True Blood


by David Tomaszewski , published on 23.09.2009

The TV series TRUE BLOOD, whose 2nd season is coming to an end these days, is an adaptation of a series of novels by Charlaine Harris entitled Sookie Stackhouse (after the eponymous heroine). The script is by Academy Award-winning Alan Ball, the man who wrote American Beauty and the TV series Six Feet Under, a small-screen masterpiece that ran for 5 brilliant seasons on HBO (the channel on which TRUE BLOOD is showing).

Although TRUE BLOOD was initially conceived purely as a TV series, it gradually ended up putting interesting content on the web, creating a thoroughgoing transmedia environment well beyond the confines of viral marketing alone.

At first we saw ads cropping up on the Web launching a new product called TRU BLOOD (sans “E”), a beverage made from synthetic blood. And it comes in every blood group. Naturally, the drink is only for sale in the universe of the series. These ads, creative little gems in the form of trailers, quickly make it clear to us that this is all about vampires, and that the point of TRU BLOOD is to mollify a large part of the population hitherto obliged to bite poor innocent victims in the neck and suck their blood. Now they have an alternative:

The various episodes of the series rolled out in parallel with a bunch of websites closely linked to its universe:

- The site of the American Vampire League – or AVL for short – an important political organization headed by Nan Flanagan, champion of the vampires’ cause, who, in the TV series, gives occasional interviews on newscasts. To view an excerpt from a Nan Flanagan interview:

The site features a number of articles and videos, particularly preventive films and interviews with ex-junkies formerly addicted to “V”, an illegal drug which is nothing other than vampire blood:

- Another site is diametrically opposed: that of the Church of the Fellowship of the Sun, a sort of cult, visibly inspired by the Roman Catholic Church, which presents its radically anti-vampire stance in unabashedly racist terms.

We will discover what it’s all about later on in subsequent TV episodes: the leaders of the Fellowship become staple characters in the series:

- A dating site (along the lines of Meetic or targeting vampires and their admirers (aka “fangbangers”):

If you happen to be a vampire looking for a room and a coffin to sleep in by day:

All the characters in the series have Facebook accounts, by the way, and you can also follow their ups and downs and daily doings on their Twitter.

Only a few weeks ago, it was officially announced that the beverage TRU BLOOD is now available at all supermarkets, grocery stores and service stations in the US:

Although these bottles sadly contain no blood (but blood orange), so we’re likely to consider it a simple but brilliant piece of marketing hype, TRUE BLOOD reflects a real desire to inject this fantastic universe, through various media, into our real-life world, which turns out to be a rather amusing diversion in the more or less ordinary lives of viewers.

Last but not least, TRUE BLOOD takes an interesting look at intolerance, racism and homophobia, presenting vampires as a minority that is still feared and despised.