TrueBlood: Best Ads Ever

TrueBloodI’ve been seeing strange advertisements in Manhattan the past few weeks. First, two weeks ago, some mugshot looking pictures about vampires being people, too. Then, on the NY side of the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, there’s this giant billboard, which I tried to take a picture of for the past three days. That’s the best of the lot.

I figured the ads were advance promo for the Twilight movie, but no. HBO has a new series called “TrueBlood,” premiering next month, the tagline of which reads, “Thou shalt not crave thy neighbor.”

And what’s it based on? The novels of Charlaine Harris, also known as the Sookie Stackhouse series. PLUS it’s being developed by Alan Ball, who created Six Feet Under, which means I’m reading the web page and saying, “Damn!” a lot. Plus, the site for TruBeverage is a hoot – “Please enter the date you were turned?” With a year option that includes, I, II, III, IV, etc? HA!

I knew there was a Stackhouse series in the works, but these ads plus the site are just freaking brilliant. I mean, the romance market is already hypersaturated with vampires, to say nothing of the “Twilight” movie and the recent book release. To have ads spread all over NYC alluding to the relative humanity of vampires makes me, who is solidly vampired-out, very, verrrry curious.

Damn you HBO! I’m going to have to subscribe again! GAAAAH!


The Link-O-Lator

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  1. 1
    cecilia says:

    I saw something about this show a while back and had to look it up on imdb. It looks like pretty good casting, looks-wise, for the men. For Sookie, Anna Paquin is not how I’d picture her, but I expect she’d do a good job of the character. I’m not usually drawn to TV or movie adaptations, but this one is interesting.

  2. 2
    Victoria Dahl says:

    I must have heard rumorsabout this show nearly two years ago.

    The wait is almost over. I heart Sookie.

  3. 3
    Lizzy says:

    Defamer had this about that ad … kind of related, maybe not really …

  4. 4

    LOL, Sarah, there is no escape from the lure of vampires!

  5. 5
    Rinda says:

    HBO is running the coolest ads for the show—only it doesn’t say they’re for the show.  Loved this one!

    Here’s a site with pics and a video or two.

  6. 6
    misty says:

    I really like the Sookie books, and I was excited about the tv series until they cast Anna Paquin as Sookie. I hope I’m wrong, but I think she is all wrong for the part.

    I think of the character as being pretty in a very cookie-cutter southern type of way.  She’s described as being blond, curvy and tan.  She’s also not one to wallow in angst for very long.  She either accepts things, or she tries to move on.

    Anna Paquin, on the other hand, comes off as very emo in every role I’ve seen her in.  She has an intensity that seems at odds with Sookie’s character.  She also looks nothing like how I imagined Sookie.  Coloring her hair blond didn’t really help.

  7. 7
    SB Sarah says:

    The advertisements that are so clever and yet so mysterious that you say both “WTF” and “I gotta Google that” are SO successful. Walking that line between teasing and enticing is so difficult nowadays. It’s like the difference between full frontal boobs and a hint of alluring cleavage: both can be effective, but only one, I think, is more likely to become viral.

  8. 8
    Victoria Dahl says:

    No, not alluring cleavage. Something more enticing. Like that dress that goes transparent in the face of too many flashbulbs so that you get a tantalizing glimpse of both boobage and nipples on an actress you would not otherwise see naked.

    Clearly, I thought to much about that.

  9. 9
    Marta Acosta says:

    I’ve been following this ad campaign for a while.  It’s massive.  They had a huge staff flooding social networks with videos, graphics, and messages, and of course there are the print ads.  None of these ads has the words “Charlaine Harris” on them, and, oddly, neither does the show’s website:

    Talk about selling the sizzle and not the steak.  (Or stake.)

    I’m a fan of the Southern Vampire books.  I think Harris has a gentleness and tenderness toward many of her characters—a quality I’ve never seen in anything by the show’s director/creator, Alan Ball.  He’s always struck me as one of those guys who thinks “ugly and mean” equals artistic.  He’s said in interviews that he cranked up the graphic sex and violence to pull in male readers.  Make of that what you will.  The link to the interview is on my Vampire Wire blog today (

  10. 10
    Anaquana says:

    I absolutely adore the Sookie books and I can’t wait for this to start airing. The pilot got leaked a few weeks ago and might be still floating around somewhere if anyone can find it.

    I know that a couple of authors actually received packages in the mail that contained a vial of TruBlood and a piece of parchment with strange cuneiform-esque writing on it.

    Misty – I agree, Anna would not have been my first choice for Sookie. She doesn’t look good as a blonde in my opinion and she just doesn’t have that look of complete naïveté  that I always associated with the Sookie in the earlier books.

  11. 11
    Cat Marsters says:

    I dunno, I was sceptical about this but I just saw a preview scene on YouTube and AP seems to have that excitement and happiness I remember when Sookie first meets Bill—her first vampire!  No telepathy!  TrueBlood!  Yayness!

    I’ll try and rein in my own excitement though, having been disappointed with TV shows from books before.  A show with 26 episodes is never going to follow the plots of seven books; and with different plots, the characters will evolve differently; it can’t possibly be the same.  Look at the Dresden Files.  I found the TV show completely different right from the off.  It wasn’t bad, exactly, but it a) wasn’t any different from the bazillion other bandwagon paranormal TV shows I’m seeing, and b) it didn’t have the dark humour of the books.

    Still, be interesting to see…if anybody picks it up over here!

  12. 12
    Marsha says:

    I had always pictured Sookie looking like Virginia Madsen (when Virginia Madsen was Sookie’s age).  Anna Paquin, while lovely in so many ways, just doesn’t do it for me.  The rest of the casting seems good, though.  I wonder why IMDB doesn’t show anyone cast as Eric, but there is someone cast as Pam (unless I missed it)? 

    I don’t have, and won’t be getting, HBO so will have to wait for DVDs.  Hope it’s worth the wait – I’m cautiously optimistic.

  13. 13
    Cat Grant says:

    I’m not so sure about Anna Paquin either. Didn’t care for her as Rogue in the X-Men movies.

    However, Alan Ball owns me, so I’ll definitely be watching.

  14. 14
    phadem says:

    YES! I’ve been following this ever since Harris announced it tentatively on her website, oh I dunno, a year ago maybe?? I’m on a quest to get HBO now myself. 😉

    “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Friends” – love it, think that’s my fave so far.

    This is my all-time favorite book series so I’z riding the hyper-fan train for the show.

    Marsha, Eric is being played by Alexander Skarsgard. Here’s a link to a pic, via their BloodCopy blog:

  15. 15
    phadem says:

    Crap, the link went batty for some reason and is coming up as an email address.

    Here, just plug this in to see Eric, before I hurt myself or someone else:

  16. 16
    Anaquana says:

    Marsha, IMDB doesn’t have it listed, but according to this Alan ,Ball cast Alexander Skarsgard as Eric.

  17. 17
    Anaquana says:

    Cat Marsters, from what I had heard, each season will be roughly one book with each chapter being roughly one episode.

    If that is still the case and how in the world they would pull that off, I have no idea.

  18. 18
    phadem says:

    One more link and that’s all, folks, Swar!

    A nice little review of the show, given to me by a message board friend. Plus a good pick of Paquin as Sookie.

    *tucks fangrrrl duds back in pocket*

  19. 19
    Elyssa says:

    I’m definitely watching this!  The ad they’re running on HBO just makes you want to see the show.  So creative and well done from the marketing angle.

  20. 20
    Silver James says:

    Please tell me that Elvis will be making cameos…

    That’s the only reason I kept reading the books.

  21. 21
    Button Bright says:

    phadem, I don’t like that review. It seems to take TrueBlood as the completely original work of the director—I quit reading halfway through, but as far as I could tell, it doesn’t mention the books anywhere. Gbleh.

  22. 22

    Damn it. I just let HBO go so I could take Showtime to watch Dexter and Weeds. The hubs is going to kill me when I retake HBO for TrueBlood.

    I ADORE Charlaine’s Sookie books. what to do what to do?

  23. 23
    Lene says:

    Eee! Isn’t that the same actor who is in Generation Kill? Yum yum yum!

  24. 24
    Cherrie Lynn says:

    True Blood will be the same day and time slot as Dexter! Aargh! Guess that means I’ll have to come out of the Dark Ages and get TiVo or something, but damn, why do all my shows air on Sunday nights? I HATE Sunday night. You have the whole freaking work week ahead and that sucks.

  25. 25
    Cat Grant says:

    Cherrie Lynn, check with your local cable service. Many of them, such as Comcast, have their own digital cable boxes complete with built-in hard-drive recorders. Comcast also has its own OnDemand service, which carries all the HBO and Showtime series, so you can watch them anytime you like.

  26. 26
    HaloKun says:

    I was lucky enough to be at Comic-Con and was SHOCKED when I saw that Charlaine Harris was going to be on a panel with Alan Ball, of all people, talking about TruBlood.

    All the Sookie fans in the room were skeptical to say the least, about Anna, and all the fanboys just wanted to know about X-Men, so they were all completely shocked when she walked out and..  I swear to goodness,..  looked strikingly like Sookie Stackhouse.

    Plus she would not stop batting her eyelashes at the man who plays Bill.  Which I kinda thought was cute.  I think the casting for Jason and Sam was completely and totally dead on!!

    Bill didn’t impress me but I think I need to see an episode before I judge.

    Let me warn all of you though, after the clips I have seen, and the information Alan Ball gave at the panel, the story and characters will be different.  But Charlaine assured the fans that although the series will be different from the books she thinks we will still really enjoy it…  hmmm… 

    Alan Ball has read a lot of the books and he loves Charlaine’s writing and he said he tried to keep the integrity of the world in tact.  That sounded like good news to me!

  27. 27
    Shanna says:

    HBO is now on iTunes so I’m hoping that the episodes will be available to download there. I sooo don’t want to subscribe to HBO just for True Blood.

  28. 28
    Cat Grant says:

    I didn’t know iTunes carried HBO shows. Cool!

    Of course, if you’ve got broadband internet, there’s always torrents…

  29. 29
    SonomaLass says:

    I expect this is going to be a lot like the t.v. series The Dresden Files, where the basic concept and central characters come from Jim Butcher’s books, but only some story elements are the same.  As a fan of both the books and the show, I enjoyed both and even appreciated some of the differences.

    I have really enjoyed the Sookie books; if Charlaine Harris likes the t.v. version (and not just the money), that’s a positive sign.  At least she’s involved—the really bad adaptations happen when the author gets paid for the rights but has no creative input on the filmed product.

    Me, I prefer an entertaining loosely based adaptation to a bad one that’s more faithful.  My rule of thumb is that “the book is always better than the movie” anyway.

  30. 30
    ehren says:

    I and a friend of mine ran into the BloodCopy site a while back. We were both so intrigued by what was going on cause it looked so strange and kinda freaky. We went to the site that is called Kindred or something like that and got to looking around on it, speculating what was going on. By the point I was concluding that this was a very excellent viral campaign, my friend was still speculating, but she caught on just about as quickly as I did.

  31. 31
    Kass says:

    I hope the series is better than the books. I can’t stand them.

  32. 32
    Tina C. says:

    We got rid of HBO because with the demise of Deadwood, we no longer had a reason to pay extra for a channel we barely watched.  (Bill Moehr just wasn’t enough to justify the expense, ya know?)  Now that Trueblood is finally a reality, though, I told the hubby that we need to subscribe again.  I just hope that it’s good, though, or I’m going to be very disappointed. 

    Marsha, Eric is being played by Alexander Skarsgard.

    Is it just me or does he really look a lot like Viggo Mortenson?  Maybe it’s just the picture.

  33. 33
    Alison says:

    I saw the print ads for these pictures in the latest Entertainment Weekly.

    I did a real live SQUEEEEEEEE!!!  My husband thinks I’m a dork, but this campaign is just genius.  BloodCopy is awesome.  Charlaine Harris is awesome.  HBO?  Yeah.  Awesome.  SQUEEEEEEEE!!!

  34. 34
    Trumystique says:

    I saw these on bus shelters in Philly and NYC. And think they are pretty slick. But I wonder what people who have never read the books think of the marketing? I was all excited explaining this to my sister and she looked at me like I was a big nerd.

    Tanya Huff said she liked the adaptation of her Vicki Nelson series. I actually like the casting and where this series is going. Its not completely faithful but its captures the spirit. Or maybe I am saying this because I am less of a fan. I dunno. Anyway who knew Lifetime could produce a quality product!

    Anyway I am reserving judgement and might order HBO and then cancel it. Butcher said he liked the adaptation of the Dresden Files. I love the novels but I hated the TV show and couldnt watch. How could you get rid of Bob, an all knowing smart ass skull who loves romance novels?

  35. 35
    Mary Lynn says:

    Damn you HBO! I’m going to have to subscribe again! GAAAAH!

    The transition from Six Feet Under to TrueBlood is a natural for Alan Ball it would seem! Looking forward to this show.

  36. 36
    Jen T says:

    Through nefarious means, I’ve actually seen the pilot to this—it was…rough. Definitely rough. They’ve actually recast a major recurring character that was added for the series (spunky best friend) and there were scenes missing but it wasn’t bad. Paquin was pretty good as Sookie, but she’ll definitely benefit by some time to settle into the road. The pacing was a bit off but that’s really something tightened up by editing, so we’ll see.

    And oh – it was very “OMG THIS IS HBO SEX SEX SEX”, in a Rome “Surprise! Penis!” kind of way.

    I’m really looking forward to Eric’s introduction, too. I’m a sucker for vampire shows, so I’ll watch it.

  37. 37

    I agree: BEST ADS EVER!  And, yet, like “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” I won’t be watching it.  No HBO and I’m not gonna spend the $$ to watch a show when…well…I should be writing instead! 😉

  38. 38
    phadem says:

    ButtonBright, you’re right:

    as far as I could tell, it doesn’t mention the books anywhere. Gbleh.

    That interview I linked doesn’t mention the books, which was an oversight by the writer. It’s one of the only mentions of the show I’ve seen that failed to give the books props. I simply enjoyed their description of the show itself, which is what they were reviewing, not the books.

    Harris has said that the show will be based on her books, but that Alan Ball has creative control. She also said that was fine with her….so I think in a lot of ways this will be both their creative efforts in the mix, but much of it will be coming from its director. I had no problem with his background being touted in that one review, and not the author or the books, possibly because the way they described the show was so much like the books. But then, I already know what this is all about, whereas someone who hasn’t picked up the books might not. A small mention of show origins would have been helpful to some, I’m sure.

  39. 39
    Flo says:

    I refuse to pay for HBO.  Just watch it online.  You’ll have to wait a day but usually they post the show up after it’s aired.

    Or you can embrace the torrenting world…

  40. 40
    Chicklet says:

    Dang, between Stellan Skarsgard in Mamma Mia! and his son Alexander in Generation Kill and TrueBlood, that family just owns me this summer.

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