Vampires and menstruation have a long history in pop culture. The original Dracula tale has been interpreted as a commentary on female menstruation and some historians have put the two together going all the way back to ancient Greece. More recently, despite its G-rated version of vampirism, the Twilight saga has raised questions about Bella’s periods and even inspired fan fiction on the topic.
But while the subject piques the interest of a curious fanbase, it might seems like dangerous ground for commercial interests. Not so, says one feminine products brand that has been so successful in hitching itself to vampires that it’s doubling down on the genre.
The brand is Kimberly-Clark’s U by Kotex and the vampires in question are found in the Canadian web series Carmilla, which it sponsors—and just renewed—on the VervegirlTV YouTube channel. [more]
The show—adapted from a novella and completely underwritten by Kotex and based on the 1871 Gothic novel of the same name—just wrapped its first 36-episode season with a final episode that’s been viewed close to 290,000 times. In total, the series has pulled in millions of views and cultivated a cult following.
It’s not just the bold move to sponsor Carmilla that makes Kotex’s deal work. The brand has played it smart too. It is using its social media channels to promote the show. Even better, it was patient and did not announce or roll out its Carmilla tie-in until after the first episodes had aired and an audience had been established based on the content.
For its part, Kotex has not been an integral part of the show—no overt product placement, for example—but instead has worked with the cast to produce tie-in videos that directly address both the product and the production. For example, “Do Vampires Get Their Periods?”
Over 111,000 viewers have watched that video alone, which is certainly one of the reasons Kotex recently announced it will sponsor season two of the series.
“U by Kotex decided to continue its sponsorship of the series primarily because we felt Carmilla and U by Kotex are a perfect fit, a bold brand and a bold series coming together to have a real and honest conversation about periods,” Denise Darroch, brand manager for Kotex’s Adult and Feminine Care business in Canada, told brandchannel.
If any feminine hygiene brand is going to engage millennials with a bit of a wink, it’s not surprising that it’s Kotex, which has been wooing what it calls “Generation Know” with its frank and funny campaigns.
In addition to its Save the Undies campaign, for example, it was just last year that the brand put together a millions-of-views viral sensation with its cynical but honest “Reality Check” ads that finally said what all young women think about conventional menstruation product messaging.
Darroch added that Carmilla is a perfect way to reach young women and talk about a deeply personal subject that is too often addressed through painfully silly broad messaging. “We not only get to talk about it and bring normalcy to a sometimes taboo subject, we get to do this in such fun, witty and engaging way.”
And in an added bonus, the series has also attracted a gay following, with the LGBT community a longtime supporter of vampires, including helping Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles become a massive success.
— AfterEllen.com (@afterellen) December 9, 2014