PBS launched a new ad campaign that’s being lauded as brilliant. And how have they done so? By calling you (and mostly your mom) stupid. The campaign features posters for fake television shows that skirt the line betweem ridiculous and “eh, I can see that being a show.”
Modeled after shows like Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars, and just about every show in Bravo‘s insipid, brain cell-squashing programming line-up, the series of ads from PBS’s New York station, Thirteen, launched with a poster for The Dillionaire, which is presumably about a guy who made a fortune selling pickles. The ad is accompanied by the message, “The fact that you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV.” It goes on to ask, “Support quality programming. Visit us at thirteen.org.”
Pretty clever campaign, if only PBS had the quality programming to back it up. Downton Abbey, lame and goofy after the first season. Antiques Roadshow, it’s about antiques. Tavis Smiley, probably farts in elevators. What that channel needs is a show like Knitting Wars. Who wouldn’t watch that? You know if you watch long enough you’re going to see an old lady reel off and stab someone. Aren’t potty-mouthed, violent septuagenarians what entertainment is all about? It’s exactly what made Betty White fascinating again. If Thirteen is accepting pitches, I’d like to speak with them about Violent Oldies. Let’s make each other rich.
Here are the other ads in the campaign to remind you how dumb you are.