Fake Beverage Promotes 'True Blood' Series

I'm such a sucker for campaigns that hawk nonexistent brands to promote something on a grander scale. So is HBO.

The network used fake brands in the past to promote the second season of its series "Big Love," promoting a fragrance, erectile dysfunction pill and polygamist housing community.

To promote "True Blood," a series launching in September and created by Alan Ball, print and outdoor ads for a beverage called Tru Blood have been running all month, driving traffic to Of course, Tru Blood is a synthetic blood nourishment drink, a clear sign that the brand does not exist. If you are fooled by its description, you won't be fooled by copy: "Friends don't let friends drink friends," and "All flavor, no bite," read two ads. HBO along with And Company created the ads, with PHD handling the media buy.

The campaign doesn't stop here. The series -- about vampires capable of living among everyday folk thanks to an ancient product called true blood -- has its own online prequel set five years before the September series storyline.

Created by Campfire and HBO, the story features its own host of characters that unravel a plotline leading up to that of "True Blood'"s September bow.

The online series was promoted to a niche following of vampire lovers via mailings, written in dead languages like Babylonian, that led people to various Web sites on a mission to translate their messages.

One Web site,, "chronicles the amazing days we live in as vampires attempt to integrate with humans." On the site, people can read news clippings about hate crimes against vampires and potential vampire sightings in cities across the nation.

Will this HBO series spill as much blood as Showtime's uber-popular series "Dexter"? Even with vampires living among us, I don't think it's possible.

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