Thursday, April 8, 2010

Behavior Placement - The new product placement


We’ve recently been discussing the power of celebrity, in particular the imaginary relationships we form and maintain with media figures. Sometimes those relationships provide the motivation to use a particular product or cut your hair in a way that emulates the celebrity, among many other possibilities. NBC television appears to understand the potential influence of television characters and the stars that portray them as they enter into a Faustian bargain with marketers by including politically and socially correct messages in programming, something they call “behavior placement.”  Behavior placement, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal, is not unlike something we’ve talked about – product placement. The idea is that by including politically or socially correct ideas, like going green, within storylines the network wants to kill two proverbial birds with one stone: they want to influence behavior, and they want to use these ideological positions to sell advertising. The article describes one scenario where a hybrid vehicle is featured in a particular dramatic context. Including something that subtle may be appealing to hybrid automakers that may, on that very basis, choose to buy advertising time during the program. The network has announced they will include within regularly scheduled programs features on healthy eating and exercise. Again, scenarios are being written into scripts in order to create a symbiotic relationship between what the viewer should do (exercise regularly) and what the advertiser wants the consumer to do (purchase Healthy Choice meals). This sounds a lot like propaganda to me. NBC, I guess, can feel good that they are touting ideas about health and the environment, but their motives simply are not pure. I’m curious to see if I can pick up any of these idea “placements.” But I guess that means I’ll have to actually pay close attention to what’s on the scene; something I really don’t like to do.

5 comments:

natalie said...

After reading this blog i think that this idea of "behavior placement" is really a good idea. I was interested in learning more about this because I had never really thought about the idea of implementing a behavioral idea as well as an advertisement within shows. Now that I think about it, I can recognize the behavior of going green in television shows and movies, etc. In comparison with product placement, I can understand that they both have the same idea. However, personally I think that product placement is much more obvious to the viewer, and it's harder to ignore. I have to pay much closer attention in order to recognize certain behaviors that are trying to be sold.

Alexander said...

This idea is particular important because it highlights the pervasive power marketers and industries like TV networks have over the consumers. The genius aspect of this, however, is the philanthropist's mask the companies get to hide their profit behind. "Behavior placement" also illustrates how influential our imaginary social relationships and connections with shows or celebrities can be. The fact that they can affect not only the consumer products we by, but our actions and lifestyle as well is frightening. Propaganda seems like the only term to describe the advertising corporations are using. It seems as though this idea is product placement on a much much larger scale. As Natalie mentioned it is true that its seems less obvious than product placement, but that only seems to be the case if you're not looking for it. In shows like ABC's "Modern Family," they were able to focus an entire episode around apple's new iPad. The degree to which the apple logo was shoved down are throats was shocking. The truth remains that control and profit is what drives both these TV studios and marketers, and by working together to align "behavioral placement" and its advertising they are achieving both.

Becky Quinn said...

Behavior placement seems to be an innovative and potentially very effective advertising technique. By coordinating a commercial for a product with the corresponding behavior in the television program, I feel like the commercials would have more meaning for the viewers. Rather than having a random selection of commercials in the time slot, the commercials are now corresponding with behavior in the program. The behavior being demonstrated in the program is being reinforced by the commercial. As long as the companies and television networks continue to promote behaviors that will benefit society, I see nothing wrong with behavior placement. However, once this technique starts to be used for selfish or unethical purposes that will not benefit both the company and the viewer or consumer, that is when there needs to be some sort of check.

Samantha Pessognelli said...

As soon as i read this I thought of the commercials that have celebrities as spokes people to represent them and creates sales. This commercial world is based on an iconic basis. Behavior placement can go both ways. For instance diet pill commercials that Kim Kardashian is trying to sell most likely aren't very good for you but because of some peoples imaginary relationships could sell and misdirect consumers. Though famous peoples 'images' are constantly being watched and judged they can always be ethically challenged.This could be used more in advertisements as a convincing way to get to the audience. The fact that it is not as evident as the product placement makes me think that is it's tactic.

nbriverso said...

I had never heard of behavior placement before the discussion in class. However I thought the idea behind it is very creative and ultimately socially responsible. It could be beneficial to use the imaginary relationships people have with celebrities in order to promote certain responsible behaviors such as recycling or eating healthy. I also agree that it could make the advertisements stand out more and be more meaningful to the consumer if they tie into the theme being portrayed on the show. However, as mentioned, I do think it is harder to notice. In fact, I recently watched a clip of The Office where they used Dwight’s character to promote recycling through a funny situation. I personally would not have noticed or would not have been motivated to recycle any more after viewing the clip, as it seemed to be just another typical episode. I think that’s good in the sense that it’s not as in your face as product placement, but on the other hand, it may not be as effective if people don’t pick up on it as much.