He estimated that product-placement advertising was worth well over $20 billion in 2021.
For production companies, the arrangements can be mutually beneficial, since featuring recognizable brands can make a show more realistic, Ms. Jones said.
In this particular case, the inclusion of Peloton was integral to advancing a story line. “Peloton provided a solution to their problem,” she said.
Can HBO protect itself?
Usually when a company is so unhappy with how its product has been portrayed that the idea of litigation is floated, “TV shows claim that it’s a parody, that viewers obviously knew that this was fictional,” Beth L. Fossen, an assistant professor of marketing at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, said on Friday.
That approach usually works for shows like “Saturday Night Live,” she said.
But given that Peloton was the subject of unfavorable headlines this year about a child dying in an accident involving one of its treadmills, the story line may have “hit a little too close to home” for that argument to work, Professor Schweidel said.
At least for the time being, it seems that Peloton is uninterested in pursuing litigation. In a statement on Saturday, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist on Peloton’s health and wellness advisory council, noted that “Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle — including cocktails, cigars and big steaks — and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6.”
Dr. Steinbaum said that Mr. Big’s lifestyle choices, perhaps in conjunction with a family history of heart disease, were most likely the cause of his death.
In fact, she speculated, “riding his Peloton bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.”