Sep 13, 2010

Hamilton: Gruen’s gift to the advertisers

The Gruen Transfer encourages Australia’s young "best and brightest" to devote their lives -- not to finding a cancer cure, teaching indigenous kids or campaigning against climate change -- but to making clever TV ads for front groups created by the tobacco industry.

The television ads by the ‘Alliance of Australian Retailers’ depicting battling shop-keepers crying foul over government plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes have been revealed as a sham, all part of an exercise cooked up by the tobacco industry in cahoots with a PR firm known as The Civic Group.

The exposé shows again just how grubby the advertising-marketing-PR complex can be. But you wouldn’t know it from the ABC’s paean to the advertising industry, The Gruen Transfer. The popular TV show sells itself as “a show about advertising, how it works, and how it works on us”, except it’s hard to see how it has done anything useful other than provide half an hour of light entertainment.

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37 thoughts on “Hamilton: Gruen’s gift to the advertisers

  1. Neil Walker

    Bill Hicks said it best *swearing warning*:

  2. Delerious

    Sorry, don’t agree except The Gruen Transfer is fun. Do you think you are preaching to the converted. Do you think the advertising industry is amoral. Just remember people/organisations hire them. A bit like attacking the prostitute as apposed to the user. The advertising industry is the ultimate thinking-out-of-the box industry. It would be nice if the people could channel their brilliance into good as apposed to evil but you can’t win all of the time.

  3. martin english

    G’day, Clive
    I’d expect a bit more depth from a University professor, something a bit deeper than Advertising bad, so anything using Advertising bad. Anyway, it did make me curious – where your grocery money comes from ?

    If (because I really don’t know) you got paid for this and other articles you write – both online and in dead trees – then aren’t you actually profiting from Advertising ? That makes you worse than the ABC, it puts you right up with that crusty old capitalist Russel Howcroft.

    BTW, expecting either Russell or Todd to be anti advertising would be a bit silly, if you’d ever watched the show. The only stereotype they miss on the panel is the Art Director with a pony-tail.

  4. Phil

    O Clive, cheer up a bit mate. It’s a TV comedy show not an ethics committee.

  5. Pete from Sydney

    it may be a must watch for the advertising industry but there’s another 1.480 million that watch it each week and don’t work for the advertsisng industry Clive..seriously, the modern consumer is the most cynical ever, they take everything with a grain of salt, the show is clever and fun, and that’s it

  6. Ern Malleys cat

    I thought the Election series was incredibly shallow.
    Where they had a chance to actually critique the whole drift to saturation negative advertising, most of the panellists just seemed happy to judge which would suck more people in.
    Interesting also were the two ads which got praise for being intelligent and persuasive — the pitched Greens ‘I Think’ one and the Brazilian ‘This is the truth’ one. But as Todd Sampson pointed out, the Brazilian candidate received less than 1% vote.
    Everyone seemed happy to conclude that dishonest and negative works. Says it all.

  7. Frank Campbell

    The original Savonarola wasn’t big on humour either. Burned at the stake for failing to see the joke. Any joke.

  8. Stevo the Working Twistie

    You’re right as usual Clive. All shows on Our ABC should feature earnest people in sensible shoes discoursing in an academic fashion about topics that are crucial to… umm… themselves. Hint – go to bed early on Tuesdays and tune in for Sunday Arts instead. Much more your style, and I’m sure you’d get on a treat with the other four people who watch it.

    (Disclaimer – I actually do watch the ABC on Sunday afternoons sometimes, but I don’t wear sensible shoes, and hardly ever talk to the other three).

  9. Pete

    Pretty much my feeling too. All one needs is a few weeks in upper secondary school learning how to make an advert to get the gist of this entire show and practically any point it will ever attempt to make. Apart from showing the occasional YouTube video from overseas, it’s little more than a marketing tool for marketing, which I agree is a little odd because all the ABC should be marketing is themselves (oh, and their products on Apple iPhones and iPads, of course… but that’s another story)

  10. baal

    The Gruen Transfer is nothing more or less than the Will Anderson Show – who probably wears ‘sensible shoes’ – sorry STEVO but your phrase is code for ‘progress-hating Greenie in a beanie’ – you know like lighten up guys it’s a trivial universe where fear and loathing should be shoved to the margins – together with subversive art – land for chrissakes leave us chuckleheads alone to have ‘fun’.

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