Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Telenovelas Promoting the Census

There was an interesting article in the Post (sorry, Prof. Hayden) about a new effort by Telenovelas to promote participation in the Census by Latinos. (As Thussu's article alluded to last week, this popular format provides an effective vehicle for transmitting messages.) A character on a popular Telenovela will gain employment as a census worker to both temper fears that participation is not private and to emphasize the importance of this effort in securing funding for groups that may not be accurately counted. The Post questions, "What is Telemundo up to? Does its experimental census subplot have something to do with subliminal advertising, product placement, ratings? The answer is sort of, but not exactly. What it's really about is a mash-up of a familiar tradition in Latin American media behavior with the needs of a sophisticated modern gringo public-service campaign."

The print version is a bit longer and has more detail on this arrangement (which involved no exchange of money and no contract.) Of course, in accessing the online version I thought of last night's class again when I was delayed by two successive ads that covered the entire screen.

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