PBS is not known for deliberately tricking the populace, but in rolling out its latest campaign, the publicly funded channel did just that. Many were fooled by the outdoor ads touting fake shows like Bad Bad Bag Boys, which seemed dumb enough to be real in 2013. (At least I was fooled. Anyone else?) Now PBS is doubling down on its good-natured deception, with a series of fake trailers for similarly trashy programming.
Using the same attention to detail that made the posters such trenchant commentary on the sorry state of reality programming, the trailers for fake shows like Long Island Landscapers seem perfectly legit. Created, like the last campaign, by agency CHI & Partners NY, the new ads for PBS’s New York channel Thirteen have all the manufactured infighting, record-scratch reveals, and clever and awful puns that litter the reality landscape. Driving home the point, each of these trailers ends with the caption: “The fact that you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV.”
Watch the trailers in the slides above.