The New York Times is running a story about product placement on steroids.
In the first episode of “Lovespring International,” a new comedy on the Lifetime channel about a dysfunctional dating service in Southern California, the owner of the agency storms into an office, furious at two employees.
“Do you know how many people have signed up for Perfectmatch.com in the last five minutes?” she barks. “1,623.”
In real life, Perfectmatch.com is a subscription-based online dating service with more than three million members. On “Lovespring International,” Perfectmatch.com will appear throughout the season as a faceless nemesis that is mentioned flatteringly as it steals clients from Lovespring.
Call it sponsorship, branded entertainment or product integration, but Perfectmatch’s deal with Lifetime is increasingly common in advertising — weaving the name of a product into a television show or film, not as an obvious ad, but as a distinct part of the story.
The deal weaves Perfectmatch.com into the storyline for the entire 13-episode run. In my view there’s more value in this deal than could be had by merely running TV spots during the show.