Czech bed gets cameo role in US hit series

'House of Cards', photo: Netflix

A hospital bed manufactured by Czech company Linet has made a striking appearance in the popular US television series House of Cards, when it was used by Kevin Spacey in the role of the US president Frank Underwood.

'House of Cards',  photo: Netflix
Frank Underwood was the victim of an assassination attempt but with the help of some R&R in the Linet bed eventually makes it back to the White House and continued scheming and power games. Although the Czech hospital beds and equipment producer has been using product placement for some time now, its director Zbyněk Frolík told the Hospodářské noviny daily that in case of the US market, such cameo appearance can really make a difference.

He said his sales manager is currently taking a photo of Kevin Spacey lying on the Linet bed to every business meetings. The fact that it has appeared in one of the most successful TV series in recent times allegedly helps them with business negotiations. Everyone, it seems, wants to follow the presidential example.

Last year, Linet Group became the number one hospital beds manufacturer in Europe, with sales amounting to six billion crowns. The company also reported significant growth on the US market, where it established a subsidiary in 2010.

While more than 95 percent of Linet’s products go on export, Linet also commands three quarters of the Czech market.

In 2015, the company produced 50,000 beds in their manufacturing facility at Slaný in Central Bohemia. Another 40,000 beds were manufactured by the company’s subsidiary in Germany, which specialises in manufacturing beds for elderly homes.

While companies usually have to pay substantial sums for product placement, in the case of the recent appearance on House of Cards, Linet did not to have to pay a cent. The Marketing Manager of Linet’s US subsidiary Lindsey Ellis made use of the company’s market standing and her contacts among the producers of the series to get the bed on the set.

“LINET paid only for transport of the bed to the shooting location and also trained the actors so that the bed was used as it really would be in a hospital setting,” she said.

In the interview for Hospodářské noviny, Zbyněk Frolík said he started to consider product placement with the arrival of series such as Dr House and Grey’s Anatomy.

Since then, Linet products have had roles in a number of American films. One model appeared with James Bond in Casino Royale, and Mark Wahlberg lay down on one in the sequel to the black comedy film Ted. The beds also starred in several Turkish and Latin American TV series. The recent appearance of the Linet bed on House of Cards is in fact not the bed’s first role in the popular Netflix series. One of its key characters Douglas Stamper, the top presidential aide, already had an opportunity to try the Linet bed out in the previous season.