LA Times Features True Blood in Special Friday Edition

June 13, 2009 by  

la-true-bloodSandy Cohen from Associated Press reports that Alan Ball‘s hit HBO TV series True Blood is taking the media outlets by storm in particular the LATimes as news spreads regarding the return of season 2 on Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 9PM/ET on HBO. Here is her article about the massive ad campaign for True Blood in the LA Times.

Vampires have taken over the Los Angeles Times.

Beneath the masthead of Friday print editions is a full front-page ad for the HBO‘s series “True Blood.” A black-and-white close-up of star Stephen Moyer with blood dripping from the corner of his mouth dominates the page.

In news boxes around town, all that’s visible is the close-up of actor’s menacing gaze and the paper’s banner splayed across the top. No other stories or photos appear on the cover, which is actually a separate four-page broadsheet touting Sunday’s premiere of the show’s second season.

Readers remove the wrap to find the regular front page, anchored by the Lakers’ NBA Finals win over the Magic on Thursday night in Orlando. Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan says it’s the first time the newspaper put its masthead above an advertisement wrapping the paper.

“One of the things for us is that innovation is pretty crucial in both a challenged and cluttered marketplace,” Sullivan said. “HBO came to the Times to break through that clutter, and the result is what you see today.”

Zach Enterlin, HBO‘s vice president of advertising and promotions, said HBO had placed front-page ads with Hollywood trade publications in the past, but jumped at the chance to do the same with the Times.

“We saw it as a fantastic opportunity to speak to a consumer audience in an innovative way,” he said.

The Times announced in 2007 that it would begin considering front-page advertisements. Ads at the bottom of the cover have appeared in the paper for more than a year, including in April, when the paper ran an ad for the NBC show “Southland” that resembled a news column and occupied traditional news space.

Sullivan said future front-page wraps were a “distinct possibility.”

The Times worked with HBO to ensure “the right fit” for the front-page wrapper, Sullivan said, adding that the paper “certainly weighs decisions about innovative advertising with all constituencies in mind,” including readers and advertisers.

The “Southland” advertisement in April brought criticism from those who thought it could confuse readers about what really was news. Robert Niles, a former journalism instructor at the University of Southern California who still edits the school’s journalism review, said the full front-page ad Friday is “a sign of just utter surrender by the Times that they wouldn’t think people would be freaked out by this.”

“It’s a pretty dangerous road to go down for any news organization to actually sell advertising that covers up your news reporting,” he said. “It really shows a lack of respect for the audience and a lack of confidence in your editorial product.”

Like all U.S. newspapers, the Times is struggling as advertising revenues crater, readers cancel their subscriptions and a growing number of people get their news free on the Internet.

Sullivan declined to discuss how much the paper charged for the ad.

SOURCE: Sandy Cohen/Associated Press via
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