As if product placement in TV shows didn't already stand out enough, tonight's episode of Cougar Town is about to make its sponsor's stuff impossible to miss. Through a deal with Target, TBS' unfortunately named sitcom will be simultaneously broadcast on TV and streamed online, where viewers will be able to mouse over select products to learn more about them. Doing so will pause the show and — naturally — display an easy way for viewers to buy what they're looking at.
An entire plot line will revolve around a Target shopping spree
According to The New York Times, over two dozen products will be featured as part of a plot line that has two characters redecorating an apartment after a Target shopping spree. Whenever Target's items are shown on screen, a flashing red plus sign will appear beside them, signaling that they can be selected. The product integration is already being featured online in a behind-the-scenes video, which shows how Target's products — including a rug, a lamp, and some wall art — will look on set. The Times reports that the full episode will be streaming with the integration from tonight through April 15th. It appears that the oversized bottles of wine that Cougar Town's characters are usually drinking from will not be included in the promotion.
More than a few apps and services have attempted to make shopping like this a reality, letting TV viewers immediately identify what actors are wearing or determine where they can buy the products that they're seeing. That's obviously an ambitious and difficult task without working closely with studios, which Target is doing here for this one-off promotion. If its successful though, it's likely to only increase companies' resolve that this could be a key way to shop down the road — but for now, the integration is just distracting.