a blog with cultural bulimia.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Window and mirror.

Brazilian TV is no stranger to scandal, but Friday night's final installment of the TV Globo telenovela America , which may air a scene involving a kiss between two men, has created more than the usual stir. Fans across the nation are eagerly waiting to see whether Junior [note: played very well by straight (?) actor Bruno Gagliasso], the son of a powerful ranch owner, will go so far as to kiss Zeca, one of the hired hands. If he does, it would mark the first time two men have exchanged a kiss on Brazilian television. The Advocate
Globo is brazilian's major TV station, the 4th in the world. It reaches 99.9% of the country and it retains 75% market-share of both prime time audience and advertisement allocations.

Globo is a window and a mirror -- at the same time a witness of our history and an agent for social change.

Its most successfull product are the soap-operas. "No other TV product in the world creates so many behaviors, fashions and expressions like our soap-opera" says Mauro Alencar an University of São Paulo Soap-Opera Doctor (no comments). They have institutionalized what they call social merchandising: "Social merchandising denotes the intentional and systematic insertion of issues of social relevance in the plot of a telenovela or any other TV show, with well-defined educational purposes. Since social merchandising started being implemented as a systematic programme, some 12 years ago, many stakeholders have been able to use Globo's ubiquity in Brazil to advance causes that otherwise might fail to achieve the targeted audience."

This has been true for many different causes like drug abuse, the mistreatment of the elderly and homossexualism. Exposure. It creates acceptance. It is their biggest triumph: to help create and discuss some of the country's social problems. It is a very flawed method but nonetheless it works.