Commentary

Going For Blood (True Story)

Despite the abysmal trends in the homevideo marketplace (sales have fallen about $1 billion a year to $10 billion this year), the marketing team at HBO has breathed new life into its retail sales with the living dead. Yup, you guessed it, the vampires of "True Blood."

Sofia Chang, senior vice president-retail marketing at HBO, rattled off some impressive media metrics to prove that, but it was the one she cited about actual "True Blood" sales - the drink, not the show - that really impressed me. Honestly, I didn't realize HBO was marketing the stuff, which I figured was just a prop for the show (for those of you who don't follow it, True Blood is synthetic, non-human blood alternative to slurping actual people). Okay, so the stuff HBO is peddling doesn't actually have any hemoglobins in it (it's made out of blood oranges, Chang said), but it's market results are the kind that would get anyone on Madison Avenue's heart pumping.

The True Blood soda brand sells for $3.99 a bottle, and HBO has sold nearly 2 million bottles to date. While that may not exactly the kind of sales that will make Coca-Cola Co.'s blood curdle, it's not bad for some ancillary merchandising of a premium television brand.

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