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Advertising Goes Guerrilla


Promotions in the unlikeliest of places.

Advertisements for a grotesque new energy drink, called TruBlood, have everyone eager to grow fangs and become a vampire. Maybe you've seen them: Ultra-slick matte-black spots for a beverage that taste just like real human blood, available in a variety of blood types - and gory enough to make any right-thinking person question their sanity.
But those who dared to check the website were relieved to learn the beverage isn't actually made from real live arterial spray - just an alarming-looking low-carb alternative. The ads were part of HBO's (TWX) guerrilla marketing campaign for True Blood, its campy new vampire series.
After sucking us dry with traditional spots for so long, advertisers are finally recognizing we've become immune to their bite. And channel-surfing, along with technologies like TiVo (TIVO) and DirecTV (DTV) -- which allow viewers to fast-forward through every one of those annoying commercials -- mean that they have to find ever weirder and more in-your-face ways to shill their products.
The New York Times reports that marketing firms spent $7.3 billion last year on outdoor promotions; roughly 16% of that number fell into the "alternative" category, which covers ads not on billboards or bus stops.
Regardless of whether you call them alternative, gonzo, or guerrilla, advertisers are taking increasingly desperate measures to get you to buy - sometimes with mixed results.

When 20 cartoon moon-men landed on the sides of buildings in Boston, many officials rushed to protect the city from what it feared was a bomb threat - if not outright interplanetary invasion.
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