'Seinfeld': One Episode Made a Bread Super Popular in NYC

Films and television shows often serve as our escape from reality, so we don’t always think about the overlap between pop culture and marketing. Marketers, however, think about it all the time. In fact, finding a way to translate the attentive eyeballs on the screen during a movie or show into sales for products is a marketer’s dream.

Product placement has often gone awry with efforts that are way too obvious or just completely inappropriate. Sometimes, though, the merger of pop culture and marketing isn’t even intentional. 

One episode of Seinfeld ended up having a serious impact on the bread market, and the story behind it is just as absurd as the beloved show itself. 

‘Seinfeld’ has been called ‘a show about nothing’

While creator Jerry Seinfeld has rejected the notion, fans have long referred to Seinfeld as a “show about nothing.” That may sound like an insult, but for the series’ dedicated fan base, it’s definitely a compliment.

The series, which had a nine-season run beginning in 1989, grew out of a chance interaction between Jerry Seinfeld and similarly situated stand-up comedian Larry David. The pair shared a love for everyday comedy that strayed away from edgy topics like drugs or crime.

Instead, they made hilarious observations about the mundane and commonplace, giving them plenty of places to connect with their audience. 

When fans call Seinfeld a show about “nothing,” they mean mostly that it isn’t situated in any external plot device or aimed at some large overarching moral. Instead, the series makes the absurdity of everyday life front and center in its themes, and that’s where so many of its iconic jokes and famous scenes have found success. On top of that, the relationships between the characters made the series incredibly memorable and added much-needed depth to what could have been a superficial train wreck without the right combination of creative talents. 

One episode is titled ‘The Rye’

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Today's #FanArtFriday comes from a true fan! Keep up the great work, @rydoggrafix! ・・・ Yada, Yada, Yada .. @seinfeldtv turns 30 today. I created a lil piece of art to celebrate. I started watching this show about nothing in syndication in like ‘96, 7th grade. I honestly at the time didnt even know about the hype and Im glad. It absorbed into my psyche and from then on I have referenced everyday life to #Seinfeld non-stop. The show will forever be relevant no matter the year. No show will ever top it. It changed me forever and makes me look funny when I steal references for jokes. Thanks Jerry, George, Kramer & Elaine for the crazy antics over 9 seasons. #Seinfeld30 #SeinfeldIsLife #rydoggrafix #AdobeIllustrator

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The ensemble cast of Seinfeld each took turns being the focus of different episodes, and Season 7, Episode 11 focused on George Costanza (played by Jason Alexander).

In the episode, which is titled “The Rye,” George is bringing his parents over to meet his fiancee Susan’s parents, a milestone moment that many viewers can understand firsthand. George’s father chose to purchase a loaf of marble rye bread on his way to the event, which — as Screen Rant explains — is a nod to the cultural touchstone of marble rye in the Jewish community. 

The dinner itself is uncomfortable and tense. By the end, Susan’s family, did not serve the bread, so George’s father decided to take it back. The rest of the episode’s antics focus on George’s efforts — along with his friends — to return the bread in the hopes of averting a feud between the two families.

‘The Rye’ had unintended impacts on the bread market

“The Rye” has gone down as one of the most iconic episodes of the famous and long-running sitcom. Things get increasingly absurd and George tries to stave off family drama by replacing the missing bread before his future in-laws realize what has happened.

The scheme to avoid drama becomes so elaborate that George plans to sneak an identical loaf into the house while he sends the couple on a hansom cab ride as an anniversary present. His plans are thwarted when an old lady in front of him buys the last loaf of bread. Eventually, Jerry resorts to theft in order to prevent his friend from facing a lifetime of family feuds. 

Even funnier than the original plot line is the impact this popular episode had on the market. Following the airing of “The Rye,” loaves of marble rye became much more popular grocery store items as people found themselves influenced by the funny show. 

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