NBC Thinks You're An Idiot, Part 56: 'Behavior Placement'
Remember that episode of The Office from earlier this season when Dwight dressed as some made-up superhero named Recyclops and the entire thing felt like some contrived and not-so-thinly-veiled attempt to get you to recycle more? It was! And with Earth Day just around the corner, don't be surprised to see another appearance. Lest you think movies are the only place where rampant product placement has run amok, the pioneers of idiocy at NBC Universal have taken things one step further. Say hello to behavior placement.
According to an article today in the Wall Street Journal, NBC uses this technique "to sway viewers to adopt actions they see modeled in their favorite shows." Think of it as a less intrusive version of product placement: Tina Fey's Liz Lemon doesn't eat Doritos, but she does separate her recyclables. That sound you heard was Glenn Beck's head exploding.
Anyway, the entire concept feels icky and gross -- NBC practices in progressive stereotyping as "viewers are broken into categories based on their favorite shows and their level of concern about the environment: 'Alpha ecos" are mostly women who drive hybrids, eat organic and watch the Bravo channel" -- but also patently stupid. Does anyone need NBC, of all entities, telling them how to run their life?
That said, don't worry about "behavior placement" becoming a trend. CBS, ABC and Fox have yet to implement it, content instead to stick with what works: awkwardly jamming products into their television shows and making people want to buy them. Now that's television the way it ought to be.