Next time you are called into the TV studios to defend your company’s
good name you’d better check out the props, as Elizabeth Male, press and
media manager for house insurer NHBC, discovered.
Early last month the company, which specialises in protection against
subsidence problems, found itself under attack from a former
policyholder. Venting his fury on the BBC’s Good Morning with Anne and
Nick, the unhappy house owner claimed that NHBC had not afforded him
Keen to set the record straight, or at least offer a balanced argument,
Male arrived at the studios two weeks later to respond to the ‘many
complaints’ that had been ‘inundating’ the programme.
She was to be handed a file of complaints and then promise to deal with
each of them. Shortly before filming began Male got hold of the file and
found it mostly filled with blank sheets of paper. On one the names of
seven people appeared - just three of whom had ever held NHBC policies.
‘I was absolutely outraged,’ says Male. ‘You can’t really appreciate the
visual impact of television. Something like a file prop can make it look
like the whole world has a complaint against your company.’
And the moral of the tale? Read the BBC Producers’ Guidelines, says
Male, and don’t let anyone stitch you up in their hunt for a good story.