Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One drop short of a pint of blood?

Vampires have bitten all of the U.S. and no one can escape romaticizing about these fictional beings on TV or in books. True Blood, the television drama series on HBO, has become a leading name in the vampire craze. The show is based on The Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris where a telepathic waitress (Anna Paquin) falls in love with a vampire (Stephen Moyer) in a small town in Louisiana. The first season was watched by millions and was awarded numerous honors, including a Golden Globe. Even the advertising campaign is incredible and receiving acclaim throughout many advertising and marketing channels, however it failed in one part - to create a small piece of what it was marketing.

The ad campaign has gone leaps and bounds ahead of any competition, putting vampires in the forefront, creating partnerships with cars and razors, posting several Web sites seemingly targeted at actual vampires, and even creating products of its own, the most popular of which is Tru Blood, the synthetic blood nourishment beverage. All ideas creative and inventive, but one step short.

With the drink, Tru Blood, they actually failed to complete the idea - although Tru Blood was heavily advertised, the drink does not exist. There are posters and advertisements everywhere that "reminds vampires to drink responsibly" and, of course, numerous Web sites to support it, but it's confusing consumers.

"...when I saw this I looked all OVER the place," commented EnergyFiend on Entertainment Weekly's Web site once most people found that the actual drink did not exist. "I thought it was like a juice or energy drink and how awesome it would be to walk around with one of those bottles..."

I doubt many consumers will stop watching the series because of an absence of the drink, however, why not follow through with the campaign instead of only going half-way?

Harry Potter's marketing campaign is a good example of advertising going all the way through ideas. My favorite is the partnership they created with the Jelly Belly brand where they made Harry Potter jelly beans, complete with flavors such as boogers, grass and dirt. Considering how large the sales and buzz increased through items such as simple jelly beans, why put so much effort into an idea and its advertising, but not actually develop it? Building a partnership with say, The Coca-Cola Company, or PepsiCo Inc., and actually producing a red-colored drink might have captured an even larger audience, created more buzz and revenue, and most importantly, would not have failed to provide what advertisements promised.

Overall, the ad campaign is fantastic and an insight into what the advertising world will be reaching for next, but going to such incredible creative depths and not even providing a consumer with the information that the real drink does not exist means to me that the campaign was not completed. It is one drop short of a pint of blood.

The new season starts June 14 at 9 pm.

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