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Fans Inject HBO's True Blood Into Social Networks

  |  June 17, 2011   |  Comments

Facebook interactive video app teases upcoming season of vampire drama.

truebloodHBO has given fans of its vampire drama "True Blood" an interactive video on Facebook in order to appease their hunger - and tease the debut of its fourth season later this month.

The "Immortalize Yourself" app enables True Blood's 7.8 million fans to create videos that pull in their names and profile photos, as well as those of their friends, into a faux scene intended to bridge Seasons 3 and 4.

As of Thursday, nearly 90,000 videos have been created, according to Sabrina Caluori, director of marketing and social media at HBO. The show has also gained more than 35,000 Facebook fans as a result of the campaign.

When a fan initially opts to "Immortalize" herself, the app randomly selects friends and auto-populates names and profile photos into scenes throughout the video such as True Blood's opening credits, a newspaper read by Vampire Eric, Vampire Pam's foreign dialogue, as well as the "Psychic" poster and collection of photos on the wall behind the register at a restautant.

After viewing it, fans have the option of choosing which friends they want to include based on a series of questions like, "Which friends haven't you seen in awhile?" "Which friend can hear your thoughts?" and "Which friends are your 'Truebie' friends?" But, as with many apps, in order to personalize the video content, users must first "like" True Blood's Facebook page.

The promotion began on May 31 and the app will be available throughout the show's fourth season, which premieres June 26.

"The video for the 'Immortalize Yourself' app was written and produced specifically for this promotion with the participation of the cast and crew of the series," said Caluori. "It is designed to bridge the end of season three to the season four premiere. The video was edited by HBO Creative Services, who also wrote the script." Marketing agency Definition 6 built the app.

According to Caluori, HBO has "encouraged and celebrated the passion and dedication of True Blood fans" through its social media efforts over the last three seasons.

"This year, we wanted to give them what they've always wanted, a chance to participate in the actual world of the show," she said. "By using Facebook's technology we were able to simulate a personalized experience for every fan. I mean, who doesn't want to get a message from Eric?"

While the app's primary purpose is to drive awareness of the season four premiere date, Caluori said HBO also sees its series campaigns as opportunities to reward dedicated fans and create tactics that allow them to engage with the series in a unique way.

"The Facebook app allows us to reach people we already know are True Blood fans, but also let them act as evangelists for the show through their own social networks," she added.

HBO has been promoting the Immortalize Yourself app on Facebook, Twitter, HBO.com and through publicity outreach. In addition, fans are able to easily share the app on Facebook and Twitter or via email.

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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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