For me and about 300 million of my fellow Americans (and for a lot of Canadians as well), the thought of a free-to-air channel that doesn’t have any ads conjures up images of foreign channels.* However, if I ask any of y’all about free TV without adverts, you immediately would respond with the ABC.
However, it’s the exact opposite that has been getting viewers to switch their TVs onto 2 (or 21 if you have digital) in numbers not seen since Kath and Kim debuted a few years back. The program that’s been hotting up TV dials all around Australia is about advertising – The Gruen Transfer.
Hosted by Glass House favourite Wil Anderson and produced by Andrew Dention, The Gruen Transfer takes a look at ads. Not just taking a look at an ad and being enthralled at it, saying “Ooh! Pretty!” or “Look! That ad had a puppy in it. I’m going to buy that car now!” – rather by discussing the ads, coming up with hilarious ways to sell things and explaining why ads work. Adding into the mix are a panel made up of professionals involved in the advertising business discussing their (and other companies’) work.
It’s a whole new outlook on the world of advertising – one that you won’t see here in the States (mostly because if we have a show about ads it’s one of those lame funniest ads shows that shows the foreign ads which are, to an American audience, very risque ). You even learn things about the industry, such as in the first episode when the regulations that alcohol advertising is held to, including not allowing what was termed the best part of drinking – sexual prowess, changing your mood and the like – to be shown on the ads.
However, to me, the best feature is The Pitch, where representatives of two ad agencies have the opportunity to create ads for something that, well, can’t be sold. The first example that they had was whale meat, and the two ads that were done (seen below) made you maybe want to consider trying the meat, if it weren’t for all the taboos involved in the potential gathering of the product.
If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s available for free download from the ABC Website (or on iTunes), or you can see it on ABC1 at 9.00 PM Wednesdays and on ABC2 at 8.30 PM Thursdays.
And now, the ads -
Whale Meat: The Beef of the Sea
The Angry Prawn
*If you’re wondering why I don’t claim PBS as advert-free TV, it’s because while the actual programs are advert-free, the spots before and after are really no different to the ads you see on everyday network TV.
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