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Posts Tagged 'Mark Sainsbury'

Snickering with Paul Henry

 

I read that Paul Henry is to be the New Zealand face for Snickers. My initial response was that this was not surprising since Paul has been snickering at his fellow man and woman for years. He’s mean. And that is apparently the very quality that the makers of Snickers want in their ads.

I say ‘apparently’ because, thanks to MySky, I don’t have to watch commercials and have never seen a Snickers ad. But I gather they feature some of the behavioural ill-effects that hunger for chocolate can have on human beings. Meanness, it seems, is one.

So Paul is going to play himself in the commercial. And he’s delighted:

“I’m excited to be involved in something which essentially just allows me to be myself. I’m glad to be able to show that meanness can be fun and celebratory, and despite the old adage that it’s difficult to do, meanness really does come easy.”

We never thought otherwise, Paul.

Other Snickers front-people have included Betty White, Joe Pesci, Aretha Franklin, Liza Minnelli and Joan Collins, and Paul regards his inclusion in this Hollywood  A-list as “something of an honour”. I assume he means for him.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Who won, who lost in the first television leaders’ debate? I name the biggest loser.

 

Well, I won’t keep you in suspense. It wasn’t Goff. And it wasn’t Key. It was you and me – the voting public. We were conned by Television New Zealand into thinking that for an hour-and-a -half last night the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition would debate the serious issues that confront this country, the channel’s Political Editor, Guyon Espiner, would keep order and, by the end of the 90 minutes, we would all be better informed.

We should have learned from history not to trust that promise. Television New Zealand has never treated the Leaders’ Debates as anything more than an entertainment. Its remit to sell audiences to advertisers, its suspicion that viewers are fundamentally uninterested in politics, its conviction that the attention span of the average television consumer is seven minutes tops and its paranoia about doing anything that might bore that viewer into switching channels, all contribute  to the entertainment ethos that drives the Leaders’ Debates.

‘Debates’ is of course a misnomer. A real debate requires an extensive exchange of views between the parties. Three or four minutes on a topic, some part of that time spent in an undecipherable cacophony of moderator and leaders talking at once, cannot be called a debate. But that is precisely what TVNZ wants and the programme is structured to ensure that result.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Hurrah for Harold Harris! A Guide to Speaking Sainsbury.

Once upon a time aspiring radio and TV stars were sent off for voice coaching before they were allowed to pollute our airways. At the very least they had to have pleasant voices and excellent diction.

No longer. Our TV screens are now populated in prime time by young women whose voices could etch glass at 40 paces and men who happily mangle the language to the point of incomprehensibility.

My current personal favourite is the new dialect of Sainsbury, to be heard on Close Up most evenings at 7pm. I’ve heard the odd Sainsburyism from news reporters on both One and Three and once, to my astonishment, from Mike McRoberts.  It’s clearly the coming fashion and we should all adopt it as soon as possible.

Visitors filling in time between World Cup matches may require help with translation before they can fully appreciate Close Up. They may be so impressed with what they hear that they want to start speaking Sainsbury themselves.  Here’s a little pronunciation guide for the uninitiated and the eager:

Harold – as in ‘Harold is that dodgy Toyota you’re selling?’

Harris – as in ‘Harris it that you can’t kick the damn ball between the posts?’

Hurrah – as in ‘Hurrah you, now that you’ve had liposuction?’

Harrever – as in ‘Harrever will you get that money out of the country, Mr Hotchins?’

Harroffen – as in ‘Harroffen will Hone hongi Willie before the election?’

Harrintristing – as in ‘Harrintristing! And where did you dispose of the body?’

Feel free to expand this guide – your contributions of any new Sainsburyisms are welcomed.

Next week: How to copy Key – an exercise in syllable reduction.

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Bouquets and brickbats – People power from Campbell Live

A large bouquet to Campbell Live last night for letting the people of Christchurch speak for themselves. This montage of frustration  told a very different story from one we’re hearing from officialdom about the EQC and the accuracy and speed of assessments. A classic was the 34 second assessment caught on CCTV.

This made excellent television – a far cry from the stumbling, bumbling  interview by Mark Sainsbury on the Tupperwaka  in which he

images31Asked such searing questions as:

Are you ashamed of your culture? (To Shane Jones)

Is this a jack-up? (To Ngarimu Blair of Ngati Whatua)

Are you saying that Pita Sharples is bribing the Maori people of Auckland? (To Shane Jones again. And no, Mark, that was the Act Party)

This mock-tough interviewing just comes across as rude and boorish. Patsy questions which are patently ridiculous. This was a subject that deserved some serious debate. It’s not going to get it on Close Up, that’s for sure.

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If all you need to do is tell the truth, why do people need media training?

Hard Talk's Stephen Sackur

The debate over Mark Hotchin’s interview with Mark Sainsbury on Close Up  has produced the usual shibboleths about Public Relations and Media Training. The practitioners of these dark arts are seen  either as miracle workers who can make sinners look like saints – referred to in the advertising world as ‘polishing a turd’ –  or as shysters making a killing from teaching people how to successfully lie in interviews and thus pull the wool over the eyes of the general public.  If either of these outcomes were possible, Judy and I would not be blogging about the Hotchins, we’d be with them in Hawaii, only in a much nicer spot in a much nicer house.

The “miracle-worker” version is rooted in the idea that readers, listeners and viewers are idiots who can be easily taken in by the practised sleight of hand of the PR/media trained interviewee.  But it simply isn’t so. And especially not on television.

This is what the great doyen of British interviewers, Sir Robin Day, had to say about the televised political interview:

“When a TV interviewer questions a politician, this is one of the rare occasions, perhaps the only occasion outside Parliament, when a politician’s performance cannot be completely manipulated or packaged or artificially hyped. Some TV answers can, of course, be prepared by scriptwriters and committed to memory, but not all. The answers cannot be on autocue as for an address to camera.

 “The image-maker can advise on how to sit, or what hairstyle to have, or on voice quality. But once the interview has started, the politician is on his or her own… Provided there is time for probing  cross-examination, the politician cannot be wholly shielded against the unexpected. The politician’s own brain is seen to operate. His or her real personality tends to burst out. Truth is liable to raise its lovely head.

 “In a newspaper interview, the politician may flannel or fudge, but in a TV interview the flannelling and fudging can be seen and judged by the viewing public, just as the jury in a court can form their opinion of the candour and the credibility of a witness.”

Our advice to clients has not changed in a quarter of a century. It is: Be straightforward; Tell the truth; Admit your mistakes. Why? Because that’s the only thing that works. Read the rest of this entry »

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A brief assessment of the players in the Hotchin/Sainsbury/Close Up interview

stuff.co.nz

 

Close Up – Undoubtedly a major coup, though I suspect that Hotchin, or an agent on his behalf, approached the programme. However, the  production team blotted its copy book badly by totally abandoning editorial balance and showing clips damaging to Hotchin –  largely newspaper headlines – while Hotchin was speaking. An appalling lapse in editorial judgement.

Hotchin – Plausible and persuasive. I thought he was very good. His appearance has been and will be dismissed as a PR exercise and there may well be an element of truth in that. But the risks inherent in taking part in a live and predictably aggressive television interview were considerable. And, in the end, all the PR in the world will not assist the lying or dishonest television interviewee. The audience will see through him.     

Sainsbury – Handled the interview well. Asked the questions that viewers, and some at least of those who lost money in Hanover, would have wanted asked. Somewhat repetitive and it really would be good if Mark could put his questions in a less excitable way. But overall a good performance.

Campbell Live – Ended its show last night with an undignified piece of sour grapes in which John bewailed the fact that Hotchin was appearing on his competitor’s programme and re-ran old Campbell Live clips which served merely to explain why Hotchin had gone to Close Up.  John is the superior broadcaster of the two, but would he have done this particular interview better? I doubt it.

The Viewers – Will many have changed their view of Hotchin after watching the interview? Probably not.

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