Youtube’s Public Sphere

The mediated public sphere is a place for discussion and debate amongst the public on issues that matter to them, it is seperate from the government and creates a shift in thinking from what the media DOES to the people, to what the people DO with the media. A television show about marketing and advertising “The Gruen Transfer” contributes to this metaphor of the public sphere greatly by showing controversial advertisements, some even banned, and creating discussion amongst a pannel of advertising professionals. Gruen Transfer also features a segment called “The Pitch”, here companies are asked to “sell the unsellable”, a topic which raised massive debate, was “Banning all religions”.

It prompted the largest response from the public in The Gruen Transfer’s four year history with over 160,000 views (and growing) on YouTube (Campaign Brief 2011). The show’s typically controversial topics that have been turned into advertisements in the past have included legalising child labour and lowering the legal drinking age to 16, but have never received such a reaction. Religion is a massive issue amongst the public sphere which creates debate for all human beings as almost every person has their own opinion on the subject and Grun Transfer is just one of the media texts which have sparked discussion. However It can merely be called discussion when literally thousands of passionate posts and responses have been posted on various forums and Youtube.

How this can recieve more debate than making an advertisement about legalising child labour is bemusing to me,  but it shows how sensitive a topic religion is in the public sphere and also demonstatrates the usefulness of such platforms as youtube for hosting this debate. Will Anderson, famous Australian comic and host of the Gruen Transfer said on the show ‘for the first time in four seasons of Gruen we had agencies decline to take a shot at it. No one had a problem when we wanted to bring back child labour, invade New Zealand or euthanise everyone over 80, but this idea scared people.'(Will Anderson 2011).



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