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:30 Seconds, Season One

This Australian comedy is a raw and hilarious look at the world of advertising.  The show, which premiered last year on Australia’s Comedy Channel, centres on the fictitious BND ad agency, stationed in Sydney but operating worldwide. BND is headed by Creative Director Martin (Joel Tobeck) who must come up with original ideas for products, despite leading a team of crackpots and having very little to work with.

In some ways the show can be seen as a combination of Mad Men and The Office (either American or British). Like Mad Men, :30 Seconds shows the ongoing challenges in the advertising world, with brainstorming sessions and schemes used to bypass agency limitations. For instance, in “Twenty One Today” (1.05), Martin and his team must make a commercial for an electric car without using the vehicle in the ad, as client Marion (Kat Stewart) was unable to secure the car for the shoot. The campaign they come up with for the car, which we later discover doesn’t actually exist, is quite brilliant and the creation process was amusing at every turn. The show resembles The Office in its use of awkward humour, and in the bumblings of BDN’s staff. Unlike the American version of The Office, Martin seems to be more on the ball than Michael Scott, but he does have his  moments of lunacy. Ocassionally during the show, Martin will drift off and visualize the things around him as if they were in an ad – accompanied by funny animations and catchphrases. Either he’s working too hard or he’s crazy, but either way his hallucinations are witty additions to the show.

BDN’s approach to advertising is usually underhanded and sometimes creepy, but the team is certainly passionate about their work (or at least receiving credit for their ideas. As producer McBaney (Stephen Curry) says, “Spielberg makes 2 hour films, we make 30 second ones. They all end up on the same screen.”

The 2nd series of 30 Seconds begins September 7th in Australia on the Comedy Channel. To learn more about the BDN crew visit the website here.

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