TVNZ Blacksand aims to fuel the conversation with Seven Sharp pun-fest

A fat kid eating a burger, Prince William ogling a breasty statue, and Miley screaming out on her Bangerz tour … This is Seven Sharp’s new campaign and it’s all about what Jens Hertzum, Blacksand’s executive creative director, calls witty interpretations of provocative pictures.

Six Adshels popped up around the country to promote the show a couple of weeks ago and another six have been installed today. And the posters aim to remind viewers what Seven Sharp stands for: “A single-minded proposition, cutting through the headline clutter, and the presenters saying it like it is with witty insight,” says Hertzum. 

Hertzum’s faves are “Miley due to the topicality [Miley is to tour New Zealand with her show ‘Bangerz’] and strong imagery with a cracking pun … and Prince Charles because it’s a fun arresting image that pokes gentle fun at our favourite prince.”

There’s also one on the back of buses especially for Auckland:

He says the campaign isn’t trying to start a conversation, but instead be part of a conversation that’s already out there. The Miley poster’s conversations could be about “Miley Cyrus, or child stars nurtured in the limelight of fame, or boundary pushing – we’re not saying that any of this is good or bad.” In fact, the campaign’s overall aim was to be more about daily conversations rather than the show itself.

“We had a lot of team members throwing in thoughts and ideas, with either images or topics that were really strong. Each one had to have a sense of humour and an ‘Oh’ moment, a twist with the image and caption and, of course, topicality. The gamut of subjects is quite broad, from local to international, which is the scope of the show too.”

Just like many other shows that are now letting the audience influence the content, the campaign is backed up with a meme machine on the Seven Sharp site, where the public can create their own memes that will feature on the show on Thursday nights to be “talked about”. It’s supported by show sponsor RaboDirect, which is also promoting its content marketing platform Common Cents, and the most compelling entry gets an iPad Mini as a prize.

At the time of publishing there are more than 450 memes displayed that have made the cut.

While Hertzum says the brief was to increase viewership (the last campaign, ‘No Ordinary Stories’, was mid last year, and they hadn’t done one since the new presenters Mike Hosking and Toni Street came on board in February), Seven Sharp is already doing pretty well.

Its first year was a whirlwind of abuse and fairly poor ratings, with the lack of hardhitting stories and at-times awkward banter between the numerous hosts giving TV3’s Campbell Live a bit of a boost (it beat TV One for the first time ever in the 7pm slot). But TVNZ persevered with the infotainment approach, changed the presenting format and installed a new executive producer. And it seems to have worked, with Nielsen figures showing it has gone from an average 5+ audience of 407,000 in 2013 to 497,000 in July 2014 (in its target 25-54 demographic, it has increased its audience steadily this year, with an average of 138,000 viewers in July 2014 compared to 79,200 for Campbell Live, which is down on its 2013 average of 95,300). 

AP 5+

AP 25-54

Seven Sharp

Avg Audience (In 000s)

Rating %

Share %

Avg Audience (In 000s)

Rating %

Share %








Jan 14 – Jul 14




























Source: Nielsen TAM, Consolidated. Programme based information includes ratings from Plus 1 channel and share is based on TV One performance only. 

Hosking is a very opinionated, very polarising figure. But, love him or loathe him, there’s no doubt he has added a new more journalistic dimension to the show and there’s good rapport between the two hosts. APN is also running ads for Hosking’s Newstalk ZB show in The Herald that say ‘just as sharp in the morning’. And, perhaps helping push his personal brand even further (or increase the ire some feel towards him), his Newstalk ZB breakfast show rants have been parodied by comedian Jeremy Wells on Radio Hauraki, with his ‘Like Mike’ slot gaining plenty of fans (some examples here and here). 

Says Wells to the Herald: “[Our bosses] cited Mike Hosking’s ZB show as an example of a high-rating radio juggernaut and claimed that we needed to take on some of his professionalism and dedication if we were going to climb into the top ten. I took their comments literally and began imitating Mike’s centre-right, commonsense, daily editorial rants for our morning show.”

About Author

Comments are closed.