Fashion Victim: Primetime Product Placement Deals

Program alert: Fashionistas may be having trouble this season placing groovy new fashions on TV programs.

Today's story in The Wall Street Journal suggests that with "Sex and the City" and "Friends" now off the air - in first-run production, anyway - there are fewer shows to do product placement on the most obvious of TV places: hard-bodied characters.

Fashion designers need high fashion shows to display cool threads, and hopefully, lift sales. "Sex and the City" took fashion placement to new levels, as character Carrie Bradshaw's duds were part of the storyline throughout its history. I guess "King of Queens" simply won't do.

Clothes on the show were talked out by viewers because Sarah Jessica Parker's Bradshaw character had all the fashion plate qualities: an urban New York City writer with disposable income for clothes (but no savings). Now even New York City policeman know Manolo Blahnik's footpath.

So designers need characters with style - or money. We do have Taye Diggs, as a hotshot NYC entertainment attorney in UPN's "Kevin Hill." There's also Fox's California-young-hip, "The O.C.," and ABC's "Desperate Wives," - suburban well-to-do wives could be desperate to wear anything to keep their husbands from straying.



Some years ago, the WB had big marketing deals with J. Crew and others for "Dawson's Creek." This year Kmart ran commercials featuring many WB stars. But this is not the high fashion-oriented programs that designers like Donna Karan need.

What hasn't been discussed so far is that TV producers are these days open to more product placement than any other time in history - clothes, cell phones, Junior Mints - it should be a cinch to find someone who could fit Bradshaw with Manolo's.

TV producers could easily write in more fashion-related content - considering the current advertising-friendly program environment. This season alone, there are several reality shows based on contests for potential models and fashion designers.

One executive in the story wondered whether too much fashion product placement would be "inorganic."

Huh? Clothes? Not unless you are wearing a feather boa while pulling lattes at Starbucks. Everyone wears something, sometime. Except late at night on Cinemax. Victoria's Secret is doing great business there, I'm told.

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