HBO Promotes ‘Rome’ in Catfight Style

It’s been about a year since celebrity gossip fans started wearing those “Team Aniston”/”Team Jolie” slogans. If you read TMZ or PerezHilton.com, you know the ones. The tongue-in-cheek (or at least one would hope) shirts let you proclaim your allegiance in the now-legendary celeb catfight.

Running with the concept, HBO and its agency Deep Focus have created a quirky online/offline campaign for the second season of “Rome,” a chariots-of-lust historical drama that focuses on the Empire’s bit players. And the girls in this campaign aren’t fighting over Brad Pitt, but Caesar himself.

The campaign centers around Servilia and Atia, the two principal female characters of the show, whose mutual conniving was the principle subject of the first season. “Team Atia” and “Team Servilia” t-shirts are now being given away in New York boutiques and advertised via a Blogads campaign and prime spots on several gossip blogs. Several bloggers were also given shirts they could in turn offer to readers.

The shirts are printed with a URL, either TeamServilia.com or TeamAtia.com, which redirects to a catfight-themed Web site at atia-vs-servilia.com. The blog ad buys also push users to the site.

“It’s taking a different approach to a show that takes place in a different [moment in history],” said Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus. “These women manipulate situations to their advantage,” he said, not unlike certain contemporary U.S. celebrities. The site aims to engage visitors with various interactive features, including a video timeline of the feud between Servilia and Atia, a poll asking which woman is the more ruthless and naturally, a contest to win the shirt. The campaign launched November 20 to coincide with HBO’s outdoor campaign for Rome.

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