Election 2013 media panel

Shock: Sour Suzie is an actress

We’ve all seen it: A mum preparing lunch stares down the camera and asks, “What are you hiding Mr Abbott?”. It is an election advert - we see them every election.

It turns out that the mum in the advert is a professional actress - some are claiming to be shocked by this revelation.

When I first saw that advert it never occurred to me that Susannah Hardy was anything other than a professional doing a job of work. It is a good advert and the lines are fluent. A professional job done by professionals.

The objective of the advert is to raise a question pertinent in an election - not to provide a window into what a particular person may be thinking. Rather to suggest that voters’ ponder a particular question.

On the other hand, it could be argued that “real” Australians aren’t asking that particular question. When we see particular people spruiking products in adverts we do tend to expect that they use the product. So a paid professional in a political advert comes across as being somewhat fake.

That is an argument that can be made - and is being make. But I’m not buying it. Do we really expect all advertising to be reality television? The role of advertising is provide information, to persuade, to generate interest, and even to entertain.

Political advertising is no different. There is a product on offer and a range of persuasive techniques are employed to that purpose. Some political adverts do have “real” people expressing their own concerns, but most use professionals and always have.