The Great British Property Scandal


Channel 4
Tiger Aspect


The Great British Property Scandal





One million homes in Britain are empty; 350,000 of them for over six months, and yet 2 million families need a home. Architect and TV presenter George Clarke highlighted this scandalous waste in his ground-breaking, campaigning TV series. Clarke had three objectives: Get 100,000+ viewers to sign a petition raise this issue in parliament; lobby for the introduction of a national low cost loan fund; and to create a way for people to report empties to their local authorities. Helping him was an army of viewers – 120,000 signed the online petition, with the target reached in the first week.


One of Channel 4’s most high profile multiplatform projects of 2011 and 2012, The Great British Property Scandal was an online campaign, website, mobile app and social media project co-produced with Tiger Aspect Productions. A multiplatform campaign looking at Britain’s housing crisis through the prism of Empty Homes. The multiplatform campaign combined primetime features TV, web, social media, and Empty Home Spotter mobile app.

Viewers expressed genuine outrage and a desire to get involved. The Empty Homes Spotter app gave them the tools to make an impact. Using their smartphones, viewers could upload basic details about empty properties they’d spotted in their community, also supplying a photo with the app submitting these details automatically to the Empty Homes Officer responsible, using GPS to identify the correct local council.


While the George Clarke-fronted series helped the issue rise up the political agenda, it was the app that brought power to the people. Viewers used it to report just under 10,000 empty homes to the local authorities. The campaign prompted the release of a £17m fund for low-cost loans to help owners of empty private homes get their properties up to scratch for rental and saw 120,000 people sign the online petition for parliamentary debate. The campaign picked up nominations at the Emmys and the BAFTAs.

“The Project Factory managed all aspects of the digital/ multiplatform campaign, working very closely with Tiger Aspect. They were happy to have someone from their digital production embedded in our team, working in our office. It was a brilliant experience working with them.” - Ruth Pitt, Head of Factual, Tiger Aspect Productions


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