Do You Mind If I Butt Into Your Conversation?

Imagine you're at a party, talking to some good friends. 

Over your shoulder, you can feel someone trying to join the circle, but you don't quite recognize the face. When you reluctantly make room, the interloper talks only about himself (or herself), causing all conversation to grind to a halt. 

While it's easy to spot these party boors, many marketers don't understand that they're acting much the same way with their self-serving monologues. 

Much to their credit, WNET (New York Public Media) and CHI & Partners are using a different approach to attract new members to public TV: by connecting to a conversation that's already in progress. 

The NYC subway poster campaign—two examples of which you can see above—promotes reality TV shows that don't really exist, even if they seem completely "real." The punchline: 

"The fact that you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV. Support quality programming. Join us at" 

No, that message won't appeal to everyone. But it just might connect with anyone who's walked through Grand Central Station and lamented the relentless barrage of reality TV shows—and equally insufferable reality TV posters. 

And that's exactly who WNET would like to get to know better.