Bravo Fluffs Star's Pillows For Sale in 'Southern Charm'

Craig Conover (right) will be selling his pillow on 'Southern Charm' (Image credit: Paul Cheney/Bravo)

When fans of Bravo’s Southern Charm see Craig Conover’s Sewing Down South pillows on TV Thursday night they won’t have to leave their couch to buy some.

Bravo parent NBCUniversal has been building its ShoppableTV and NBCUniversal Checkout capabilities and Conover and his Sewing Down South brand is its partner in its latest commerce adventure.

In Thursday’s episode of Southern Charm, Conover is shown appearing on Home Shopping Network to sell his pillows. During that part of the show, a graphic will pop up on the lower part of the screen telling viewers to grab their phones, open the camera, scan the code on the screen and shop.

“This partnership with Craig Conover and Southern Charm is going to be our first of  these opportunities to shop with talent,” said Josh Feldman, executive VP,  head of marketing and advertising creative for NBCUniversal. “I think shopping with talent is a real opportunity that we can expand upon.”

NBCU is doubling down on Conover. Its E! News and Daily Pop shows will cover the home shopping event and for Bravo Insiders wanting more, they can enter a sweepstakes launching Dec. 16 to win Sewing Down South merchandise.

“This has been a long time coming and I'm excited that Southern Charm viewers can become part of the Sewing Down South family," Conover said.

NBCU’s deal with Conover gives NBCU an undisclosed share of sales, Feldman said.

The idea to do TV shopping on Bravo was born during last year’s BravoCon, a sold-out three day gathering for fans of the network.

“There was a portion of BravoCon where you could actually go shopping for products from our ‘Bravolebrities,’ " said Feldman. “Folks on our team decided to start having conversations in conjunction with the network with some of them.”

Many of the people who appear on Bravo and other NBCU networks have their own product lines or are brand ambassadors for brands they’re passionate about. “There are a lot of opportunities because we have a ton of talent across the whole portfolio," he said.


The on-screen message that it's time to buy (Image credit: NBCU)

When NBCU does ShoppableTV, it tries to make sure the pitch comes during contextually relevant parts of the show. After this episode of Southern Charm appears Thursday, the ShoppableTV cues will continue to appear on the show when it is seen online, on demand or on DVR.

Related: NBCU Goes Retail with Move Into Shoppable TV

NBCU launched ShoppableTV last year and served it up during the 2019 French Open tennis tournament, selling items from the Lacoste X Djokovic Collection. Since then it has run shoppable ads across its portfolio, including its lifestyle networks like Braov and its Syfy channel.

After the pandemic hit this year, NBCUniversal Checkout was launched, letting businesses of all sizes reach out to sell goods to NBCU viewers. Sewing Down South was one of NBCU’s earliest retail partners.

In November, NBCU made a deal to may PayPal its preferred payment partner and launched a holiday gift guide that included companies that otherwise would be too small to buy traditional advertising on NBCU’s networks.

NBCU’s ShoppableTV business is growing nicely. “This is on the road to real profitability,” Feldman said.

“This is another way of showing how we can take our commerce business to another level, and that’s with talent,” he said. The holiday gift guides showed off how we can utilize commerce in editorial content. The beauty of our commerce business is it’s not a one-trick pony. There’s a lot of different ways that we could execute across the portfolio.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.