Why Channel 7’s Brownlow Coverage Missed the Mark


Why Channel 7’s Brownlow Coverage Missed the Mark

As a lover of Aussie Rules Football (AFL) and a passionate Hawthorn member, I love all the different events of Grand Final Week, including the Brownlow Medal. 

This is a televised count of the 3,2,1 votes awarded by the umpires. The vote for the most valuable player on the ground, in each game, for the 23 round season. And although it’s a long night, I enjoy settling in to see how my Hawks do in the polling as well as how other players are fairing.

In the lead up to the count, there is the ‘Red Carpet Coverage’ where you see the players and their dates dressed up which includes my commentary of ‘that’s nice’ or ‘why did they wear that?’

Once again, I was ready for my traditional enjoyable but long night.

What I got was, unfortunately, the opposite of an enjoyable night. I had heard the coverage was going to be cut short by an hour due to previous complaints about the winner not making their speech until 11 pm; as well as too much waffle. And so my expectation was built around a ‘Get on with it’ approach.

Alas, this wasn’t to be.

They over-promised and under-delivered.

This decision by the AFL meant players arrived later than usual to Crown. And Channel 7 couldn’t do as many pre-recorded interviews. The red carpet coverage showed more ‘behind the scenes’ footage. It showed guys picking out suits and girls selecting outfits and getting their hair blow dried (who cares). There was much more of this than actual footage of players and their dates together, which is the only opportunity to check out the outfits.

I thought the fashion was the only purpose of a Brownlow Red Carpet show. But it appears Channel 7 had different ideas.

They just wanted to talk to the players and dates, which meant we only saw about 20 players, and most of them were the ones we see every year. Or they just prattled on about who they thought would win the Brownlow, or their choice for best dressed – again who cares!

My only expectation for the night was simple: show me as many couples as possible so I can see who’s there from each Club and what they’re wearing.

This was not rocket science and not a difficult task I would’ve thought.

The best part of the night was the interviews by last year’s AFL Auskicker of the Year, Isla Roscrow.

All of 8 years old, she asked the fun, honest, ‘kids’ questions; and she was on a mission to chat with players on her list – an absolute delight.

Again the Brownlow coverage under-delivered.

So after me yelling at the TV for an hour, we headed into the ballroom for Brownlow Medal Count. Well, if the intention was to significantly cut the coverage, I don’t know where that happened. 

Instead of just getting on with the count, we had numerous Channel 7 commentators constantly interrupting. They interviewed players who were leading or in with a shot. They asked them, ‘How do you think you’re going?’, or asked the Richmond captain for the umpteenth time, ‘How does it feel to be in another Grand Final again?’

Again my response is “who cares” because my only expectation is:

Show me the votes for each round, and for bonus points, who’s on each Club’s table.

BTW: They didn’t get the bonus points. As a Channel 7 customer that night, they failed miserably in meeting what I believed to be reasonable, and not outlandish, expectations.

So are you really meeting your customers’ expectations, or are you disappointing them by default?

Here are three ways Channel 7 disappointed its Brownlow Medal customers aka lessons for every Small Business.

1. Over Promised and Under Delivered.

Promoting the coverage would be shorter and succinct.

2. Didn’t understand (or care) about their customers’ (audience) minimum expectations.

The Brownlow coverage showed only a few players instead of as many as possible. And they added in extras for the sake of it (awkward interviews putting players on the spot). Channel 7 only showed what they wanted and talked to their favourites (the same players each year)

3. Disrespecting the process and players.

Instead of letting the vote play out when it was clear Nathan Fyfe couldn’t be beaten with two rounds to go, Hamish McLachlan (MC) interrupted to congratulate him. Because of this, Gill McLachlan (AFL CEO) was then forced to read out the remaining votes. She had to do this as quickly as possible, being left to finish the job and award the medal. 

This action totally disrespected the players and audience who were still interested in seeing who polled votes in the final rounds.

We can relate this example to Small Business.

Like Channel 7, is it time for you to ditch the transactional interactions with your customers for an emotional customer connection?

My advice to Channel 7 and every small business owner is to keep putting yourself in the customer’s shoes by asking:

  • What do they really want?
  • What are the three simple things needed to achieve this?
  • And what could go wrong and how to we fix it quickly (Devil’s Advocate)?

If you then under promise and over deliver, this will increase your number of raving customers rather than by default, creating even more disappointed ones.

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