True Advertising Blood: spreading fictional universes

Raúl Rodríguez Ferrándiz

Abstract

This article discusses the concept of transmedia storytelling in its advertising dimension. In a way, transmedia narratives, that is, the fictional plots spreading across multiple but synergistic delivery channels (print, film, television) were first used in advertising, forced itself to transmigrate due to its lack of a single and exclusive medium and in exchange to the will of colonizing all of them. Today it is the fictional cultural product that returns its debt to advertising: fictional universes are frameworks conducive for consumption, not only of the industrial culture itself, in any media, but of a whole string of brands clustered around the fictional narrative. We analyze in detail this phenomenon in a very recent American television series, True Blood (HBO, 2008), still on the air, and across the fictional universe that surrounds it. The difference between cultural products and the adverts promoting them, as Adorno already foresaw, is dissolved in an ongoing cross-promotion, which also tends to mask the boundaries between corporate strategies and fandom tactical activity.

Keywords

transmedia storytelling; True Blood; advertising; fiction; corporate strategies; fandom tactics

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