YouTube series, “Carmilla” offers young adults drama and suspense, with brand advertising

Kimberly Clark is an Irving, Texas-based, global corporation that provides a wide range of products. Products such as diaper brand Huggies, Kleenex,  Scott and Cottonelle toilet paper, and feminine care products such as Kotex.  The Wall Street Journal’s Mike Shields recently reported on the company’s recent wrap for filming the third season of their YouTube series, “Carmilla.”

Each season of “Carmilla” is 36 mini episodes. It is based on a vampire inspired novella written by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. A viewer may mistake for any other young adult drama currently on television.  Setting “Carmilla” apart is the fact that it was spearheaded by Shift2, an entertainment agency based out of Toronto that helps marketers connect with millennials. It is entirely funded by Kimberly-Clark, with subtle product placement of the U by Kotex brand of feminine care products.

A unique play by a product giant in order to connect with millennials, a demographic that is challenging to woo and difficult to reach.  Yet, not only has Kimberly Clark figured out how to reach them, so far there have been 72 episodes released, none longer than six minutes.  The episodes, all available on YouTube, collectively have more than 43 million views and Kimberly Clark has spent no money on advertising to promote the series.  With no advertising, the average viewership of 150,00 unique viewers is remarkable.

The cost of production for the full 36-episode season is less than $1 million; cheaper than a single television show, and less expensive than a national advertising campaign while reaching a massive audience.  While still a relatively new experiment, it is difficult to identify the financial benefit of “Carmilla”.  Yet, Jay Gottleib, president of adult and feminine care at Kimberly-Clark celebrates the positive return on investment and an increase in purchase intent.

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