Yoke Makes Small Screen Debut on Gruen Planet’s ‘The Pitch’

Gruen Planet is, in my mind at least, the best program on Australian TV. The show’s creators seem to have mastered the perfect balance between educating and entertaining. Each week they herald the best in marketing, advertising and PR with as much gusto as they lampoon the worst and the results make you think as much as they make you laugh.

You can imagine therefore our excitement when we were invited to appear on the show’s regular segment ‘The Pitch’, where two agencies are tasked with ‘selling the unsellable.’

Over the years, The Pitch has seen some of the country’s top shops appear on the show, producing some amazing pieces of advertising that have attempted to sell everything from whale meat to euthanasia.

Gruen Planet behind-the-scenes

For us, an equally challenging brief was set as we were tasked with creating and producing an ad that would restore the faith in the Australian Cricket team.

As any fan would know, the golden years of Australian Cricket are a bit of a distant memory at the moment with the team suffering a number of humiliating defeats at the hands of India, South Africa and (most annoyingly) England in recent years.

So, how can you convince the nation that all is not lost, that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that victory will be ours once again?

It was a tough one. We looked at it from a number of different angles attempting to find that sacred human insight that lies at the heart of all good advertising.

One of the most important things for us was to ensure that we stayed 100% on brief – rule #1 in the school of advertising. Many of our initial ideas had to be put aside because, although they were great at restoring faith in cricket, they failed to direct that resurgence of belief towards the current team.

We took a trip down to the sports museum at the MCG – the sacred home of the game in this country – to look at the amazing collection of cricketing artifacts and memorabilia in the hope of sparking an idea. We rang round our most die-hard cricket loving mates and asked them what they thought. Finally, we looked to the future, checking out the next wave of talent that was on the horizon to see if there was anything in there that we could use.

After coming up with three scripts and sending them through to the producers, we got the green light on an idea that had a simple concept at its core – to turn the perceived weaknesses of the Australian team into strengths and remind the country that Australians don’t love their sports stars because they win; they love them because they make them proud to be Australian.

With that in our back pocket, we set about storyboarding the ad, sourcing images and photoshopping the sh*t out of them, recording, animating, mastering, tweaking, mastering again and sending off our finished idea.

Gruen Planet is filmed at the ABC studios in Sydney the night before it airs. So, Yoke hopped on a plane and hot footed our way down to the set where, after some liberal make up application and a quick dry run-through with host Will Anderson, stepped out into the bright lights to present our offering to the audience, the panel and over 700,000 viewers.

ABC Studios

On the night itself, the votes went against us with the win going to Mike Barry and the talented team at The White Agency. However, we were proud of our showing, and getting the nod from ad industry legend Russel Howcroft meant a lot, as did the positive feedback and support we’ve received since the show has gone to air.

Check out our ad below and a bit of a behind the scenes look at its production.

Finally, we’d like to thank a few people without whom all this would not have been possible. Rowan, Travis and Sez for some invaluable insights, Erika and Matteo, a.k.a. Mathery, for coming up with some great scripts, Angus Smallwood for unearthing the fact itself, Charlie, Dan and all at Burning House who took on production duties, Matt at Sonic Playground and Heath for the v/o. Big thanks to Colleen, Polly, Emma, Michael and everyone at Gruen for inviting us on and being awesome.

Next time we’re coming back for the trophy!