ABC transforms NYC subway car into the living room from 'Roseanne'
- To promote the revival of the sitcom "Roseanne," ABC wrapped a New York City shuttle train running between Grand Central Station and Times Square to resemble the living room of Dan and Roseanne Conner, the main characters on the show played by John Goodman and Roseanne Barr, Adweek reported. The show returns on March 27 with the entire original cast.
- The subway car intends to transports riders back to Lanford, IL, where the show is set, with seats that look like the Conners' plaid couch. The walls feature family portraits of the cast and other knickknacks, and each end of the subway car is set up to look like the fireplace and mantle from the show's living room.
- The "Roseanne" out-of-home activation will run for the next few weeks. The original series aired on ABC for nine seasons and ended in 1997.
ABC is playing heavily into the nostalgia factor for the marketing push around its "Roseanne" reboot. Campaigns that recall vintage pop culture can be emotionally appealing with consumers, and the out-of-home subway activation gives fans and commuters awaiting the return of the iconic '90s TV series a chance to interact with a facsimile of its set in real life. This is the type of visually-centered experience people tend to share on social media, which could help ABC generate some buzz ahead of the season premiere later this month.
As network TV has seen declining viewership and ad sales, ABC is betting hard that "Roseanne"'s strong impression on Gen Xers and the older millennial set can be a serious ratings draw. TV advertising sales dropped 7.8% in 2017 to $61.8 billion, the steepest decline in at least the past 20 years barring a recession, with the space not expected to recover in 2018, according to Magna Global data. Clips featuring new "Roseanne" footage were in a spot that aired during the Oscars on Sunday night; until then, promotional material was focused on clips from the first iteration of the show.
As advertisers look for new programming to rally around, TV networks have brought back several hit shows over the past few years, including "Will & Grace" and "The X-Files," with the hopes that re-launches will bring repeated success with fans while also drawing in new viewers.