Monday, April 12, 2010

TV Has Been Doing "Behavior Placement" for Decades. And That's Good.

According to a flood of media coverage, The Wall Street Journal "revealed" that NBC "admitted" it uses "behavior placement" to suggest positive, healthy lifestyle choices And/or moral decisions for viewers. 

They're talking about Green Week, which NBC has heavily promoted for years. If you have a television tuned to NBC, and you have eyes and ears, you know when you're watching a week filled with pro-environment messages. So it's idiotic to act "shocked" by it now.

(It may also shock the media to learn that Law & Order: SVU contains coded messages that rape and murder and child prostitution are bad things. So don't tell them.)

It's also idiotic to complain about NBC's sending out positive messages, when all we've heard for years is that television sends out negative messages. I've never believed that to be true, of course, because of scenarios like the following:

You have agreed to go to the prom with a sweet-but-plain girl.  Then the hottest girl in school asks you to prom. You want to go With Hot Girl, but it would break Plain Girl's heart, so you honor your commitment, and you and Plain Girl have a wonderful evening.

Where did you learn that lesson?  From decades of TV programming.  

Every time you buckle your seatbelt, you're using behavior learned from TV.  Every time you buy a round of drinks for everyone in the bar, you're using behavior learned from TV.  Sharing with others, defending a weak kid against a bully, giving credit to a deserving person instead of taking it for yourself... TV has drilled these into your head your whole life.

Jesus, the Liberty Mutual ads alone do more "behavior placement" than NBC's Green Week, 

And one more thing: If NBC's attempts to get more people to recycle are so ominous and invasive and insidious, why don't more people recycle?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more. this is a great response and post.

God forbid television--an entity that has the power to influence millions of people around the world--subtly encourage us to recycle and eat healthier food.

I say nice work NBC.