received a package at my house (note: not my office), inside the bubble wrap envelope was a vile of what looked like marchiano cherry syrup. Also in the envelope was a small card with Japanese writing on it with the url or something close (I threw it all away because, although I knew it was the beginning of a viral campaign, it was simply too vague and the site was entirely in Japanese). After all, my mom taught me to not take candy from strangers and I think it's safe to say that includes taking synthetic blood beverages in viles from unmarked packages that arrive in your mail (hooda thunkit?!). Well, the entire mystery of who, what and why I received the synthetic blood beverage was unraveled a couple of weeks ago when I received an even larger package from an HBO PR firm that was responsible for the viral marketing campaign of HBO's new vampire series called TrueBlood. I do find it interesting that we may be starting to see the beginnings of a new trend where comic books are used (sent to a select group of targeted bloggers and viral seed planters) to get the word out about new products and services. After all, HBO sent me this new comic book about True Blood and just this week Google used a comic book to not-so-secretly launch Google Chromium, their new web browser. HBO has spent a small fortune on marketing this show and making sure it has the potential to become a cult hit. They have launched the following sites in support of the Tru Blood brand which I find very interesting. Blood Copy Skype LogoBlood Copy Chronicles the amazing days we live in as vampires attempt to integrate with humans. With the advent of Tru Blood, a synthetic blood substitute, vampires have decided to announce their presence and exist among us openly. This website chronicles the amazing days we live in as vampires attempt to integrate with humans. I love the blood spattered version of the Skype logo, nice touch. American Vampire LeagueAmerican Vampire League The American Vampire League is the largest organization in the United States dedicated to promoting the equality and civil liberties of vampires. The AVL takes a three-pronged approach: lobbying for the Vampire Rights Act at state and national levels, disseminating accurate information about vampires to the general public and offering guidance to vampires seeking to mainstream. Each of these efforts supports one ultimate mission: To eradicate the fear and hatred of vampires that is caused by both widespread misinformation and an entire race's punishment for the crimes of a few. Since the discovery and marketing of synthetic blood, there is no longer any reason for vampires to remain hidden — or to be shunned or discriminated against. To humans we say: Vampires are your neighbors, your nightwatchmen, your ancestors. And to my fellow vampires: It's time we all come out of the darkness. Let's learn to live together without fear. Fellowship Of The SunFellowship of The Sun Just say no to the vampire rights ammendment, this catchy line sits on top of this FrontPage-esque non-profit vampire site. The Fellowship of the Sun (FoS) is a grass-roots organization pledged to protect humanity from the vampire scourge. These Creatures of Darkness (CoDs) threaten not only our very existence with their perverted craving for human blood, but they also undermine our way of life, sullying our communities with their routine acts of hedonism and cruelty. While certain "free thinkers" battle for the "rights" of these monsters to infiltrate and degrade the human species, the FoS is committed to bringing truth to the public. Every vampire is a proven mass murderer and has no place on our streets or in our society. Wake up to the reality of the CoD agenda: They're not a soul-challenged "new minority." They're an ancient menace. Social Networking / Dating Site for Vampires - Lovebitten Lovebitten Vampire and Human Dating Site What vampire do you know that doesn't belong to Lovebitten, the official dating site of all eligible vampires. Oh yeah, vampires and humans are both welcome here :) I could go on and on about the other sites HBO has created but I'll wrap it up with the True Blood Wiki. Honestly I thought MySpace was the ultimate in social media time wasting, but now a wiki created to support a tv show, I think this is where the viral group behind the show went overboard. Regardless, this is a fairly large commitment on the part of HBO to engage the internet as it's primary audience and most importantly the initial point of insertion for it's grass roots viral marketing campaign and I think it was a wise move indeed. The only issue I have with most of these sites, as with most other web sites that HBO launches to support a new or existing series, is the blatant lack of search engine optimization. Most of the sites are in flash and have duplicate content penalties and nearly 0 indexable content to speak of. I think that's the final frontier for all companies making a major marketing shift from offline to online though, to tame the search engine optimization beast. It's a difficult task to put together a well-formed site that is visually appealing while at the same time being able to get Google love and all the free-targeted traffic you can eat but it absolutely CAN be done.

By Jason Dowdell at 11:01 AM | Comments (40)

(40) Thoughts on TrueBlood HBO's Vampire TV Show Taking Viral Marketing to Extremes

Cosmo-- this IS hysterical--\

go to the dating site *hee*

Comments by bitemeagain : Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 10:23 AM

HI I just wanted to tell you I love the show true blood its so awesome I cant miss on show every sunday night any way I am so in to vampires and there tales in love desire and just everything they do.

Comments by Angela longmore : Monday, October 20, 2008 at 01:58 PM

I admit I do watch vampire movies okay I love them. True Blood is something else. The sex was more than I would like to see. It is about the characters I feel like sometimes they get away from that. The characters need to be tweaked. I won't miss a show. Thanks for the article.


Comments by na : Monday, October 20, 2008 at 08:29 PM

im so hooked i cant stop waching it

Comments by megge13 : Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 06:45 PM

True Blood is addictive, but have any of these actors ever been to Louisiana? The accents (especially Tara's) are insane. Nobody down here actually talks like that. Surely the HBO can afford a better coach for them.

Comments by leelee : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 12:42 AM

i love watching the show every week, i think its one of the best series that HBO has done so far.

Comments by Amy Anderson : Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 04:20 PM

I think the show is great. You pick the right people for there part. When I watch shows I usellay pick apart whos playing seeing who would have been better to play that part but with True blood I can't. To me I think Lafayette is Sookie True friend. He supports Sookie in everyway. When she sleept with Bill everybody was pissed of at her but when she told Lafayette he suppored her. Yea when she walked away he call her a slut or somthing but thats Lafayette. Lafayette Is my favor Charcter in the show to. His funny as hell.

Comments by Damien : Friday, October 24, 2008 at 02:30 PM

Lafayette called her a "SKANK" which was totally uncalled for. This took the way I think of his character 2 points. I want to be a fangbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanger.

Comments by terrichick : Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 09:08 PM

I love this show,can't wait for the next episode.

Comments by SHELL : Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 08:50 AM

I am absolutly in love with trueblood and wouldn't change a thing about it ! I'm reading all of the books along with the show and it is absolutly amazing to see the turn outs and what was tweaked I love love love it ;p

Comments by shainaeve : Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 04:00 AM

I want to fix Jason. He's so HOT!!! Poor thing needs a good/bad woman. stmichel7765

Comments by Deanna Webb : Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 09:00 AM

I love love trueblood. I just can't keep my eyes off of the show. I can't miss one episode. It's a wonder will sookie become a vampire, who will turn her?

Comments by Erica : Monday, November 03, 2008 at 12:15 PM

really enjoyy watcin true blood evvery sunday. it has become a family get togather. no one misses it. when my daughter leaves for the weekend, she is always back in time to watch true Blood. it is the only time i can get the family togather.

Thanks alot to those who are playing in the movie and to those who wrote it thank you all. love the Goldsmith Family

Comments by Alicia : Monday, November 03, 2008 at 06:41 PM

IM HOOKED !!! i love this show i hope theres many more seasons to come.... best show on HBO EVER

Comments by gina : Monday, November 03, 2008 at 11:12 PM

My husband & I are hooked on the show! Its such a shame that there are only 3 episodes left. This is the sexiest bunch of rednecks & vampires ever. I guess this show gives new meaning to the term "redneck."

Comments by cndlou : Wednesday, November 05, 2008 at 06:10 AM

what is going on--what do you mean 3 episodes left? Then, what is going to happen w/the show? my mom & me watch them sometimes 2&3 times through out the week... I've grown to totally love this show just like Days of our lives!

Comments by J. : Wednesday, November 05, 2008 at 11:10 PM

trueblood is the sexy show that keeps us guessing ever sunday!!!!! trueblood is the number one show on HBO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comments by truebloodsexy : Monday, November 10, 2008 at 04:59 PM

LOVE THE SHOW.....Evidently this is season 2, is season 1 on DVD yet.....Keep up the great work....I can't get enough.......

Comments by JEWELS : Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 02:37 PM

This show is AMAZING. Best thing on television...chemistry between characters is perfect..Bill and Sookie are HOT glad season 2 is scheduled!!! LOVE IT!! Don't want to see Bill and Sookie apart!! Fix that writers!

Comments by MJTHHC : Monday, November 17, 2008 at 09:44 AM

I can bearly stand the thought of this season ending. How long before season two is released.At least I have Big Love coming soon.Trueblood is by far our favorite.I get as many people hooked as I can trying to secure the shows future.I'm crushed over the killer really loved that character.I don't want to ruin it for anyone who's not up to date. If anyone knows about season two pass on the info please.

Comments by amy l hoffmann : Monday, November 17, 2008 at 01:30 PM

OMG... We are so hooked. Please tell me we don't have to wait too long for season 2. I am going to have to read the books. The storyline is the most creative twist on vampires I have ever heard. I don't fall for TV characters.... but my heart belongs to vampire Bill.... ha ha

Comments by Anne Jenkins : Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 03:07 PM

Love the series so much bought the
book to compare. Favorite actors Jason,Lafayette & Rene. Really enjoy them. Bored with angry women especially Tara. Girls are beautiful & sexy, but have nothing over the guys. We need more from the girls (do not mean nudity,anger or sex, please), but something to sink our teeth into.
Guys have personality +, the girls zip. Come on lets get crazy,sincere & fun instead of just wild & kinky.

Comments by E. Vance : Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 11:54 AM

love it, love the characters, love vampires. the only thing i do not love so much is the overload of sex scenes. please try to keep the focus more on complex story lines - less on jason buck-naked in a field.

Comments by dana : Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 01:31 PM

Find a way to bring LaFayette back. I think he was a most critical character in the show.

Comments by Gloria : Monday, November 24, 2008 at 10:42 PM

I got so hooked I bought all 8 books and read them in the space of a week. Great reading, can't WAIT to see how close season 2 keeps to the 2nd in the series...sorry Bill fans, I liked Eric the Viking more and more with every book...

Comments by Nancy : Friday, November 28, 2008 at 10:12 PM

Vampires make for delicious monsters.

Comments by Delicious Monster : Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 11:37 AM

I think the series are really good, but you have to read the books. It goes so far behond where the show goes. You almost feel like you are living in the small town. I love them all.

Comments by Crystal : Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 10:15 PM

I love the saga.One casting that I disagreed with however and that was Eric the vampire. I had him pictured as much more buff and hot. The actor they cast seems to redneck looking to me.

Comments by pamela kolozsvary : Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at 10:53 PM

I have always been facinated with vampires from an early age, and always will be. I must say I have watched nearly every vamp show, movie. True Blood tops them all!Finally something new to satisfy my craving. Thank You to everyone who has made this series possible.

Comments by Mary : Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 05:48 PM

I am from Louisiana and I LOVE your books. You don't make everyone have Cajun accents, I just LOVE it.

Comments by Sarah : Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 10:14 PM

It is JUST tv...get over it and on to a life

Comments by pedro : Sunday, April 05, 2009 at 08:13 AM

I think the show is kind of childish and about as melodramatic as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, only with a bigger budget. Not to mention I think vampires have been so overdone in the last five years, so there's obviously a bit of a bias in what I'm saying.. That's just my opinion, and I realize I'm not a part of their target audience so please don't anyone take offense. I love HBO and even when I don't like a particular show, I love the fact that they're pushing the envelope the way they are.

However, I think the marketing campaigns they launched are freakin' genius. Love or hate the show, they marketed it perfectly. In their first season they have just as many viewers as The Sopranos and Sex in the City - that says a lot.

Comments by nizzytt : Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 01:16 PM

i've been hipnotized with this incredible show called "trueblood". sookie and bill was so great... the first time i watch this movie i start loving sookie and bill...

Comments by magielyn rivera : Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 09:48 AM

The second season opener was great...but we would love to see Jason back to a man whore. His character was intense in the first season...what will happen now that he is born again? He will lose the money that was given to the church that is. Sookie, my my you look wonderful in your nude scene...anyways lets keep watching

Comments by Krista Brandt and Peggy Scott : Monday, June 15, 2009 at 07:31 PM

Just when i think it cant get any better the next episode gets me blood thirsty for more keep it coming !!!!!!

Comments by Mary Rico : Monday, August 10, 2009 at 02:54 AM

That Eric is a sneaky son of a gun. Tricking Sookie into sucking his blood. Shame on him! He may interfer with Bill and Sookie but he won't win. There is no one like Bill. However Jason is not bad either! And Layfette- can't do without him either. My family loves this show. My daughter is in boot camp and I think the only thing she misses is True Blood. Can't wait for the next show!!!

Comments by Beverly : Monday, August 17, 2009 at 08:03 PM

HELP! I missed the last episode and it dosent come on again till tuesday. Someone please tell me how to find it online because I cant seem to get it to let me watch it without completing a never ending survey.

Comments by Angie R : Monday, September 14, 2009 at 01:41 AM

I have never seen this programme, but im sure it's glorious.

Comments by Olivia : Friday, October 16, 2009 at 09:06 AM

I love the show, I've read all the books and the show pretty much sticks to the stories. Eric is so hotttttttttt!!!!! This last show really blew it out of the water. Can't wait for the next show.

Comments by Kim : Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 10:17 PM

True Blood has been a consistently entertaining show. I really enjoy new / different takes on Vampire legends and this is one of the better ones. It seems even better now that I’m paying so much less for my TV service. I made the switch from Comcast to DISH Network sometime back and a while after that even went to work for DISH. Of course there’s more to choosing a TV service provider other than price, that’s why I was pretty excited to find this website called It gives some thorough, fair comparisons between all the major companies and although I can’t honestly say DISH blew everyone away in every category I am proud to say we did very well overall. I certainly recommend checking it out, it will help you make an informed decision.

Comments by Travis : Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 08:36 AM

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