I get it. I really do. It’s hard to raise brand awareness out there in the ever more cluttered world -- especially when it comes to the fickle and fast-moving apparel business. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that on-screen product placement can be an effective way of cutting through some of that clutter.
But today’s announcement that Vilebrequin, a luxury brand known for its seasonally changing, brightly patterned, quick-drying boxer-short-like men’s swim trunks with a retail price point well north of $200, will appear in Monday’s episode of “The Bachelorette” (and in what appears to be some kind of beefcake walk-off to boot) seems as incongruous a pairing as the Kardashian sisters and Sears.
I’ll say at the outset that I’ve never watched more than a few seconds of the reality dating show (en route to another channel, specifically). But it hardly seems the logical place to showcase a brand that was born in Saint-Tropez, has a boutique at the foot of Rodeo Drive, and has been worn by the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Jay-Z and Prince William (famously snapped a few years back wearing a design that consisted of a baby blue background festooned with red chile peppers).
Maybe the viewership of “The Bachelorette” has that kind of disposable income (I know I don’t), or maybe it’s an aspirational thing. Perhaps it’s a variation of the oft-cited (and variously attributed) quote about the power of publicity: “Say whatever you want about me as long as you spell my name right."
If that’s the case, you’ve now got the correct spelling, to which I’ll helpfully add that Vilebrequin means “crankshaft” in French and it is properly pronounced veel-breh-KEN.
The next episode of “The Bachelorette” airs Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC.