If you’ve driven along Sunset Blvd. the past few days, you may have seen this:

Or if you’ve been walking in Times Square (burr), you may have seen this:

The billboards are actually covert ads for the midseason return of The CW’s Vampire Diaries, whose slogan is going to urge fans in the coming days to “Catch VD.” Yup, in between ads for The Disney Store and Mamma Mia, the network is recommending people to run out and get a venereal disease.*

Turns out the ads are just Phase One in a campaign to promote the show’s return on Jan. 27. Soon the text-only ads will be replaced by billboards showing this:

Annnnd that image doesn’t really make it better, does it?

This isn’t the first time The CW’s marketing department has pushed the envelope — remember the Parents Television Council jumping all over the network’s “OMFG” ads for Gossip Girl?

Or its “Menage a Tues” ads for Melrose Place?

Asked for comment, The CW’s spokesperson released this statement: “VD simply stands for Vampire Diaries, and anyone who thinks otherwise should probably get themselves checked out.”

* Though, wondering, do viewers in CW’s youthful demo really call catching something “VD”? I mean, if The CW show was titled, um, Sexy Transylvania Diaries, that might work even better.

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The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.

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