The Gruen Transfer

If you're one of those fortunate people to have Sky, or better yet MySky, (because let's face it, no one wants to miss Outrageous Fortune) then you may have heard of a show on Comedy Central at 8.30 on Tuesday evenings called The Gruen Transfer.

The Gruen Transfer is an Australian based show focusing on advertising. For those who are blissfully unaware of advertising, how it works and why it's so fascinating, this is a great place to get involved. It's currently in it's third season however Comedy Central are only up to the second in New Zealand.

This funny as guy Wil (with one L) Anderson hosts the shot along with a panel of 'advertising experts' who are regularly shifted around. There are two dudes who have permanent spots on the panel named Todd Sampson and Russel Howcroft. Todd has this crazy American accent which isn't quite so American, and it really pisses me off trying to guess where he's from, and he's a douche. Russel has no sense of humour and everyone blatantly doesn't like him. These two fight all the time and it's really cringe-worthy trying to watch.

Anyway, on the show they scrutinize and pick apart ads and give some really interesting insight into the back story of the campaigns etc. There is usually an ECD (Executive Creative Director) featured on the show who is usually able to answer the questions on why certain ads were actually given the okay and put through into production.

The show is split up into many, entertaining segments. These segments include Ad of the Week, where Wil and the bunch look at an ad and discuss how effective it really is, What is this Ad for, where the beginning of an ad is shown a then stopped, then the panel of experts need to guess what exactly the ad is trying to sell. This segment is where some true creativity shines.

My favourite segment however is one called The Pitch, where the producers write up a brief and challenge two top ad agencies from Australia and New Zealand to try and sell something which would normally be considered unsellable. Such as plastic surgery to children and cane toads as lovable, domesticated house pets. Saatchi and Saatchi Wellington and Y&R Auckland both gave this one a shot. The judges then vote and award a representative with a fun little trophy that means nothing. Riveting stuff.

Here is a great clip where two agencies were given the task to make Australia as unappealing as possible for the tourist. Second one is fucking gold!

Once you get passed how heavily edited this show is, it's a fantastic watch. I'd highly recommend and you don't have to know anything about ads to enjoy it. Even my flat mates who couldn't give a fuck about advertising have a good time watching it. It's all over youtube and I'm sure it's streamable online. In a nutshell, it's a bunch of pals having a few laughs about figuring out ways to make people buy useless shit that they don't want. Wil is a fucking hoot too and carries the show (and even though it's obviously scripted, he delivers.)

While I'm on this subject I should probably mention New Zealand's answer called, wait for it, The Ad Show. It's shown on TVNZ 6 or 7 or something and just sucks ass. It features two terribad presenters talking to scrubs in the audience who have no idea what they're talking about. I've only ever watched it once and haven't exactly been a hurry to again. You'll find it streaming on the TVNZ website somewhere if you want to give it a go, but please don't judge our industry based on this crap. Go google The Gruen Transfer.

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