By John Asante
Meet Recyclops. He's here's to teach you about Earth Day. But, well, he's a bit over the top in his approach.
NBC Universal has taken a watered down of a cue from Dwight Schrute's environmental "buddy" and laying off the product placements of soft drinks and shoes for a bit. The Wall Street Journal reports that the broadcast company is taking a new approach to branding with behavior placement:
Since fall 2007, network executives have been asking producers of almost every prime-time and daytime show to incorporate a green storyline at least once a year. The effort now takes place for a week in April and November. Starting April 19 this year, 40 NBC Universal outlets will feature some 100 hours of green-themed programming, including an episode of the Bravo reality series "Millionaire Matchmaker" in which a 39-year-old tycoon with an eco-friendly clothing line goes into a rage after his blind date orders red meat.
While some TV writers and producers are turned off to the idea (since they're urged to pack in lots of extraneous marketing into holiday-themed episodes), the messages are meant to be -- and have been -- innocuous:
"Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" had a segment that urged viewers to turn off their lights for five seconds to conserve energy. But each time the lights went out in the studio, a Latina janitor screamed "Ay dios mio!" and a gunshot went off killing a member of the Fallon cast. "At that hour people just want to laugh and have fun. They don't want to be preached at," the host says.
So get ready to see Kenneth, the lovable page on 30 Rock, give one of his impromptu PSAs on reducing your carbon footprint and the culinary artists on Top Chef use organically, locally grown foods. Rest easy. I'm sure The Office gave Recyclops a vacation this year.