Amid all the commentary about Australia's rather curious election campaign, there's one angle that hasn't received the airtime it deserves. The received wisdom is that no one won on Saturday. Au contraire. There was a winner – and it was the Australian advertising industry.
The various parties spent about $50 million on campaign advertising between them – charging past the previous record of about $30 million in a six-week campaign -- with the bulk of that shelled out by the two main parties, and an unprecedented share going to broadcast television, where the networks have happily cashed in.
You can add tens of millions more for the anti-government lobby group campaigns that fired up long before the election was called – and which, in some cases, are still operating.
And it remains entirely possible that they'll have to do it all again sooner rather than later. Big business and the trade unions are apparently already checking their bank balances as they're approached by the two major parties, who emptied their accounts in a $30 million media blitz in the last days of the campaign.
On this week's Media7 I'll be talking via satellite to legendary Australian media buyer Harold Mitchell, who's quoted in this story in The Australian.
Then we'll turn to former New Zealand Labour Party president Mike Williams, who has been in Australia observing the campaign and, in particular, watching the media.
We'll round out the show by bringing in Denis Welch for a look at the weekend newspaper market, where, among other things, the Herald on Sunday continues to prosper and Fairfax's Sunday News looks in need of a reboot.
There's also the Saturday Weekend Herald's recent redesign to size up. The paper looks great – but has the Review section, generally the home of the paper's best journalism, been sold short by being absorbed into Section A – and could that new magazine (aimed at the ladies, apparently) actually be any more fluffy and trivial?
If you'd like to join us for the recording at TVNZ tomorrow evening -- that is, Wednesday -- click "Reply" below and let me know.
Another notable feature of the campaign advertising across the Tasman was its even more negative than usual orientation.
This Liberal ad, targeted at Queensland voters in the last week of the election, unabashedly attacks Julia Gillard on character – and is reckoned to have been particularly effective.
Not so successful, according to the commentariat, Labor's "Time Warp" cartoon ad aimed at Tony Abbott:
Personally, I liked the style of The Australian Sex Party, who didn't let having something serious to say get in the way of having some fun: