By Esther Enkin, CBC Ombudsman
The complainant, Catherine Lash, said she would never have let a Marketplace crew into her wedding show if she had known who they were. The crew should have been more intentional in identifying itself. She was concerned that her company is tarnished because shots of the event are in the programme. However, the images are generic and careful to remove any identifying information. She may have envisioned a different outcome, but there is no misuse of the visuals included in the episode.
You are the founder and creative director of The Wedding Co. Your venue was used as a filming location in a Marketplace report entitled “Weddings Inc.” You had two major concerns – one that the crew gained access to your wedding show by false pretences, and that in using your event as a backdrop in the broadcast, it has harmed your reputation as well as those of the vendors present. You asked that any footage shot during your event be removed from any future airings of the programme. You pointed out that you were never told the focus of the episode, and in fact there was no reference to Marketplace in the email request from the producer, Tyana Grundig. You felt “deceived”, and that had you known the true purpose you never would have granted permission:
To be clear, The Wedding Co. Market creates a beautiful atmosphere and fills a room with a carefully selected group of talented and professional small businesses owners. We agreed to allow the CBC film in our show because we were told by your producer that they were planning to shoot some of the exhibits and talk with people at the show. We were under the impression it was for CBC News as that is what is said in the signature.
This type of free publicity is beneficial for our vendors so we agreed. At no time was I made aware of changes to your program. You used my show as a backdrop for a story that highlights the very type of practice my company works hard to eliminate. I was never informed the piece was for Marketplace. If I was told, knowing the show, I would not have allowed you to film at my show, assuming that your target that week was the industry I work so hard to promote.
You did not think it made any difference that neither your Wedding Co. venue nor your vendors are identifiable in the footage that was used. You believe that it is still damaging to your reputation and those of the companies that participated in the wedding show. You rejected the explanation from the Executive Producer that all brands, logos and many of the faces of vendors are either absent or blurred:
Connecting my show to your story has damaged our reputation and the reputation of the businesses who exhibit at my show. Brand recognition goes beyond logos and faces, so the fact you blurred those elements is not an acceptable solution
Caroline Harvey, at the time the Executive Producer of Marketplace, clarified the show’s intention in using your wedding show. She explained that television demands the use of visuals – and in this case there were two wedding shows used – as well as other locations. They chose your show to use as a backdrop to record the comments of Angelique Sobschak, a wedding consultant who provided perspective and commentary. She said “The colour and bustle of a wedding show seemed a fitting location for the interview.” She pointed out that they did not mention your company by name nor identify any of the participating businesses: