Salesmanship wins despite lesser product
At first glance it looked like they might be there to present a Logie award. Was it finally time for the gold to be awarded?
With production-grade lighting and a slick digital backdrop, this was not your average election policy launch. This was a Tony Abbott media event with a little bit of Steve Jobs-type salesmanship.
But the big question at Fox Sport studios in Sydney seemed to be: were Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull overcompensating for something?
After all, the Opposition Leader and the man he christened his future "Mr Broadband" were there to talk about copper - not gold.
Copper wires - which, they insist, will deliver broadband speeds that future Australians will expect at a third of the price of Labor's gold-plated national broadband network.
"Fast, affordable, sooner," the luminous backdrop reassured.
Abbott, who is the pre-eminent practitioner of the simple, chewable message, promised internet speeds 10 times faster than today by 2019 and "two-thirds" cheaper than Labor's whole-hog fibre-to-the-premises project.
Abbott and Turnbull claim they will do it for $60 billion less than the current NBN will end up costing.
"Rubbish!" yelled Stephen Conroy, who had a strong point but was left looking like yesterday's man as he fed NBN cable into a Telstra-owned hole in suburban Canberra.
Conroy was wearing a fluoro vest and had to make do with natural lighting.
It's quite a feat that team Abbott could present itself as the tech-savvy combination when it was the Communications Minister who was putting futuristic cable into the ground. Fibre that would turn Australia into one of the leading nations on earth for internet infrastructure - something the Coalition is not offering.
It's just the latest example of the government having something to sell but getting T-boned by the opposition's PR juggernaut.
Abbott is well aware that "Mr Broadband" is more popular than he is, but he seemed content to let Turnbull take centre stage.
He had little choice but to take a back seat once the Q&A with tech sector journalists turned to topics like "VDSL2+, with vectoring".
But the duo largely got away with it despite hawking an inferior product.
Imagine Julia Gillard trying to do an election event with Kevin Rudd.