Fox's new comedy New Girl is finding praise as "smart" in a sitcom field where those words are rarely used.
One thing New Girl appears to be light on, for now anyway, is product placement. But look a little more closely and there is a whole microcosm of selling going on, "smart" selling.
High-end eyeglass brand Oliver Peoples did not let its appearance on star Deschanel's "adorkable" face slide by unnoticed; it tweeted that the spectacled "Geek Goddess!!" was wearing its specs.
But Deschanel's endorsements aren't all "geek," although she's also an avid social media user who just launched a website, Hello Giggles, with some pals.
On her popular Tumblr feed, the actress ruminates about being a "pretty girl" and posts pictures from the show and things generally of interest to her. She also posts links to articles where she praises brands by name: "Thanks Refinery29!" she writes, linking to an article in which she identifies her "key pieces" of fashion this fall as "Band Of Outsiders jackets, Paige jeans, and dresses from Modcloth.com. I also love J.Crew for basics." Or how about how to "get the look" of "Jess" from New Girl: Oribe Volumista Mist and Oribe Superfine Hairspray.
While celebrities' fashion faves are a staple of celebrity journalism, Deschanel's Twitter feed boasts over 620,000 followers. On the day her new show debuted, the star reteeted a tweet mentioning her: "Just got a note that Zooey Deschanel and stylist Aaron Light are loving Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray on set of the New Girl - amazing."
An indie music and film darling, Deschanel was already accused of being a "sellout" as far back as 2009. Worse, she was doing it "on the upward rather than the downward trajectory." The product she drew that criticism for? Cotton.
Because "indie" is shorthand for "noncommercial," everything that Deschanel does that may reek a little bit of profit-taking has to be defended. Indeed, in interview after interview, the actor has reiterated that she is involved in New Girl not just for the paycheck but for the project's merits. Good thing then that her fans remain largely blind to her overseas ad work.
But these passing endorsements do little to diminish Deschanel's own brand of artsy geek quirk (and indie music goddess, with music to sell from her band with M. Ward, She and Him) — her face has been plastered all over New York of late, thanks to her show launching (and New York magazine full-face cover profile).
Oddly enough, the times that Deschanel's endorsements seem most forced and empty, are the ones for her new network, FOX. "So excited about X-factor premiering tonight! It really looks amazing. #Xfusa" she tweeted on Sept. 21.
Ah, Zooey — you are adorkable. Tom Peters would be enchanted!