Todd Sampson, Wil Anderson and Russel Howcroft returns in season 10 of Gruen.
Todd Sampson, Wil Anderson and Russel Howcroft returns in season 10 of Gruen. ABC-TV

Banks, Facebook in Gruen's sights for season 10

The way we are being sold to has changed in the past decade, but Gruen's always been there to dissect it.

As the impact of Facebook's Cambridge Analytica data breach continues to be felt around the world, Gruen will lift the lid on the wider implications of data mining.

"We started doing the show two years after the invention of Facebook, which shows you how much the world has changed," host Wil Anderson says.

"We used to talk about TV ads. Now we live in a world where all these companies data mine you constantly and can deliver an ad to you. We're being sold to in a much more sophisticated way than we were 12 years ago.

"The main reason the show is a better show now than it was 10 years ago is because the world has changed to suit our show. It's a more compelling pitch in today's environment than it was a decade ago."

But when the Gruen team broaches the subject on the show's milestone 10th season, they'll delve much deeper.

"The fact that this has become the biggest story worldwide has given us the opportunity to dip our toes into more and more of that. You're mad about Facebook? Guess what happens every time you swipe your loyalty card?" he says. "Woolies and Coles and Qantas are doing this. If you catch an Uber then Uber have all your data and mine it. How can Netflix work? It's not actually a movie and entertainment company; it's a data mining company. The real heart of advertising is data mining."

As the years have passed, the show's name has changed and its format has been tweaked and distilled while Anderson, Todd Sampson and Russel Howcroft have been the constants behind the desk.

"It's a simple show at its heart," Anderson says. "As the years have gone on it's more and more simple. When we first started out there was a bunch of extras, bits and pieces and segments but as the years have gone on we've taken more of that stuff out.

"What is the best conversation we can have about the world? That's what we always try to do."

Anderson says the show will come full circle tonight when they examine the current banking royal commission. 

"We did banks the first episode we did 11 years ago," he says. "In light of the royal commission, it's the perfect topic for us. Everyone has to use banks. It's very hard to exist in society without having a bank account.

"They've been doing all these things we imagine they've been doing. And they're also spending millions of dollars sending out messages completely contradicting what they've been doing. The banks are a no-brainer for us for episode one."

Gruen returns tonight at 8.30pm on ABC-TV.