The Gruen transfer – brilliant Australian tv show about advertising

 In advertising

I came across a hidden gem today – the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the ABC – an equivalent of the BBC) have a show called The Gruen Transfer.  While some of the London Calling readers know I am an Australian living in London, many of my readers are in the Northern hemisphere, and so would not have discovered this site by accident.

What lead me to the show was an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website about a fake campaign developed as part of the show’s “the pitch” segment where well known ad men and ad women compete against each other to put together a pitch for selling the unsellable.

In this instance, two creative teams came up with pitches to invade New Zealand – one based on the successful “100% Pure New Zealand” campaign where they extended this to highlight the fact that NZ has 0% Air Force and is therefore a good target to be invaded by Australians! See the clip from You Tube below.

The show’s name comes from Victor Gruen, the guy who designed the very first shopping mall. The term describes that split second when the mall’s intentionally confusing layout makes our eyes glaze and our jaws slacken… the moment when we forget what we came for and become impulse buyers.

The show’s website is well worth a visit if you work in adland (or even if you don’t) as some of Australia’s greatest ad creatives critique some of their own campaigns, as well as previous well known ads that have appeared on Australian and international TV. 

There is also an excellent section called Ad Workers that explains what different people actually do in an advertising agency and you can even generate your own “ad speak“. 

My personal favourite is the consumers revenge section where you can make your own ads! They even have the source files for those keen enough to product their own finished product.


I doubt that the BBC or one of the commercial channels would ever be brave enough to produce such a show….or would they?  The BBC have finished screening the first series of the brilliant AMC produced Mad Men series, and they also had a number of specials on advertising – so who knows?

While you are here ...

Did you know that Andrew also speaks regularly on topics such as this at conferences and events around the world.

You may wish to view Andrew's extensive speaking portfolio at

If you enjoyed this blog post you may like other related posts listed below under You may also like ...

To receive future posts you can subscribe via email or RSS, download the android app, or follow me on twitter @andrewgrill.


Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.