How topicality took Gruen to another level

Last night, I’m sad to say, was the last of the current series of The Gruen Transfer.

And for me, it was the most entertaining yet.

But I must admit, I’ve been a little surprised at its ratings success.  

I say surprised, because my instinct would be that the more the ABC show dives into the strategic minutiae of marketing, the more it would be a turn-off for the public.

And yet the more detail it’s gone into, the more popular it has become. Which shows how little I know about telly.

But what made this series stand out for me is that by recording closer to transmission time, it was able to deliver a much more topical edge.

I can think of at least a couple of moments this series where my viewing was spoiled by professional annoyance at myself that they’d tackled a topic I should have gone after – and done it well.

A great example was their coverage of the strategies behind tobacco manufacturers’ attempts to beat the law on plain packaging.

The Gruen Transfer told this story in a better way than any other trade press or mainstream outlet.

And they did that several times this series. The Kogan/ Harvey Norman battle is another example where they took the story on.

For those of us working in or around the industry, we should appreciate what we have here. To have an intelligent weekly prime time discussion of the world of advertising is something that doesn’t happen in any other market.

I’m sure the series four recommission announcement won’t be far away.

Tim Burrowes


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