DR MUMBO: Gruen Transfer Returns, and we publish our first verbatim press release

Normally we don’t just paste up press releases (we’re not Campaign Brief, after all). But on a Friday afternoon, Dr Mumbo suspects he won’t be able to beat this effort covering the new series of The Gruen Transfer from ABC PR Peter Ritchie:  

Brighter, fresher, sexier, longer-lasting – The Gruen Transfer is available again due to popular demand. 100 per cent new and improved. It cleans. It brightens. It slices. It dices. It gets rid of acne. It comes with a free set of serrated knives and an abdominal flexer. It could be yours for only 83 small, weekly payments of $49.95…*
Or you could get it free on Wednesdays at 9pm from March 18 on ABC TV.

Honest, funny and revealing, The Gruen Transfer, a runaway hit in 2008, is about how advertising works and how it works on us. It lifts the bonnet on the carefully constructed and manufactured messages that surround us all.

Examining the best and worst of advertising, acknowledging the art and science involved, The Gruen Transfer brings some of the pointiest and most creative minds in the ad industry together to discuss the power of persuasion.
From ads in armpits to viral marketing blunders to the harnessing of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Now with added neuroscience!), The Gruen Transfer refreshes the parts of your mind that other programs can’t reach, delivering insights into the latest techniques used to gain our attention and bend our will to spend.

This 10-part series is again fronted by the surprisingly tall Wil Anderson (Have you met him? It’s true. Most people on TV are tiny. He’s actually life-sized). It features regular guests and first season heroes Todd Sampson and Russel Howcroft, as well as a crack team of top advertising talents. (If we could afford to get them to make an ad for the show, we would, but they’re all out of our price league.)

Also returning this year are Jane Caro, Matt Eastwood, Dan Gregory, Dee Madigan and Bridget Taylor. The Gruen panel is strengthened by four new faces: Rebecca Carrasco, Rowan Dean, Matt Jones and Carolyn Miller.  (Dr Mumbo adds: It’s been a long time since Rowan Dean was described as having a new face.)
Each of these brave adventurers made it through a gruelling, Survivor-style audition process in February. More than 100 people (we stopped counting when it started to seem daunting) were interviewed for the roles.

After creating international headlines last year, one of the show’s most popular segments, The Pitch, returns stronger than ever. The hottest agencies in the country compete head to head to sell the unsellable. Think Ice to Eskimos and you get the picture.

Online hit Consumer Revenge also returns, encouraging viewers to create their own television commercials using the tools on the show’s website. Last year, an astonishing 10,000 clips were created for Gruen Beer, Bank and Beauty products (we had to put on a full-time staff member just to watch them). This year we’re aiming higher. Viewers get the chance to pit their skills against Baz Luhrmann and come up with a tourism campaign to sell Australia to the world.

The Gruen Transfer is named after Victor Gruen, the guy who designed the very first shopping mall. The term describes that split second when the mall’s intentionally confusing layout makes our eyes glaze and our jaws slacken … the moment when we forget what we came for and become impulse buyers.

If you like your television so sharp that it only needs one blade for a perfect shave, tune into The Gruen Transfer, Wednesdays at 9pm on ABC TV.

*Price may be higher if we need cash for the show. Actual contents and effects of the show may not match description. Model shown in ad may not be the same as the one we’re selling here.

(Dr Mumbo adds: You’d be surprised how many people who auditioned for the four new slots think they came fifth.)

The Gruen Team

Wil Anderson
Wil Anderson is a renowned stand-up comedian who brings his inimitable talents to THE GRUEN TRANSFER. Those of you with longer memories might know him as “the bloke who sat in the middle” on the ABC’s The Glass House for five years or “the one who didn’t know anything about maths” on the much-loved Triple J Breakfast show or even “that bloke who hosts Spicks And Specks”. (That last one is actually Adam Hills, but he does get mistaken for Adam a lot.)
As well as the TV hosting and constant touring, Wil writes a highly popular regular column for Australia’s most highly read magazine, The Sunday Magazine. His first book, ‘Survival Of The Dumbest’ [Random House] is still on the bestseller list. In December 2008, Wil took his live show to the UK, where he performed at the Riverside Studio for two weeks, garnering rave reviews. Wil hits the road once again in 2009 with his new show, Wilosophy.
Even though he has spent the majority of his adult life working at the ABC he has watched heaps of ads, and even appeared in a couple. Whore.


Todd Sampson
CEO of Leo Burnett, Todd is the co-creator of the Earth Hour initiative, which won the coveted Titanium at Cannes and Yahoo Chair for Innovation. Away from work, he enjoys mountain climbing and has completed a solo ascent to the top of Mount Everest.

Russel Howcroft
Chairman and Managing Director of George Patterson’s Y&R, Russel is a regular commentator on ABC 774 in Melbourne, a board member of the Melbourne Football Club and the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

NB: Todd and Russel hold down permanent spots on the Gruen panel. Everyone else appears in rotation. We see them less often, but love them just as much. In alphabetical order…

Jane Caro
Jane is a freelance copywriter, lecturer, author and media commentator. And a proud mum! She has been a copywriter in the advertising biz for 28 years, working for such agencies as Forbes, Macfie, Hansen, The Campaign Palace, JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi. She has won a number of awards for her creative work at shows around the world. She now runs her own communications consultancy, Jara Consulting, and does top-secret freelance work for a wide variety of agencies and clients. Somehow, she manages to squeeze in a job as a part-time lecturer in Advertising Creative at the University of Western Sydney.

Rebecca Carrasco
Joint Executive Creative Director of Colman Rasic Carrasco, Rebecca has been behind some of this region’s most awarded ads. Last year CRC work received five Gold, seven Silver and 14 Bronze medals at the world’s top shows. During six years as a Creative, Rebecca has worked on both sides of the Tasman. She has been a regular award judge, an industry speaker, and is co-head of the AWARD School. In her spare time she is doing a PhD on ideas at the University of Technology, Sydney. She likes Mr Men but hates pigeonholes (although she holds nothing against pigeons) and her favourite food is curry.

Rowan Dean
Rowan dropped out of the Australian National University in 1978 and headed to England. As a junior copywriter, he launched Fosters Lager (and Paul Hogan) onto an unsuspecting British public. He worked for London agencies Ogilvy and Mather and Collett Dickenson Pearce, winning many awards. In the industry, he is best known for co-writing “Photobooth” for Hamlet Cigars, an ad regularly voted among the best of all time. He has also run his own production company and been Chair of AWARD (the Australasian Writers And Art Directors Association). In 2006 he joined Euro RSCG as Executive Creative Director. Rowan lives on the northern beaches with his wife and son. 

Matt Eastwood
National Creative Director and Vice Chairman of DDB, Matt has overseen some of the most innovative and recognisable creative projects in advertising today. His career has spanned numerous agencies, specialties, and countries. In 2001, Maurice Saatchi caused a stir in Britain by installing Matt – an Aussie – as Executive Creative Director of his newly established M&C Saatchi London. After a successful stint in New York, Matt returned to DDB in Australia in 2006 to run the show, and his guidance ensured that in 2008 DDB was named Agency of the Year in four different award programs.

Dan Gregory
Dan graduated from University with a BA in Communications and went straight to work in Advertising. Within six months in the industry, he had won the top award for creativity in Australasia, an Award Pencil. In 2000, he headed overseas to work as a stand up comedian before coming home to Oz in 2003, when he co-founded the agency Kindred. Dan is now the Creative Director of SMART where his amazing brain and cracker charm is celebrated daily.

Matt Jones
Matt Jones is Creative Strategist and Director of Strategy at Jack Morton. Matt began his career as a UK government economist before moving into political campaigning. He was made Chief Political Adviser (Communications) to the UK Conservative Party in 2003. After migrating to Australia in 2005, he had a brief stint advising the NSW Government on communications strategy, then joined Jack Morton, where he works on brand experiences and integrated marketing campaigns. Matt is a regular writer, speaker, and blogger.

Dee Madigan
An English teacher by trade, Dee sold out and joined the advertising world in 1995. She spent almost a decade at Lowe Hunt during which time she was a winner or finalist at almost all major awards, including Cannes, New York International, Caxtons and Folio. In 2007 Dee joined the newly established Cummins Nitro Sydney where she is the senior creative. When not writing award-winning ads, she changes nappies.

Carolyn Miller
Carolyn has more than 10 years experience in the industry and has both worked as a Suit and a Planner, crossing over from media to creative advertising fairly early in her career. She is currently Senior Planner at DDB Remedy, following a stint as Strategic Planner at Euro RSCG. Away from work and her love for creative advertising, Carolyn’s passion lies in writing music and regularly reviewing live gigs – her favourite to date being Sebastian Bach’s tantrum-peppered performance in 2007, which was as much theatre and drama as it was guitar riffs.  

Bridget Taylor
Bridget Taylor is a freelance creative who believes no job is too small for a big idea.  This attitude has earned her acclaim at award shows worldwide, including Cannes Gold, Adfest Best in show, D&AD, One Show, Clio and Award.  At the same time, she’s made her client’s brands famous.  And despite how this reads, she’s actually very down-to-earth.


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