MKR lays down the law
Cooking show contestants warned off reporters and social media.
Warnings about sneaky journalists, orders not to post anything to social media that could be “twisted into a story” in the Herald and “issue management” guidelines are among the training TVNZ’s provided My Kitchen Rules New Zealand contestants.
Documents accidentally sent to the Herald on Sunday have revealed the extensive advice — on how to deal with reporters and dos and don’ts of social media — emailed to the Kiwis starring in the upcoming season of the popular reality TV show, premiering on September 25.
In a document titled “TVNZ Social Media Guidelines — MKR NZ Talent”, TVNZ’s PR team told them to make sure they didn’t commit any social media blunders.
The guidelines before posting to also stated that social media the competitors should ask “could this be twisted into a story in the Herald”.
“There will likely be journalists looking for stories, and they are trained in how to dig for dirt so locking up those personal accounts is really important as they could ruin future PR opportunities, etc,” the document said.
The publicity department “strongly” encouraged the cast to be active on social media and engage with fans while the show was on air but it also warned of another online pitfall — posting thoughtless or contentious comments.
“What could be funny to your best mate might be really offensive to one of your fans . . . It is very easy for a flippant comment to be misconstrued. As lovely as you all are, it’s very easy to accidentally come across as a racist, misogynist or sexist.”
The contestants were also repeatedly reminded they were now representatives of TVNZ and were contractually obliged to avoid revealing any spoilers. Another document titled “Media Training” gave the contestants tips on interviews, including being honest: “Don’t tell lies — it will come back to bite you. “Don’t tempted through pauses journalists often leave them in on purpose to tempt you into waffling.” The publicity department would also deal with all “issues management” during the season, the document said.
“If something ‘unfortunate’ happens . . . — declare it to us, sooner rather than later. We are not here to judge, to be talk the — we’re here to protect your profile. It is better that we prepare for that in case it is made public rather than being surprised by a call from the media.”
The cast members would become “public figures” and “celebrities” after appearing on the show, TVNZ told them, and people would be interested in their lives.
A TVNZ spokeswoman said in response to inquiries from the Herald on Sunday about the documents that the show would “make household names out of home cooks” and the company provided practical support and guidance to help prepare contestants thrust into the spotlight.
“In terms of social media — contestants can expect to receive a lot of support from fans on social media but it can also be a daunting place when you’re on the receiving end of keyboard warriors.
“Social media is also used as a source for media stories and so we make sure our contestants are aware of this. There may be aspects of their personal lives away from the show that they want to keep private.”
Ben Bayly and Gareth Stewart hosted the first two seasons of the series, but this time the hosts of the Australian franchise — paleo enthusiast Pete Evans and French-born chef Manu Feildel — will front the series.