Wil’s spin ON ADS
When The Gruen Transfer became one of the ABC’s highest rating shows last year, no one was more surprised than host Wil Anderson.
The series, featuring industry experts explaining the ins and outs of advertising, averaged more than 1.4 million viewers each week, while its spin-off Gruen Nation became ABC’s highest rating show for the year.
“We were going to do a show about ads on the ABC, which doesn’t show ads, with people from the advertising industry, not professional entertainers, and I just assumed it would be, at best, a show that filled a void like Media Watch does,” Anderson says.
“Just a little show that people in that industry might look at.
“I never imagined it would so broadly connect with people.”
He believes the show has struck such a chord with audiences due to its balance of information and humour.
“I think we invite people into that world where you can come for the dick jokes and stay for the knowledge about how you’re being manipulated in the market,” Anderson says.
He has had huge personal success the past 18 months.
The 37-year-old’s standup show Wilful Misconduct played to sell-out audiences, he was nominated for a Gold Logie, won the People’s Choice Awards at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2010 and 2011, and was named GQ magazine’s media personality of the year.
“I just feel like this is a good patch. I feel like I’ve got a nice balance in my life,” he says.
“This year I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of overseas travelling as well, which freshens you up because you’re performing in front of audiences who don’t know who you are so you have to work a lot harder and you have to really have your head down.”
He’s come a long way from a few years ago, when online forums were filled with people claiming to detest the star.
“You have no control over how people perceive you, and I’m very much of the opinion that it’s better to have a bunch of people who dig what it is you have to offer, and then I don’t give a f*** about anybody else,” Anderson says bluntly.
“Hopefully, I’m creating something interesting and I’d rather just share it with people who enjoy it and are supportive people.”
The ABC no doubt hopes Anderson retains his popularity especially when spin-off Gruen Planet launches later this year.
Looking at the week’s news through spin, branding and image control, it’s a work in progress that Anderson sees as “a risk”, but one he hopes will be equally successful.
• The Gruen Transfer Wednesday, 9pm, ABC1