All right, so a bunch of bloody stakes in a billboard promoting BBC’s new series Dracula makes sense. Dracula is a vampire. Vampires hate wooden stakes through the chest. There’s nothing else to cover, right?
BBC Creative, the in-house agency for the BBC, decided that because the series is aiming to be a fresh and unusual take on Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale, the marketing campaign should follow suit. The agency opted for an out-of-home (OOH) advertising effort, putting up two billboards: one in London and one in Birmingham. In daylight, each billboard displays the quintessential tools to use against the undead monster, along with a a glass case below containing another sharpened stake and the phrase “In case of vampires break glass.”
The billboard isn’t particularly spooky, despite the bloody stakes, though the imagery is spot on. But when the billboard truly shines is at night … literally and figuratively.
Once the sun goes down, a light attached to the side of the billboard gradually turns on, revealing that the stakes have been placed in such a way that Dracula appears in the shadow.
This BBC advertising for Dracula is genius. A series of bloody stakes protruding from a billboard. Seemingly random, until darkness falls and they begin to cast a shadow. Fabulous. pic.twitter.com/84aIl7o97r
— Alex Andreou (@sturdyAlex) January 3, 2020
Olly Harnett, creative head at BBC Creative remarked upon the billboards: “Our campaign for Dracula leaves the audience in no doubt they can expect something fresh and unexpected from this extraordinary adaptation of the vampire classic. Our unique campaign is one of the most ambitious special builds we’ve ever undertaken — by day, a random assortment of stakes hammered into a billboard but by night, transformed, as the Count springs to life in the form of a looming shadow.”
Regarding the full campaign, BBC One’s Head of Marketing, Chris Hooper, said, “Coming from the makers of Sherlock, this version of Dracula is laced with dark humor and rock star swagger. We wanted our campaign to reflect Steven [Moffat] and Mark [Gatiss]’s fresh take on a classic character, so each element has been designed to surprise …”
Marketers what do you think of these billboards? Do you think they will entice BBC’s current audience to watch, as well as attract new viewers? Leave a comment below!