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Ask an Aussie

Posted 26th March 2014

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Here’s something I doubt many people reading this site will have seen: a Channel 5 filler from 2013 called Ask an Aussie.1 (There’s also a shorter version on YouTube, which has worse picture quality but includes some funny sections the above version lacks.)

For a start, this wins points simply for being a specially-shot promo, rather than just being a montage of clips stuck together or using EPK material. I don’t wish to denigrate the art of putting together promos using show clips too much; done well they can be absolutely incredible. But some of my favourite promos have come from using specially-shot material, and it just doesn’t happen enough these days for drama and comedy. Maybe the trailer for Psycho is the most famous example, but what sitcom wouldn’t benefit from something like this? Or this? It’s a shame so many programmes rely on just clip-based trailers these days.

OK, so maybe this promo isn’t quite in the same league as those examples. But it’s still lots of fun, and rather more effort than most people would expect Channel 5 to go to.2 What I especially love about it is that it does something else that’s not done enough these days: it ties the whole channel together. Of course it’s ostensibly promoting the channel’s two big Australian soaps, Home & Away and Neighbours. But it also manages to beautifully incorporate loads of other Channel 5 shows: Robson’s Extreme Fishing Challenge, Cowboy Traders, Benidorm ER, Eddie Stobart. A proper, Channel 5 brand trailer… without just sticking together clips from a load of shows with a Channel 5 logo slapped on the end.

Of course, the intention with this this is all about building brand loyalty with the channel, etc, etc, etc. Crucially, though, the makers of the promo don’t forget that in order for this to work, it has to be entertaining in its own right. As all the best adverts are. Three minutes of fun, which also does its intended job at the same time.

Something original, that grabs your attention, with actual effort put into it, and is entertaining at the same time? I wish more TV promos were made this way.

  1. Disclaimer: I worked in Channel 5 transmission until earlier this year. 

  2. Which is unfair, as they actually have an awful lot of nice touches to their trails and continuity. This unusual but very effective take on a channel menu is a case in point. 

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James W on 27 March 2014 @ 8am

There was a time when, in order to reserve the space that became Channel 5 + 24, Ask an Aussie was used late night on said space as its sole content. To me, therefore, it took on a life of its own outside of mere promotion, and became more of a late night ‘easter egg’

John Hoare on 27 March 2014 @ 1pm

Ah-ha, I had heard about that! Never saw it go out – Channel 5+24 is done from a different playout provider than main Channel 5.