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The Wrighty Dead

Posted 30th March 2014

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The other day, I did a post about how much I loved a series of promos Channel 5 showed last year.1 It reminded me of the above: a promo that – as far as I’m aware – Channel 5 never actually broadcast.

It’s hardly surprising, really. I loved the Ask an Aussie promos because they were perfectly targeted and entertaining in their own right. The above promo cross-promotes – of all things – The Walking Dead and… The Wright Stuff. It’s one of the most entertaining TV promos I’ve ever seen… but how the bloody hell would you schedule it? The tone is entirely unsuitable for daytime, but it doesn’t really make that much sense to promote a daytime talk show late at night either.

But then, that’s the fun. The total incongruity of it all. Any promo which ends with Matthew Wright surrounded by a horde of killer zombies has to be worth something. (It has some particularly good sound design, too.) Just try to ignore the fact that – as with a lot of their US dramas – Channel 5 went on to drop The Walking Dead from its schedule. Ahem.

Fun fact: the breakdown loop that features during the promo is the actual breakdown loop Channel 5 uses if there is a problem, and the announcer is one of the actual Channel 5 continuity announcers. A bit of artistic licence is used for how quickly that announcement would make it to air, mind…

  1. Disclaimer, in case you didn’t read it in the last article: I worked in Channel 5 TX until earlier this year. 

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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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GOLD “Summer” Promo

Posted 21st January 2012

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Here’s a slightly bizarre promo running on GOLD at the moment, which is a good example of how to take an interesting idea and do it in the trademark GOLD irritating way:

I’m certainly not posting this for its quality, but I thought it was worth mentioning just because it’s quite rare for television itself talks about scheduling and transmission to the general public, especially in promos and the like. Feels very odd. Could have been great in the right hands.

Anyway, transmission is more exciting than scheduling, natch.

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