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Masters of Spin - Election Media & DeNiro's Bagels

On this week's Masters of Spin, we discuss the Election media blackout, Robert DeNiro's Bagel "gangster" bagel commercial and Nestle's confusing ingredient change for Milo.

Check out the segment here



Basil Zempilas: Welcome back. It's Election Day, and that means possibly the first weekend in months that you've watched TV without a Clive Palmer commercial during the ad breaks.

Monque Wright: Yip, he's been out for months, hasn't he? But for all political parties in campus the airwaves fell silent on Thursday, as part of campaign blackout laws. Only on traditional media though, and not online where the likes of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google can still, and run the ads.

Basil Zempilas: Which is solely antiquated in its own way. Our masters of speed and advertising experts Jane Caro and Matthew Bywater are here. I mean, that's got to change, doesn't it? I mean some of the one for all, or all for one, you can... newspaper's still full of it. Online's still full of it, but no radio, no TV.

Jane Caro: Yeah, it's bizarre, and I think you're right. It's either everybody does it, or nobody does it. My own view is that paid political advertising is maybe a bad thing these days, and that in fact we need to do something different in the way that we get parties to get their policies and messages across.

Rather than have someone like, you know, Clive Palmer, who can just buy his way-

Matthew Bywater: 15 million.

Jane Caro: Yeah, because he's rich. That's a real problem for a democracy. That's not a good look at all, so yes, the blackouts really doesn't work anymore. But maybe we should have a total blackout, and do it completely differently.

Matthew Bywater: And I think you left some politicians... they're full of it too. 

Jane Caro: Also, just looking at the ads. I mean where we talked about these ads that Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison did, leading up. They were okay, but in general, political ads don't hold there own. 

They spend a lot of money on them, though they not very schmick, are they?

Matthew Bywater: Yeah, it's not so much the money. There's some problems politica. One is, unfortunately negative sorts, and you look at political advertising around the world, negative's such an important factor, so that's one thing.

The other things is there's also the egos involved. You got the leaders of the party, which you know they got their own egos. Also the campaign directors, so it's a tough task if you're the agency working with these guys, they're not easy to work with. 

Basil Zempilas: Not easy to tell them, "No. Actually you shouldn't be the prominent person," as you said. That's a very good point. I want to move on, because Robert De Niro is accused of selling his soul after making an ad for a British bagel company with The Godfather theme from his famous movies. Have a look.

Robert De Niro: Me and my New York associates, we been thinking, "Who's this skinny kid muscling in on the bagel business?"

Speaker 6: Skinny? That's awfully-

Robert De Niro: I'm still not done. You got a nice family business here Johnny Boy. Very nice, and it's given me an idea. Picture this-

Basil Zempilas: Robert De Niro's been working on his super annulation for the last years. He's in every movie that comes out, and now it seems, every ad as well. But does this cheapen the Robert De Niro brand?

Matthew Bywater: Not this ad. This is done extremely well. I mean, this is movie-cast quality, as far as they've set it all up. I actually thinks this helps him. I actually think this helps him. This reinvigorates his career. 

Jane Caro: I'm absolutely refound. I think this is an awesome ad. I think Robert De Niro read this script, and went, "Actually this really works for me." Also, another thing is, this is just in Britain. What you notice about Hollywood movie stars is they will do ads in other countries, because it keeps their reputation clean in America.

Basil Zempilas: If you had to guess, how much do you reckon he would get for that?

Jane Caro: For Robert De Niro, we talking an awful lot of money [crosstalk 00:03:12]-

Basil Zempilas: Millions.

Matthew Bywater: Millions, millions definitely.

Jane Caro: Yeah, probably.

Monque Wright: Wow.

Matthew Bywater: Three or four.

Monque Wright: Worth it?

Jane Caro: Oh yeah. For that ad? Every cent. It's genius.

Monque Wright: All right. Terrific. Enter New Zealand now, and Nestle has reverted to the original Milo recipe. Thank goodness. After a backlash over a change to the flavor. They added malted vitamins and crucially reduced the amount of vanilla significantly, changing the taste.

What do you reckon Jane?

Jane Caro: Why do they do this? Why would companies do this, and mess with the flavor? 

Monque Wright: They go to some focus group somewhere that tells them they should, and really they shouldn't.

Jane Caro: I don't know how many times I've seen this , probably on this program, but classic brand's a classic because they remind us of our childhood. Our life taste is part of that. Packaging is part of that. The new marketing team who want to reinvent the wheel, or reinvent the Milo, or the Vegemite, or whatever. Stop it. Step away from the product. It works really well. Leave it alone.

Basil Zempilas: If it's not broken, don't fix it Matthew.

Matthew Bywater: Exactly. And nostalgia, that's an important thing.

Jane Caro: It's nostalgia.

Matthew Bywater: And Coke did this, the most famous story of all. Focus groups said, "Yeah, we like the new flavor," but at the end of the day, people remember what they grew up with. You can't mess with that.

Jane Caro: And they want familiarity. New is not always better. Sometimes we want just what we always used to.

Basil Zempilas: That's what we keep telling the producers of this show. Don't-

Monque Wright: Just keep it. Don't change it.

Basil Zempilas: Don't change the tune.

Monque Wright: Thank you Matt. Thank you Janey. Big day for you Janey. Mother of the bride. Janey's beautiful daughter Charlotte, and groom to be, David, are getting married today.

Basil Zempilas: Congratulations.

Monque Wright: Wonderful.

Basil Zempilas: Good luck. Have a lovely day.

Jane Caro: Thank you. On Election Day.

Monque Wright: She's a gorgeous woman.

Basil Zempilas: She picked it well.

Jane Caro: Yes well. It'll be great.

Monque Wright: Jane's apparently been told she's not allowed to talk about the Election in the first speech. Love that. See you both. Still to come. The first words from voters as they arrive to have their say in Australia's most crucial electorates.

Basil Zempilas: Last, the incredible number of Hollywood legends who've been nominated so many times, but alas, have never won an Oscar. (music)


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