Inside "Life on the outside"

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San Francisco's Venables, Bell & Partners is out with its latest series of persuasively clever but low-key print ads touting HBO's Oz on DVD, which makes us wonder just why the ads are so restrained when the series is so totally not. "The strategy behind this is we need to remind people just how intense and graphic this show is, but without using gratuitous violence and sex," explains CD Paul Venables. "The trick on HBO Home Video is to get people excited about the show, but not by using the show. The pitfall of using the show in that fashion is it comes off as another tune-in ad. And we're selling the DVD, in many cases to people who don't tune in - a lot of the consumer base for the DVD collections is people who don't get HBO. So we always avoid creative that looks like a trailer or a teaser poster. In addition, HBO believes its advertising should not contain gratuitous sex and violence, because the shows are smarter than that, and seeing ads isn't voluntary." Great. But we still can't bend over in the shower anymore.

Client: HBO Home Video Agency: Venables, Bell & Partners CDs: Paul Venables, Greg Bell AD: Crystal English CW: Eric Liebhauser Photographer: Craig Cutler

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