Gawker Media and the Blood Copy Campaign

By Matt Van Hoven 

Today NYC based Campfire and Gawker Media launched a campaign for HBO’s True Blood, a program about vampires becoming a part of society and everything that follows. In keeping up with the vampires-mashing-with-society theme, this campaign piece involves the editorial group of Gawker Media &#151 and an execution that further blurs the lines between advertising and editorial.

The What

Blood Copy is a blog that was created in concert with the first season premier, last year. The author, “Andrew” was a human who was interested in all things vampire until one day he sorta disappeared. Well, the campaign launch ended and the blog sorta went stale.

For the second season, which premiers in a couple weeks, Campfire wanted to kick the blog up a notch. And from an advertising POV there really isn’t a better vehicle than Gawker Media &#151 a company that owns a bunch of blogs that cover Sci-fi, celebrity, cars, media, sex and pretty much anything else a 20-50 year old human (well, and now vampire) would be interested in. But this was a job banners couldn’t handle, so they kicked it up a notch.


What it is, Yo
Famed Blood Copy blogger “Andrew” (previously ghost written by Campfire folk) has been resurrected (now ghost written by Gawker’s Megan Gilbert &#151 we’re told she’s on the marketing team). Apparently he was bitten by a vampire and now is one. “Lots of you have been asking about my new life as a vampire,” writes Andrew. “Understandable, I would’ve asked the same when I was still among the breathing. But honestly, folks, this isn’t about me. It’s about us. This strange new ball of rock just getting used to the idea that humans and vampires are sharing real estate.”

The blog has been wrapped in with the rest of Gawker’s content. “Gawker Media realized that they simply could not live (so to speak) without having on their roster of websites,” writes Andrew. “As of next week, we will officially be under the Gawker umbrella…”

So now the blog is for vampires who read Gawker (note: which don’t exist, so really the blog is a marketing piece &#151 you knew this, but we wanted to mention it lest you get excited and fall for the bait). But damnit, a world where vampires are real is what this whole thing is about &#151 it’s an extension of the Tru Blood campaign (no, I didn’t misspell that). Tru Blood is a synthetic blood product that vamps can drink so they don’t have to prey on humans. You might have seen TB delivery trucks cruising around last summer. It was nifty and didn’t encroach on that pesky editorial line.

They’re real, those vampires, and so that means they’re worth sacrificing what Gawker has become famous for. Oh wait, vampires are not real. But Gawker is real and now they’re pretending like vampires are real for money. Probably lots of it. But money is made of paper and so really it’s only as strong as the world’s faith in money &#151 kind of like a publication is only as strong in its readers faith in it.

I do think this thing serves as an indication of what we already know &#151 as we go forward we have to be ready for more of this, not for any other reason than to be aware. Whether it’s ads on magazine covers or more obvious product placement, the whole idea of the editorial line is going away. And why should there be one in the first place &#151 because where there’s eyeballs there’s advertisers and therefore money. And that’s what we’re all about. Right?

Oh, that and free speech. But isn’t it Gawker’s job to make fun of stuff like this? Who’s going to do it now that the likes of Hamilton Nolan, Ryan Tate and Alex Pareene (et al) have been effectively been silenced by their own paychecks. At a place where gossiping about your boss was once allowed, it seems the show may be ending &#151 at least the one we came to see.

Update: We spoke with a Gawker rep. who tells us that as of right now, Gawker’s portion of the campaign has not begun. That said, the story that’s on the top of BloodCopy dot com was written by the Campfire guys who don’t have to be as sensitive about making distinctions between editorial and advertising &#151 so the line, “Gawker Media realized that they simply could not live (so to speak) without having on their roster of websites. As of next week, we will officially be under the Gawker umbrella, joining sites such as Gawker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Lifehacker, Deadspin, Jezebel, and io9. Hope they can handle us,” deserves a large grain of salt.

Update 2: In light of AdAge’s coverage on Blogola, this is even more interesting.

More: “Separated at Birth: Rachel Maddow and Gawker’s Alex Pareene