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Good Marketing that Really Sucks

Posted on | October 2, 2009 | No Comments

By Robert Passikoff
Everywhere you look the overbite is back in fashion. This time coming with more than just incisors in an extra-long and a strong distaste for garlic.

Today’s vampire culture has evolved into a buff crowd of populars, seemingly as interested in cool couture as they are in blood donations. True Blood, the smash-hit series for HBO revolving around this new brand-conscious vampire will have some competition this fall when the CW Network debuts The Vampire Diaries–a series that promises to deliver the same fashion bite that modern viewers have found irresistible.

It’s interesting to ponder the changes to the vampire “category” over time. Clearly today’s vampire brands are responding to something shifting in the consumer landscape, as the musty bad-guy played by Bela Lugosi has given way to the chic morally-ambiguous nocturnal, mmmmmm of True Blood fame. This new version of blood-sucker embodies many positive associations with the night, such as a taste for glamour and parties, and their accompanying youth. As society agrees less and less on right and wrong, the vampire keeps pace–choosing to drink artificial blood rather than initiate the innocent.

The shift in the way brands reach out to viewers–who are also consumers– has led to some unusual offerings in the marketplace, not the least of which is a drink meant to be sucked down, possibly with your favorite spirit. “Tru:Blood,” a blood-orange drink now available, is an exact replica of that used on the show, and comes in A, B O-Positive and other flavors–bringing a new level of meaning to product placement as it migrates from TV to reality instead of the other way around.



As marketers scramble to maximize profits off the un-dead, it remains to be seen just how much of a stake consumers will want in the products that rise out of them. But then, stranger things have happened. As we’ve learned watching the vampire myth survive death more than once, we have a thirst for both the sexy and the macabre–a combination perfect for today’s vampires with taste.

Robert Passikoff is founder of Brand Keys Inc. (New York), a brand and customer loyalty consultancy. He can be reached at 212-532-6028, x12, or


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