Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What to do if "The Lookout" shows up

One of my favorite shows on TV is ABC's "The Lookout." If you're not familiar with it, ABC describes "The Lookout " as "a survival guide to the modern consumer jungle, offering a mix of compelling undercover investigations and lively dispatches about how you spend your money."

When it comes to ambush journalism, some people just fail -- while others make it through relatively unscathed.

Take a look at the clip from "The Lookout" about cars impacted by Superstorm Sandy that were subsequently sold without flood titles:


Think anyone who has seen the above clip is going to buy a car from D&D Auto Sales in Old Bridge, N.J.? Probably not.

On the other hand, after seeing the interview with Kevin J. Bergner of USAA, one gets the impression that the organization wants to do right by its members. USAA's reputation is probably intact.

It reminds me of the clip from Michael Moore's "The Big One" that featured Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike:

What made USAA and Nike successful in those interviews? For starters, they met with the interviewers. TV can be really sensational when people are running away from the camera. Both Bergner and Knight took the time to share their positions.

Second, if something wasn't right, they offered to look into it. In USAA's case, Bergner said that it was "unsatisfactory" that vehicles were sold through USAA without the appropriate branded flood titles.

Third, they followed through. Nike did look into the minimum age issue of its Indonesian workers and eventually raised the minimum age to 18. It's too early to tell if USAA is following through, but I'm guessing that the organization will because it has a strong reputation to uphold.

Finally, the organizations made their highest-ranking person available. Bergner is the president of USAA Property and Casualty Insurance Group, and Knight is the co-founder and chairman of Nike.
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