A Local PBS Bets You Can't Tell If These Reality Shows Are Real Or Fake


If you can’t beat them, mock them.

Apparently that’s the theory behind the new advertising campaign for WNET, the PBS station that broadcasts on channel 13 in New York, that launched this week.

Posters for mock-reality shows like “Knitting Wars,” “Bayou Eskimos,” and “Married to a Mime” are on rotation at approximately 185 New York subway stations. The shows have promotional Twitter feeds, too. Like for @RonPickles, star of “The Dillionaire.”

To make the ads seem authentic, WNET even invented channels that the imaginary series could plausibly air on like “Insight and Arts,” “The Know Channel,” and “Wonder Network.”

As a result, the posters are so realistic that unless you read the fine print, you might start searching for the shows’ listings on your DVR.

The copy that alerts viewers that the series are not actually airing reads: “The fact you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV. Support quality programming. Join us at thirteen.org.”

Jeff Anderson, an executive creative director at CHI & Partners New York, decided to take on the WNET campaign as pro-bono work. “It’s pretty scary when you look out there and see what’s on television these days,” he told TV Rage. “If New Yorkers want an inspiring and educational option, they need to get behind a network that we sometimes take for granted.”

WNET senior director for communications Kellie Specter told the New York Times that she hopes this campaign presents Channel 13 as “an island in a sea of madness.”

The public broadcaster spent an estimated $45,000 on the campaign in honour of its 50th anniversary.

Take a look at the ads below:

PBS AdsAn ad for ‘Knitting Wars.’

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