Gruen keeps growing
Comedian Wil Anderson will soon be back fronting the ninth season of Gruen. He tells DANIELLE McGRANE NE how the show has lasted so long and why it’s more relevant than ever.
In a world where the US President is considered to be a brand, and advertisers and marketers are targeting us directly on our phones, Gruen has never seemed more relevant.
As the show returns to the ABC, the fortuitous timing of its ninth season is not lost on host Wil Anderson.
“If you’d asked us 10 years ago if we thought we’d still be doing Gruen I think people would have thought you were crazy, but what we didn’t realise was that the world has changed so the show has become more relevant,” Anderson said.
Along with panellists Russel Howcroft, Todd Sampson and Dee Madigan, and advertising experts, Anderson will be ready to unpick, analyse and demystify the advertising and marketing process at a time when it’s probably needed the most.
“Ten years ago you weren’t being delivered ads to your phone that are specifically being targeted to you because the companies have been mining your data and know what it is that you want,” Anderson said.
“So for a show like ours that tries to explain the world through that prism, it’s actually become a much more relevant show today than it was when we started, and that’s the attitude that we try to bring to the table. This show actually suits these times more than it ever has before.”
As Anderson points out, people are more aware of the language of advertising and marketing than ever before and even use it themselves every day.
“Teens have their own personal brand, we have a world where Instagram influencers have bigger audiences than major newspapers and television networks. Advertising is so entwined with the way that we communicate,” he said.
“These massive means of communication have been so entwined with advertising and marketing in a way that they weren’t a decade ago.”
The show has evolved so much over its tenure, with the various Gruen spinoffs including Gruen Nation and
Gruen Planet, that the team are not averse to change. This season they plan to mix things up again to focus on the show’s most successful moments.
“We’ve had so many different running segments over the years, we felt like by the end of last season that too many ideas were running in the show. We sometimes didn’t have time for all the conversations we would have liked to have had, so I think what we’re going to try to do is de-clutter for those conversations, which to me is always when the show is at its best,” he said.
“We’re trying to focus on being able to ask the best possible questions and get the best possible insights from our panellists.
“So we’ll be focusing a bit more on those big meaty conversations.”
The show will hopefully provide insight into marketing in areas such as Amazon in Australia, the NBN and anything else that is unlucky enough to crop up during the course of the season.
Gruen is also approaching its 99th episode. It’s a major milestone, but Anderson really does credit the changing world to some of the show’s continued success. He points to one of the world’s most influential people, US President Donald Trump, as an example of the changing world now inhabits.
“I mean, look at the influence advertising and marketing can have – this is a guy who started his campaign as a branding exercise,” he said.
“I don’t claim any genius in the fact that we’ve been lucky enough that the show has become more relevant … But it’s certainly our attitude coming into this season that we have a story and a way to explain the world that is probably unique to our show.”
Mad world: Wil Anderson is back with the ninth season of Gruen.