HBO sought to develop innovative promotions to fuel anticipation for the fourth season "True Blood" that would ignite the show's rabid fan base. The promotion's target audience was both male and female, ages 18-49. This included both the likes of "Truebies," pre-existing devout fans of the show and "newbies," potential new viewers who likely already have an affinity for vampire genre entertainment.
To drum up buzz, HBO put its fan base inside a minisode of True Blood. Titled "Immortalize Yourself," the application allowed users to enter the show through an interactive video sequence. By answering a few simple questions and connecting the app to their social graph, users appeared throughout the original video content right alongside the True Blood cast. They could become the topic of conversation at Merlotte's, the center of a scene with Eric and Pam, or the spelling bee champion in the newspaper. And when videos were completed, fans could share with friends on Facebook.
"Immortalize Yourself" gave a personal connection to the cast of True Blood, and artfully hinted at storylines for the upcoming season. While the video content HBO disseminated to its other sources, like the True Blood YouTube Channel or HBO Connect, had recaps and teasers, the "Immortalize Yourself" application was the only outlet to provide a sneak peak of what was to come, ensuring that users wouldn't just make videos, but watch them too.
Here's one fan-created clip that earned about 5,000 views on YouTube since being uploaded in June 2011:
The True Blood Facebook page grew to 9 million fans by the end of the summer, an increase of 10.25% during the season. The Immortalize Yourself Facebook application generated more than 1 million unique visits. Fans generated over 226,000 unique videos, all garnering nearly half a million views.
Klout, a "social media measure of influence," labeled True Blood number 1 among its 10 Most Influential TV Shows.