'Catch VD': Does the new 'Vampire Diaries' ad campaign send the wrong message?

catch-vd-billboard.jpgWhen we spotted the "Catch VD" billboard looming over Sunset Blvd on our way home from the Zap2it offices this week, we joked that it might be a "Vampire Diaries" marketing campaign. We didn't think we'd actually be right.

In case you didn't know, VD generally stands for Venereal Disease, which is what people our parents' age used to call STDs.

We're not sure what generation The CW's marketing department is trying to target. Probably the Parents' Television Council, who have been paying a little too much attention to MTV lately. Maybe The CW got jealous?

EW learned today that approaching the Jan. 27 "Vampire Diaries" premiere, the blank billboards will be replaced with giant photos of series leads Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, and Ian Somerhalder sweaty and tangled together in bed, like the photo below.

Thumbnail image for vamp-diaries-hot-blooded.gifYeah... we don't care how crazy hot Paul, Nina, and Ian are. Even they can't make chlamydia sexy.

Had the "Catch VD" posters popped up during the first season of the show, we might have been amused. A year and a half later, though, the joke is already tired. We've all heard it -- again, mostly from our parents, who found it totally hilarious -- and moved on from there. Fans on Twitter and blogs refer to it as "TVD," not "VD."

Plus, it's kind of... yucky, for lack of a more adult term. In West Hollywood, which is chock-full of ads and billboards encouraging young people to get tested and protect themselves, the "Catch VD" sign feels like it's just trying to be shocking for the sake of being shocking.

The majority of fan response we've seen has been negative. Some find it tasteless, some find it offensive, some find it sends the wrong message to those delicate teenage minds who might just start thinking that burning, itching feeling will make them more attractive to a vampire. Some just plain don't get it.

When asked for comment, the CW says, "VD simply stands for 'Vampire Diaries,' and anyone who thinks otherwise should probably get themselves checked out."

Oh. How clever.

Your move, PTC. You know, when you get bored of those "Skins" kids.

Vamp fans, chime in in the comments below. Did you laugh? Did you grimace? Did you look up "VD"?
Photo/Video credit: Tierney Bricker