One of my all time favourite TV show marketing campaigns was created for the V: The TV Series (1983). This is a show about a lizard alien nation that comes to Earth to take over the planet but they can’t just make a straightforward attack, so they first need to infiltrate our world, put on masks that make them look just like us and pretend to be our allies which they do through propaganda.
An example of the alien propaganda is seen above, with sentences like “Friendship is universal”. But some humans realised pretty quickly that it’s all lies so they formed a group of rebels to fight against the alien invasion, the so called “Visitors”. One of their actions is to use red spray paint to write on the propaganda posters a large ‘V’. (NOTE: This a product of the cold war, the show itself is anti-Communist propaganda, the themes, the removing individuality, the colour red, the speeches and dialogues of the aliens, even the fact that they are from somewhere else and lizards is all some sort of subliminal message).
The marketing campaign for this show was to place posters all over New York City and in the underground with no indication whatsoever what it was selling, posters just like the one above. A few days later, all posters had been vandalised with a large ‘V’ on them and soon after the announcement of the new TV show coming to NBC was made.
- V: IMDB Page http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085106/?ref_=tt_rec_tti
- Johnson, Allan (August 12, 1996). “”V”: It was a different kind of mini-series when NBC first…”. Chicago Tribune.