First there was The Gruen Transfer and now there’s :30 Seconds – a new Australian comedy-drama about advertising which is written by Aussie ad agency Three Drunk Monkeys (3DM).
3DM, which incidentally is working with StarHub, wrote the new show, specifically its executive creative directors Justin Drape and Scott Nowell with Prodigy Films director Tim Bullock. :30 Seconds is being produced by Zapruder’s Other Films, which was behind The Gruen Transfer. For those who don’t know it, The Gruen Transfer is a hugely successful Australian TV show which analyzes the world of advertising. It features a panel of advertising members, like George Patterson Y&R Australia CEO Russel Howcroft, Leo Burnett Australia CEO Todd Sampson (who has now become some kind of sex symbol because of the program) and DDB Australia ECE Matt Eastwood. The show has been a ratings hit and provided the general public with an interesting, and humorous look, into the world of advertising.
Here's some clips from The Gruen's segment The Pitch, where two ad agencies have to made ads for a fake brief. This one's to promote the invasion of New Zealand.
And here's the second one.
On the back on The Gruen Transfer comes :30 Seconds. While I haven’t seen any of the show apart from these snippets promoting it online, it could be a winner as well.
With a high-profile cast, :30 Seconds is set in the fictional world of multinational agency BND. If you throw the classic American drama Mad Men into this mix, it seems to be a golden age for fictional TV programs about the advertising and marketing world. Mad Men, now just starting its third season in the US (and the second season to debut on pay TV in Asia soon), has been a massive hit and so has The Gruen Transfer in Australia (it’s just finished its second series). Gruen has made it overseas to quite a few countries I believe, but not to Asia.
Why is that? And will :30 Seconds make it to Asia? Why couldn’t we have an Asian version of The Gruen Transfer, with Asian industry members dissecting Asian ads?
I think there’s definitely room in Asia’s TV environment for a show that examines the world of advertising, whether it be done in a fictional way or in a more light-hearted, comedic approach. Both Mad Men and The Gruen Transfer have made advertising seem more interesting and exciting (and more important) as a profession, and in Australia graduate numbers for advertising careers have soared.
If the marketing and advertising industry wants to claim its fair share of the best and brightest young minds around wouldn’t this be a good, if a little unorthodox way, of doing it in Asia?
It might not be exactly tied in, but HP’s new Asian reality TV show which encourages creativity is at least I start. I, for one though, would like to see more of this kind of thing.