We’ve seen plenty of Bravo-lebrities use their reality TV fame to plug their wares, but Princesses of Long Island star Amanda Bertoncini is probably the first one to simultaneously create a must-have product and a public relations disaster.
On last week’s episode, Bertoncini introduced us to the Drink Hanky, a fabric pouch that acts as a protective barrier between a cold beverage and your hand. Bertoncini drew ire when, during a photo shoot for the brand at a Great Neck park, she instructed a model to cozy up to a statue dedicated to Jonathan Ielpi and other local firefighters killed in the line of duty on 9/11. Supporters of the Ielpi family joined feminists and the Jewish community — both groups have complained that Princesses perpetuates negative gender and religious stereotypes — in calling for Bravo executives to cancel the series.
Bertonicini issued an apology to the family, while Bravo expressed regrets by means of a title card at the beginning of last night’s episode. While neither action seems to have done much to curb the backlash, so far the incident hasn’t dampened sales of the Drink Hanky.
The brand’s debut collection — the fabric sleeve comes in prints like zebra, leopard, and cheetah and retails for $4.99 each — has already sold out.
Asked by a Twitter fan why the beverage cozy was no longer available, the brand tweeted, “Popular demand! Our 2nd collection will be up in 2 weeks!” Even Isaac Mizrahi expressed his desire to track one down, though it wasn’t clear whether the fashion designer was aware of the controversy at the time. “I need a polka dot #drink-kinky @BravoAndy,” Mizrahi tweeted.
Last night’s episode centered around the Drink Hanky launch party where, despite the fact that they were well-dressed, the drinks inevitably started flying. “I could only hope at the very least that the drink that was thrown at Chanel had a Drink Hanky on it,” Bertoncini said after a guest launched a cocktail at one of her fellow Princesses. It was product placement at its best. Or worst, depending on how you see it.
Will Bertoncini’s Drink Hanky be Bravo’s latest retail success story, or will demand for the product take a nosedive once fans find out about the entrepreneur’s insensitive photo shoot? Head down to the comments to share your thoughts.