When even the host doesn’t know what the new show is about, you sit patiently waiting to hear any sort of tidbit that gives you insight. We’d heard it’d be about spin (and EVERYTHING is about spin – even the supplied image with Todd in a digitally altered Gruen Planet T-shirt is about spin). PR. Branding. It looks like the newest Gruen from Zapruder’s Other Films is all that and more. Bring on The Gruen Planet. From the press release:

The earth spins. We don’t.

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 21st 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 any more 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.

Each week, two leading advertising agencies will contest The Pitch – this time, taking on seemingly impossible challenges from real-world scenarios. And each week, the Gruen bullshit detector (Australia’s favourite since 2008), will be turned way up past 11.

“We live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to spot the truth through the spin,” says Wil Anderson, “but to be honest, the real reason I am looking forward to Gruen Planet is that I want some tips for what to do next time I say something stupid and the shit hits the fan…”

Welcome to Gruen Planet…

The Gruen Planet – Wed 28/09 9pm, ABC1.
(Repeats from Thu 29/09 9.30pm, ABC2)