Thursday, April 18, 2024

Brands and Reality TV

By Steve Price. 

Walking past the RSL club in Margaret River a couple of years back I was invited in by one of the Margaret River locals.

I had never met this bloke and his wife before and they kindly shouted me a drink and were up for a chat.

Turns out my new mate was from Perth and was the marketing manager for Steel Blue Boots, the 100 per cent Australian made work boot, made famous with a marketing campaign featuring Australian cricketing legend Dennis Lillee.

D.K.Lillee is a proud West Australian and the boots are made in WA. It turns out I had my own pair of Steel Blue’s back home in Melbourne in the cupboard but didn’t know it.

Turns out that during season three of the Ten Network’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here I had worn Steel Blue’s for the 43 days I was locked up in the African Jungle.

They were the most comfortable work boot I had ever worn which was just as well because us jungle inmates only had two pairs of red socks to last the duration.

You might wonder why the manufacturer and their boot retailers considered their boot sponsorship of Ten’s jungle show such a success of one of the jungle inmates himself had no idea of the brand being on his feet.

Simple really the branding was aimed at tradies watching the show at home in a clever marketing move initiated by the company themselves. They considered it a raging success.

And now when I think back at that torture test in a jungle camp with a lot of people I didn’t really like – we were surrounded by cleverly inserted brands that Channel Ten sold the show to.

We all wore khaki shirts and shorts from Bisley work wear and for several of the torture tests food brands were included in blatant insertions into the reality show.

One morning former Collingwood AFL star Dane Swann whispered for me to follow him. We had been in the camp for about three weeks maybe four and we were all starving.

Four of us were tasked with re-entering camp and consuming a large bag each of a British kettle chip brand that I had never heard of before – Tyrells kettle cut chips.

I was given salt and vinegar – very British flavours – and had to hide the packet and walk back into this small area and somehow crunch my way through the whole packet.

Now given how hungry we all were you’d think that would be easy but by the end of the packet largely consumed hiding in my sleeping bag I vowed never to eat kettle chips again.

But you see I wasn’t the intended target I was the messenger.

Get out and buy this brand new you beaut English crisp because these guys liked them so much, they ate the whole packet.

Later on in the show, a few weeks in, it was the reward of KFC and iced donuts which certainly tasted better than the maggots, flies and fish eyes I had to consume to win normal food.

The product placements worked the show was a ratings bonanza and even I now quite like doing the garden in my steel blue boots.


About Steve Price

Steve Price is a national media figure appearing on TV Radio and in Print across the country. He is a panellist on Network Ten’s The Project and appears weekly on Melbourne’s Triple M Hot Breakfast program and most recently presented a networked Radio talk-back program across Australia.

He has just launched two podcasts on the podcast platforms On The Record – a behind the scenes chat with the biggest names in Australian media – and On The Road – a travel podcast featuring Australian and Overseas travel tips.

Steve appeared on season 3 of Ten’s I’m a Celebrity Get me out of here lasting 43 days and won the Xmas edition of Celebrity Come Dine with Me on Foxtel. He started his journalism career in print with the Adelaide News before shifting to the afternoon Melbourne Herald finishing as Deputy Editor before joining 3AW Melbourne as chief content director and Drive presenter.

In 2002 he shifted to Sydney’s 2UE presenting the breakfast, drive and morning programs networked around Australia.

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