Innovative marketing hooks bloodthirsty viewers

I’ll admit, I’m a little slow about getting on any wagons, band- or otherwise. The idea of a rickety structure (read: plot decided on by marketing strategists who only want to whore the show for as much as they can merchandise) covered in hay and distressed paint to make it look legitimate and authentic to the delight of the masses isn’t my cup of tea.

I’m used to getting into a show long after it’s been consigned to DVD and every iterate of its “special edition” has come out.

I didn’t get into any Joss Whedon shows until they’d either run their lifespan (“Buffy,” “Angel”) or had been kicked off the air and made into movies for the die-hard fans, making a killing (“Firefly”).

By the time I signed on to “Scrubs,” I was too busy watching the series from the beginning to even hope to catch up to the new episodes coming out. Luckily, most of season seven sucked, so I didn’t miss much while I was missing much, if you get my meaning.

However, I am a subscriber to Entertainment Weekly, and when I started seeing these viral campaigns for the new HBO series “True Blood,” I was reminded of the staggering success the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight” experienced after its huge underground viral marketing movement. (For a really fantastic showcase, go to superherohype.com and search “‘The Dark Knight’ viral campaign.”)

“True Blood” started taking out advertisements in many major magazines for one of the show’s creations, a synthetic blood beverage called TruBlood. There was even a Web site or two about the “product,” even though they lacked any sort of ordering process. Sorry goth kids, you’re just going to have to keep making do with red wine and Kool-Aid. HBO even put out political ads urging citizens to either support or oppose the “Vampire Rights Amendment.”

I’m telling you, though, it wasn’t until I saw these ads that I even knew a new show was coming out right under our noses. That’s the way to do it, if you ask me. I missed the premiere of the first episode, but came in on number two. I was hooked from the opening credits.

Jace Everett’s “Bad Things” and a truly stunning montage of southern gothic film clips along with some edgy erotic shots make for one slick opening. And it just got better from there.

I’m not a fan of “Twilight” at all. I think it’s a bunch of over-fluffed pre-teen angst and sexual frustration with weak writing and a campy plotline, and all you Meyersites can shove a dazzling stake right up your collective asses.

For the vampophile who’s too damn old for “Twilight” but not bored enough for Anne Rice, step right up and meet your perfect match: Finally, a writer who recognizes the idea that vampires have always had sexual connotations.

I like the writing for several reasons, but I think the best one is that it knows when to mock itself. When a scene is getting too clichéd or campy, somebody says something like “Bill? Your name’s Bill? I thought it’d be Antoine or Langston or something like that. Bill?” or “I wish Buffy or Blade were here.”

I like a show that pokes fun at its roots. Also, Stephen Moyer is damn hot. Props to that makeup artist.

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, HBO