Ad-free TVNZ7 to screen new show about ads

Annoyed by the dearth of commercials on TVNZ7? Well, be annoyed no more ad lovers, because Top Shelf, the production company behind Media 7, is remedying the shortage by making a show that focuses on the advertising industry.

The 30 minute programme, appropriately titled The Ad Show, will debut on 17 February (Media 7 has reverted back to its original half-hour format for 2010 to make way for the newbie).

Raewyn Rasch, the show’s producer and all-round media guru, says there’s so much advertising involved in television that the industry deserved its own show. Added to that, she says the general public seems to be fascinated by advertising, whether it be for reasons of cynicism and mistrust or entertainment.

NBR columnist Hazel Phillips, who featured regularly as an advertising commentator on Media 7, will host the show and Simon Pound, Media 7’s reporter and self-proclaimed dog’s body, will be “peeking behind the curtains” of the industry, looking at ads as they’re made or interviewing some of the industry’s unique characters, of which there is no shortage.

Rasch says advertising is extremely fertile ground for interesting, opinionated interview subjects and issues (the show will feature both local and international stories).

“When you look at it from a creative perspective, the industry’s home to some of the country’s great talent. And they can tell a good yarn too.”

And while the show should obviously find favour with advertising and marcomms folk, she thinks it will also have a much wider appeal, as evidenced by the “hugely successful” Fair Go Ad Awards (in 2008, with 750,000 viewers, it was ONE’s second highest rating show of the year behind the final of Dancing With The Stars).

Rasch is hoping for more audience involvement in the show than in Media 7 and the opinions of the audience members will be requested during filming. Outside the studio, she’s aiming to follow in the footsteps of Fair Go, “give the audience a voice” and inspire plenty of user-generated content, whether it be creating original ads or spoofs of existing campaigns.

As far as she knows, this is the first time a show focused on advertising has screened in New Zealand, but the Gruen Transfer (“Meet the minds that are shaping yours”), which is more of a chat show hosted by comedian Wil Anderson that critiques ad campaigns, has been a big success for ABC in Australia.

“They’re playing for laughs,” she says. “We’ll have plenty of laughs, but we’ll also be dealing with more serious issues,” she says, such as advertising to children or the marketing of junk food. “I think the New Zealand audience love fun; the spoofs and take offs. But some of the issues that face the ad industry mirror the issues that face the country.”

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