From CNN's Carol Costello and Bob Ruff
There’s nothing new about Dracula.
The notion of vampires was around even well before Bram Stoker’s now century-old novel about Count Dracula. But Stoker’s 1897 book gets credit for popularizing and stoking our fascination with things “vampire.”
So did Bela Lugosi, whose frightening 1931 portrayal of the Count marked Hollywood’s first take on the the now famous vampire from the Transylvania-Moldavia part of eastern Europe.
There have been countless vampire movies since Lugosi’s, including the star studded “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” headed by Tom Cruise.
But neither Dracula, Bela Lugosi, or even Tom Cruise could have imagined how HBO is promoting its hit new series on vampires, “True Blood.” (CNN and HBO share the parent company Time Warner)
So, what’s HBO up to?
They’re advertising for sale bottles of a synthetic blood called “Tru Blood”. Well, not exactly. The ads actually are fake. But if you go to their Web site it sure looks like you can order up a bottle or two. Most people get the joke—it’s all a way to get people to watch the series—but some bloggers wondered.
“Energyfiend” blogged that “...I looked all OVER the place. I thought it was like a juice or energy drink...”
And “Anemic Stitch" writes: “(It’s) very disappointing to learn that this was all just a sick joke....”
HBO’s advertising head, Courteney Moore says “the goal certainly is not to deceive anyone, but if somebody takes a second look to get it, that’s great too, because I think then you know it’s so hard to break through with your messages in such a cluttered market place.”
Companies have taken notice of the “True Blood” beverage campaign. Just this week several of them partnered up with HBO to advertise their products in a way that seems as though vampires really crave what’s in the ads.
Gillette advertises a “DEADSEXY RAZOR” for “VAMPIRES WHO PREFER THE FUSION SHAVE.”
BMW’S mini-cooper is running ads for vampires who want to “FEEL THE WIND IN YOUR FANGS.”
Harley-Davidson, monster.com, and several others have also joined the fun. All the ads point readers to one of HBO’s “True Love” Web sites.
Advertising Age’s Andrew Hampp says that “if any of this awareness of these fake ads drives actual ratings...to the show, I think it’s all...good.”
And in the cluttered world of television, any buzz is good buzz.