Tonight’s episode of The Gruen Transfer was to feature a piece of work on The Pitch created by Adam Hunt, but the ABC will not be transmitting it. In a guest posting, he explains what happened:
Getting a brief for The Pitch on The Gruen Transfer is an honour for any creative person.
It’s an opportunity to explore ideas and have them debated in an intelligent and entertaining forum.
Some brilliant ads have been done on some hilarious subjects – like 303’s Invasion of New Zealand. I looked forward to trying to do something that funny.
But something different happened when The Pitch brief hit my desk. It was a serious proposition about a serious topic.
The requirement was for an idea that would “END SHAPE DISCRIMINATION” against fat people.
Anyone who’s ever been discriminated against knows that discrimination is not funny. Suddenly, any idea that made you laugh at fat people was off brief.
So the usual agency route of trying to make the Gruen audience laugh would be a ‘Celebration of Shape Discrimination’ – not an attempt to end it. So I took The Pitch seriously, as the brief demanded it.
The more I explored shape discrimination, the more I realised how pervasive it is. I heard things said about fat people that would be illegal if they were based upon someone’s gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.
All it took was one night in the pub listening to conversations as people drank more and more beer to spark an idea.
As shock tactics have been used over the years to get people to stop speeding, this idea uses shock to get people to stop and think about their prejudices.
I’m not going to discuss the detail of the idea here, as it’s been deemed to have broken the ABC’s editorial guidelines.
On tonight’s episode of The Gruen Transfer there will be a steer to a separate website that Zapruder (the company that makes The Gruen Transfer for the ABC) have set up. This website will have background and context for the ad, as well as warnings about the offensive nature of the idea. It will show the ad, and then a 15 minute debate (including myself) with the Gruen panel.
This is the correct context to see the ad, and be qualified to comment on it.
It’s ironic that an idea that’s clearly against discrimination of any kind is already arousing ignorant and ill-informed criticism in the media by some who haven’t yet seen it.
All forms of discrimination are ugly, and that’s exactly my point.
(Update, the ad is now on YouTube:)