HBO Promo, Case study TRUE BLOOD SEASON 2 by Digital Kitchen

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Industry TV Channels/Radio Stations and Programmes
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Digital Kitchen
Art Director Jason Lindeman
Released April 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Integrated Media
Advertiser: HBO: TRUE BLOOD
Product/Service: TV SERIES
Date of First Appearance: Apr 17 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: PHD , New York, USA
Chief Executive Officer US: Scott Hagedorn (PHD)
Managing Director East: Steve Piluso (PHD)
Senior Vice President/Group Account Director: Dennis Camlek (PHD)
Vice President/Associate Director/Account Planning: Terry Seitz (PHD)
Associate Media Director: Marie Hughes (PHD)
Media Supervisor: Justin Alcantara (PHD)
Media Planner: Jacqueline Robin (PHD)
Assistant Media Planner: Michael Steigman (PHD)
Director of Business & Production Strategy: Todd Brandes (Digital Kitchen)
Partner & Director of Accounts: Jeremiah Rosen (Campfire)
Art Director: Jason Lindeman (Ignition Print)
President: Peter Bemis (Bemis Balkind)
Media placement: Magazine - Tease Campaign - EW, Us Weekly, NY Mag, Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter - 17 April 2009
Media placement: OOH - Tease Campaign - NY & LA: billboards, bulletins, bus sides, shelters, kiosks, wall postings - 20 April 2009
Media placement: Online - Tease & Launch Campaign - Search, Yahoo!, YouTube, Roadblocks - 20 April 2009
Media placement: TV - Launch Campaign - 478 Spots - Daypart Mix: Series Finales (Lost), Premieres (FX, Sci Fi), Late Night (Leno), T - 13 May 2009
Media placement: OOH - Launch Campaign - NY, LA, Chi, Phila:billboards, bulletins, bus sides, shelters, kiosks, wall post - 18 May 2009
Media placement: Radio - Launch Campaign - Syndicated buy: NPR, Morning Shows, Top 40 - 25 May 2009
Media placement: Cinema - Launch - National Buy: previews, theatre placements - 22 May 2009
Media placement: Magazines - Launch Campaign - GQ, Details, Vanity Fair, Glamour - 22 May 2009
Media placement: Magazines - Faux Vampire Campaign - Rolling Stone, Adweek, Us Weekly, New York Magazine - 27 May 2009
Media placement: Newspapers - Faux Campaign - NY Times, LA Times, AM New York, Philadelphia Weekly - 1 June 2009

Results and Effectiveness
The “True Blood” Season 2 campaign took a serious bite out of the competition: Season 2 Premiere: • 6m+ viewers tuned into the 6/14 premiere! • Premiere ratings jumped 63% vs. the Season 1 finale and 162% vs. the Season 1 premiere in 2008 • HBO’s most-watched programme since “The Sopranos” 2007 finale Overall Awareness and Tune-In: • Programme Awareness: +23% • Intent to Tune-In: +15% • HBO Network Recall: +17% Age 18-34 Awareness and Tune-In: • Programme Awareness: +20% • Intent to Tune-In: +12% • HBO Network Recall: +18% (Sources: Marketing Evolution April Pre-Launch vs. Premiere Week; Nielsen Audience 06/14/09)

Creative Execution
Following a teaser phase to stoke critic and influencer buzz, the tune-in phase brought “Hacking Reality” to life through entertaining, original content. First-to-market executions included Vanity Fair “Parties to Die For” advertorial featuring fanged celebrities, AM New York “vAMp New York” custom insert of vampire-targeted editorial, LA Times cover wrap and Entertainment Weekly 12-page domination. Co-branded faux ads featured in print and OOH advertised “real” products to the “vampire consumer” with brands including Geico, Gillette and Mini Cooper. Theatre lobby and screen domination coincided with popular and relevant film releases, and True Blood-branded coffee sleeves mocked the “Cup of Joe” expression in true vampire fashion: drinking a cup of “Joe” at Comic Con. Online, a Gawker partnership created the perception they had purchased, a vampire website. A viral video featuring top chef Tom Colicchio cooking vampire-friendly fare was featured on sites including IMDB, Gawker and Yahoo TV.

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
On the heels of Twilight, Underworld and other vampire fare, HBO’s “True Blood” was a surprise hit in 2008 for the somewhat critically admonished network. But the stakes were considerably higher for the series as media for Season 2 was tasked with generating awareness for the programme and the network, bringing in traditionally under-serviced younger viewers, and re-igniting critical acclaim for HBO. We understood that the audience’s fascination with the show lies in their ability to escape their own reality and access a forbidden one where vampires live openly among humans in a small Louisiana town. So, we developed and implemented a communications strategy, “Hacking Reality” to deliver a multi-channel platform that blurred the lines of actual reality. The strategy involved creating specially tailored messaging, editorial, product and service advertising and other media content that gave viewers / general public the very real feeling that vampires were truly living among them.