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Gruen Planet Series 1 - Episode 08 (ATOM Study Guide)

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Four seasons into The Gruen Transfer and what have we learned? That most of us can be bought or sold. And that sometimes, it actually feels good. We're all coerced and serenaded by advertising, an industry devoted to changing our minds and our behaviour.

But advertising is not the only industry that wants to get inside our heads and move the furniture around. Which brings us to spin, branding, and image control. Along with advertising, they form the nervous system of twenty-first century life. They're the levers pulled behind most news stories, the silent partners in public debates.

Gruen thinks it's time to look at these dark arts as well. Because everyone is on the sell. Tyrants. Sports stars. Actors. Criminals. Politicians. Deities. Charities. Entire nations. They're all trying to persuade us to think, buy or do things that we weren't thinking, buying or doing yesterday.

Gruen Planet, our latest show – in advertising they call it a brand extension – will run an x-ray across the world each week, unpicking the stories that affect us all. How do you protect an unstable government when a backbencher goes feral? Does Tiger cut it anymore as a business? How has the Arab uprising been turned into Western profit? What was the Dalai Lama doing on MasterChef? Who do you turn to when your family name is your brand and it's become toxic?

Each week, host Wil Anderson will be joined by regulars Todd Sampson and Russel Howcroft, along with some of Australia's smartest communications experts. They will take us inside the persuasion business and explain why the world appears, not as it really is, but as others want us to see it. Why everything is spin, branding, advertising and image control.

Synopsis, Episode 8

This week, in Episode 8: Branding news – bikies and beer in Belgium, and responsible drink-driving in New Zealand; The Image Renovators – Tiger Woods; Spin Cycle – online recruitment ad for a tobacco company, printing your name on a Coca Cola bottle, and the Texas governor who forgot his lines; the Pitch – to give Christmas the heave-ho; How do you sell – Islam; and the Worst Product Ever – after 16 weeks the winner is revealed.

Important topics in this episode include the reasons behind why advertisers will either discontinue or continue to sponsor celebrities who fall from moral grace. As well, we look at the issues surrounding the introduction in Australia of TV ads promoting the Islam faith.

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