Murder On The Mind

I'm saying it loud and proud: Entertainment Weekly is the platform to advertise a TV show, book, or movie in an untraditional way.

A bloody knife doubling as a bookmark was inserted in last week's issue of EW alongside a print ad for the Court TV series "Murder by the Book," premiering tonight.

Blood spatter has never been so trendy. For a minute, I thought it was an ad for the Showtime series, "Dexter," whose main character analyzes blood spatter... when he's not killing murderers.

"Murder by the Book" features crime novelists such as James Ellroy, Faye Kellerman and Jonathan Kellerman describing a variety of inspirations that encourage them to write murder mysteries in the form of real-life crimes.

"It's a tough TV show to describe in print," said Jason Gaboriau, creative director of Amalgamated, Court TV's creative agency. MediaStorm is the network's media agency. "The bookmark reinforced that a TV show that includes writers and books is being promoted," he continued.

The insert shows a bloodstained knife and the words "Cut down your reading." The back of the insert tells readers to "use this bookmark to stop reading and start watching" the series.

The adjoining ad features more blood spatter, weapons and dead bodies hidden in the copy: "Get into the minds of America's most creative killers."

As with most Court TV campaigns, chances are you'll find an ever so slight hint of sarcasm (remember the scorned woman billboard promoting "Parco, P.I."?). The back of the insert warns, "This is not a real knife... Bookmark will not solve spousal disagreements, end gang fights or slice beef. Bookmark may cause paper cuts. If paper cut occurs, apply warm, soapy water and a bandage immediately..."

To further creep people out, the network experimented with some new technology tentatively dubbed the "Mystery Whisperer." According to Gaboriau, an audio beam is hidden on a poster that promotes the series. Once a person trips the beam, that person, and that person alone, will hear someone talking to them. "Hey you. Don't turn around. Do you ever think about murder..." begins the voice.

"Mystery Whisperers" have been placed in bookstores and cafes and are coming soon to the Time Warner Center.

Browse the mystery section with caution.

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