When we posted about “30 Rock” last Friday, a reader SHOUTED IN ALL CAPS that someone—either NBC, or Tina Fey, or maybe The Consumerist, we’re not sure—is a government shill for basically being paid by the gov to write about financial advice. Turns out Mr. Shouty is right, sort of: the U.S. Treasurer, Anna Escobedo Cabral, was on the radio news program “Marketplace” a couple of weeks ago to talk about how she’s been meeting with the creative teams of soap operas and telenovelas to find ways to incorporate financial storylines into their plots.
The idea, Ms. Cabral says, is to “reach people at teachable moments in their lives” by finding multiple ways to get educational messaging out in the public space.
“Too many kids are graduating high school, for example, not knowing what a budget is, how to balance a checkbook, what a credit card is, what an interest rate is, or how compound interest works… If the treasury tries to do this by itself, it will not be successful, but if you do this in partnership with all the other segments of society, you’re likely to be very successful and in the end the public and the entire country is better off.”
We can’t find any evidence that the government is paying networks to do this, or that “30 Rock” was doing the U.S Treasury a favor with its 401(k) joke, but it’s certainly possible. Ms. Cabral says she originally wanted Joey on “Friends” to “get into financial catastrophe and then through that humor, teach while he was entertaining,” so clearly the idea has been floating around for a while.