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.

Sunday Territorian - - TV -

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.

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