Case Study: AvatarLabs Bares Fangs With ‘True Blood’ Takeover Campaign


ADOTAS – I’m told I bare an uncanny resemblance to Alexander Skarsgard, who plays Eric the vampire on HBO’s “True Blood.” I ultimately find this weird because Skarsgard is Swedish (born in Stockholm) and I don’t have a drop of Swedish blood in my mutt heritage (closest I get is Ukraine). Of course that didn’t stop me from dressing up as Eric last Halloween. (My jaw looks swollen because of the cheap plastic fangs.)

I’ve watched a few episodes of “True Blood” here and there, but couldn’t find a time to make it a regular thing. The tri-color advertising campaign for the fourth season, however, really caught my eye on subway posters and busses. But that was nothing compared to the interactive homepage takeover campaign designed by AvatarLabs, designed with all kinds of social wonders to engage current fans and lure in the curious — like me. I was quite curious what I’d been missing out on.

AvatarLabs Case Study on rich media takeover campaign for “True Blood” Season 4 on HBO — check out the video and demo.


HBO partnered up with the full service digital agency AvatarLabs to develop and execute a marketing creative for the online marketing campaign to promote the Season 4 Premiere of HBO’s “True Blood.”


The goal of the TRUE BLOOD campaign was to not only drive awareness for the highly-anticipated fourth season, but to also empower and engage the show’s loyal and highly social fan base with a variety of interactive and social tools.

Campaign Execution

Utilizing a first-to-the-domestic-marketplace technology, the “Show Your True Colors” takeover offered the user the opportunity to select one of the three versions of key art, RED, WHITE or BLACK from any of the “controlling” rich media placements on the page. Instantaneously, the user could change every single ad unit and wallpaper on the page to his selected color of key art, creating an immersive, custom experience. Unlike standard takeovers of this variety, the user could change not only the wallpapers and skins; he could change every rich media and flash progressive unit on the page.

While the rich media unit served as the controller for the takeover ability, it also served as a social media hub. Included in the unit were sections dedicated to Twitter and Facebook, where users could engage with a live TRUE BOOD Twitter feed, or post pre-populated, editable Tweets to their personal feeds.  #TrueBlood became one of the top ten trending topics the night of the premiere.  In addition, users could click out of the ad to place themselves in a clip from the show with the “Immortalize Yourself” Facebook app.

“Every fan has their favorite characters — the ad placements were innovative in that fans were empowered to completely skin the page, choosing between three sets of characters,” commented AvatarLabs CEO and Chief Creative Officer Rex Cook. “Fans could not only change the wallpapers, but every rich media and progressive ad unit on the site’s homepage, which is unprecedented.  On top of that, the ads gave fans the tools to talk about their favorite show on Twitter, going so far as to provide pre-populated Tweets within the ad units. We were thrilled to be a part of such an innovative campaign.”

Different versions of this homepage takeover ran on a number of different publisher sites.  HBO, PHD, Mediamind and AvatarLabs worked closely with each individual publisher in order to create a seamless experience for every “True Blood” fan.


  • #TrueBlood became one of the top 10 trending topics the night of the premiere
  • One of three OMMA finalists for Best Rich Media Single Execution

Who Else Does Gavin Look Like?

Matt Smith, the current Doctor Who.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here