As a marketing campaign for feminine-hygiene products, Carmilla is about as far away as it’s possible to get from young women in white trousers bouncing on trampolines.
Which may well be why Shaftsbury’s digital branded entertainment series that subtly promotes Kimberly-Clark’s U By Kotex has become cult viewing, clocked up 71 million views in 193 countries, spawned a feature film, a book deal and a primetime series and been named as MIPTV 2018 Brand Content Of The Year.
Carmilla stars Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis are in Cannes for this morning’s award presentation, which takes place during the Carmilla Keynote Showcase.
Talking exclusively to MIPTV News, Negovanlis said she was drawn to the project from the moment she saw the script: “I loved there was a female producer, a female writer [Jordan Hall] and multiple female roles — and I loved that none of the characters were described as ‘pretty’ or ‘fun-loving’. Plus, I always wanted to play a lesbian and I always wanted to play vampire, so Carmilla killed two birds with one stone.”
A modern spin on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Gothic vampire novella, Shaftsbury’s transmedia series follows the adventures of a student-turned-journalist called Laura, and her girlfriend — a vampire-turned-human-turned-vampire called Carmilla.
Bauman, who plays Laura, praised Kimberly-Clark for having the courage to tell a story that would scare many brands — and for telling it unapologetically and authentically. “I normally see things from our fans’ perspective, so it’s been interesting to see Carmilla’s impact on the marketing world,” she said.
“One of the things I’ve realised is that there’s a conventional way of telling unconventional stories. If you blend the worlds of marketing and art, you can create something very special that has the power to improve lives.”
But only if it’s the right fit, Negovanlis added: “You can’t take any old brand and stick it in any old story. Millennials are so aware when they’re being sold something and they don’t want to feel they’re watching a commercial. We want to tell our stories in our own way.”
This article was written by Jo Stevens for MIPTV News magazine, and edited by Kristine Clifford. Read all MIPTV publications online here…