That cable DVR sitting on top of your television is a nightmare for advertisers. With audience attention spans shrinking and marketers bombarding consumers from every angle, who wouldn’t fast forward through the commercials on that Tivo’d rerun of Sex And The City? Enter lovebites, the microseries that premiered on TBS in 2006 during commercial breaks of the syndicated Sex And The City repeats. The series is about a 25-year-old woman named Callie (Audra Blaser) who is “smack dab in the middle of a quarter-life crisis—juggling life, love, work, dating, designer shoes and, of course, her hair!” Yes, Callie’s hair figures prominently into many of the storylines of lovebites’ two minute episodes. That’s because the show is produced by ad agency JWT to promote Unilever’s Sunsilk hair care products and was part an innovative new marketing strategy to create “advertainment” that would maintain the viewer’s interest during commercial breaks; thus protecting ad dollars.
The concept of the show was adapted from a popular Quebec comedy television series by Paul Reiser’s Nuance Productions, and Reiser served as co-writer and producer on the series. lovebites centers around Callie’s job [as an assistant editor at Elle Magazine], “her friends, love, shopping and all things incorporated with being 25, female and single.” There are frequent visits to her stylist for “hairapy” and her job at Elle even provides for a convenient cameo by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, all sandwiched in-between short little cartoon jingles promoting the Sunsilk brand (the product placement within the episodes is actually quite subtle.) Whatever your opinions are on “advertainment,” there’s no denying the result: lovebites was able to maintain the same Nielsen rating as the Sex And The City episodes during which it aired. Many of the episodes are now available to view at TBS.com and if you’re a part of the Sex And The City demo you’ve probably already seen it and find the micro-series just as witty, cute and hilarious as its full-length predecessor. If you’re not, you’d probably rather watch a real shampoo commercial.