The Bachelor NZ: What now for the sponsors after break-up bombshell?

Cloudy Bay wine featured front and centre this season.
Tom Hollow

Cloudy Bay wine featured front and centre this season.

In the wake of The Bachelor NZ break-up bombshell, spare a thought for the second season's sponsors.

Season two saw a bevy of lifestyle brands including Suzuki Swift, Kapiti Collection, Michael Hill Jewellers and Glamour Boutique sign up to sponsorship deals.

But one marketing expert says the biggest blow will have been felt by the show's title sponsor and most explicitly-aligned brand - Michael Hill.

Suzuki Swift were the official vehicle provider for a second season.
Tom Hollow

Suzuki Swift were the official vehicle provider for a second season.

"I absolutely think [the show's negative outcome] affects Michael Hill's brand, that people will now subconsciously generate particular associations with the brand," said Massey University's Professor of Marketing and Consumer Research, Valentyna Melnyk.

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Season two's Bachelorettes were dressed by Glamour Boutique.
Supplied

Season two's Bachelorettes were dressed by Glamour Boutique.

 

"You could argue that last season was much a better outcome for Michael Hill, whereas this season, it's actually backfired."

Last season's finale saw bachelor Art Green confess his feelings for girlfriend Matilda Rice. One year on, and the happy couple are still going strong.

The fate of this Michael Hill Jewellers diamond commitment ring is still unknown.
TV3

The fate of this Michael Hill Jewellers diamond commitment ring is still unknown.

But Jordan Mauger and Fleur Verhoeven lasted a mere 48 hours in the public eye before calling it quits.

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Melnyk suggests that viewers may now subconsciously align the disastrous final outcome with the brand itself.

"This year was almost the polar opposite [to last], particularly if you look at product harm crisis and the negative associations generated by the show," she said.

"If you think about the brand's explicit placement, and even the tagline "we're for love", it's now about disassociating from The Bachelor. (My advice) would be to lay low for some time."

"I don't think anybody could have predicted an outcome like this, and of course, there are always risks involved," she said.

"The brand most explicitly aligned with a good outcome will benefit most - however that (goes both ways)."

When asked if the alcohol brands may have suffered a similar blow, Melnyk suggested that many viewers "wouldn't have picked up" that the alcohol sponsor had changed from season one.

For some brands, The Bachelor was never a great fit: it's understood several premium brands rejected proposals from the outset because reality TV didn't seem a good fit.

Others, like beauty giant Revlon, cut ties after season one. A spokesperson from Lion New Zealand clarified that the sparkling wine brand Lindauer were "not an official sponsor" of the reality series' second run.

It's understood that the asking price for commercial backing for the show was significantly hiked after season one.

The official tipple of choice for season two was Cloudy Bay Pelorus wines.

Beauty giant Revlon followed suit, disassociating with The Bachelor's second series from the outset.

"Product placement, like Suzuki and Cloudy Bay was much more implicit," said Melnyk.

"The entire show screamed (Michael Hill)."

Suzuki Swift, vehicle suppliers for a second season, said on Monday that they were unsure if the brand would "re-align" with the series again.

"We haven't really had a chance to sit down with management and go over it yet, but after the way it ended, the publicity was certainly unexpected," said Suzuki Swift's general marketing manager Gary Collins.

For many viewers at home, the show's product pushing become as uncomfortable as the dates themselves, with the final episode featuring a sit down consultation with Sir Michael Hill and Mauger.

The jewellery brand featured prominently throughout the show's season, with Mauger gifting former contestant Shari Flavall a diamond-studded pendant necklace during their televised dinner date at the Auckland Art Gallery.

Flavall has since poked fun at the gift on social media, saying "it's too fancy" to wear anywhere.

During the final moments of the season finale, viewers watched on as Mauger gifted winning bachelorette Verhoeven with a whopping cushion cut diamond commitment ring - appraised at an estimated $26,000. 

"In retrospect, it's done damage. However that being said, Michael Hill is a strong brand, a very strong brand. This isn't the end of them by any means," said Melnyk.

It is unknown whether the ring was returned to the suppliers in the wake of The Bachelor NZ break-up. Verhoeven claimed the ring was "getting re-sized" during press rounds last week.

Michael Hill himself hasn't returned calls for comment.

 - Stuff

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