NBC Molds Your Mind to Recycle

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On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal's Amy Chozick reports on "behavior placement," the next sketchy media practice you didn't know you had to worry about. "Behavior placement" is what's going on when "Tina Fey is tossing a plastic bottle into the recycle bin, or ... a minor character on 'Law and Order: SVU' has switched to energy-saving light bulbs." It's not coincidence:

The tactic--General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal calls it "behavior placement"--is designed to sway viewers to adopt actions they see modeled in their favorite shows. And it helps sell ads to marketers who want to associate their brands with a feel-good, socially aware show

The chances of this article going unnoticed were pretty slim. Some of the reaction from both media professionals and civilians on Twitter:

  • 'NBC Thinks You're an Idiot,' declares MovieLine's Christopher Rosen ("Part 56," he adds). He calls the network employees "the pioneers of idiocy" and says "that sound you heard" as NBC forces yuppie environmentalism on you "was Glenn Beck's head exploding."
  • 'Benevolent Mind Control'  Hamilton Nolan at Gawker has a field day. "America," he explains, "is a nation of mostly poor, unattractive people who take their cues on life from the fictional actions of rich, attractive characters on television." Yet dont' worry: "our NBC overlords" only use their power for good. "One can only imagine what could happen if it were, say, unleashed only in service of convincing us to purchase certain brands of automobiles and beauty products and 100-Calorie Snak Paxxx."
  • Twitter Storm  "I think this is awesome!" reads one tweet. "Kudos!" shouts another. One calls "behavior placement the "Orwellism of the day," while PBS's NewsHourArtBeat asks "Like Sesame Street for adults?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.