While I’m on the topic of Australian politics, the news that the team behind ABC’s The Gruen Transfer will be producing a series of episodes on the upcoming federal election campaign, during the campaign.
For those who’re not familiar with it, the show is named for Victor Gruen, the architect who designed the now-ubiquitous shopping mall to disorient patrons and sap them of their agency — at which moment the “Gruen transfer” is said to have taken place. It’s a frank weekly look at the nuts and bolts, tricks and traps of advertising, fronted by comedians, tricksters and advertisers themselves and you can watch it on the ABC website.
Of course, the techniques employed to sell soap or soft drink or summer holidays can be and often are equally applied to politics — the howls of those who would rather pretend it were otherwise, that politics is somehow different notwithstanding. So during the campaign is the very best time to air such a look at how the same techniques apply to political marketing. Well done ABC. I’d love to see such a thing here. This is the machinery at the sharp end of democratic consent-manufacture.
(And for interest, here’s a long article about Gruen and mall design from The New Yorker.)