Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright aren’t the only ones to walk away smiling thanks to the success of popular Netflix series House of Cards.
A US business that has been operating for close to 30 years has revealed its sales jump significantly every time new episodes of the political drama are released, thanks to a chance partnership.
US-based company WaterRower was founded in 1988, but sales have skyrocketed in recent times – all because of a product placement agreement that almost didn’t happen.
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Netflix’s House of Cards launched in 2013, and shortly before filming began, the show’s producers approached the business to ask whether they could use one its rowing machines.
However, the first season of House of Cards doesn’t treat the WaterRower very well, at least as far as normal product placements go.
For one, the show’s protagonist – scheming politician Frank Underwood – describes the rowing simulator as a “monstrosity” when his wife tells him he should use it to lose weight.
Then there is that time the handle snaps off when Underwood, played Kevin Spacey, goes a little too hard.
David Jones, director of sales and marketing at WaterRower, told The Wall Street Journal the arrangement almost didn’t happen for these reasons.
However, even though no money changed hands, the business decided to take a risk and allow the producers of House of Cards to go ahead and use one of their machines.
Now, every time a new season of House of Cards is released, the business sees a spike in sales thanks to people Googling ‘House of Cards rowing machine’.
“Our design won them over,” Jones said.
“We exceeded what we ever thought we would have gotten from this relationship.”
WaterRower’s factory has now tripled its production capacity in the space of five years and is making more than 1000 rowing machines a week.