Arguably the most exciting premiere of the summer has been HBO’s True Blood. There are multiple eye-gripping storylines that make you forget there was a year between season four and the recently-launched season five. The show’s passionate community has been tapped by HBO’s social efforts since the beginning. We spoke with HBO Vice President of Social Media and Performance Marketing, Sabrina Caluori about their social TV strategy for season five.
HBO’s content is more accessible than ever. Last year True Blood was one of the first shows to debut on tablets and now HBO Go is available on so many platforms that it’s pretty easy to catch up. HBO’s social team has also been ramping up their use of HBO Connect to get talent deeply involved in social TV mix. They also became the first brand to launch a Klout Brand Squad Page.
They used the genius idea of “Makers Day” to encourage binge watching of season four and Mothers-day type social activity where everyone was thanking their “maker” (if you’re not a Truebie, a maker is the person who turned you into a vampire).
Lost Remote: How did your social TV strategy differ for the new season of True Blood?
Sabrina Caluori: This season, we partnered with groups across the network including the show’s creative team and cast to create a brand new holiday – Maker’s Day. The campaign featured a series of social media tactics designed to generate excitement and conversation on the day of premiere. Here are some highlights:
- What’s Maker’s Day? Watch this spot that aired on the network and online generating awareness of this special holiday.
- Every “Truebie” has a Maker. At MakersDay.com, a mobile-optimized Facebook application, fans can find out when they were “Turned” and send a personalized thank you card to their Maker.
- MakersDay.com also featured a Tweet To Unlock. When fans tweeted #MakersDay a total of 100,000 times, we unlocked the script pages for a full scene in advance of the episode.
- On #MakersDay we encouraged binge watching of Season 4 with live Twitter commentaries tied to an all-day marathon on HBO Connect. Commentaries included Suzuki Ingerslev, Audrey Fisher and True-Blood.net.
- Deborah Ann Wohl, who stars as Jessica live-tweeted the Season 5 premiere on HBO Connect further adding to the social media engagement around the show.
- Finally, immediately following the East Coast season premiere, we revealed that Rutina Wesley would do a live Q&A on HBO Connect the next day to discuss her recent character evolution.
LR: Are you working with any new partners? Any new platforms?
Caluori: We were the first entertainment brand to launch a Klout brand squad page. We launched in late May to drive awareness among fans of the Season 4 DVD. The Top 10 True Blood influencers actually received the Blu-Ray BEFORE street date.
LR: How is HBO Connect going to be used for the new season?
Caluori: HBO Connect is the conversation hub for the series. Want to know what the Twittersphere is saying about Sunday’s episode? How about the cast? Or your Friends? Find out. And, we’re not done yet. We have a few more tricks up our sleeves. Look for some new events around Comic-Con and as the season progresses.
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