Sunday, January 04, 2009

Healthy Celebrities

The Observer is carrying an interesting story today. It revolves around how the Department of Health is refusing to publish how much it has spent on employing celebrities for various health campaigns:

"The DoH has rejected a bid by the Observer under the Freedom of Information Act to find out how much money [Alesha] Dixon received for backing the Condom Essential Wear campaign, or the fee paid to model turned television presenter Melinda Messenger for helping to promote the 5-A-Day healthy eating scheme, or the amount paid to singer Jenny Frost for supporting its Breast Buddy breastfeeding initiative."

"[T]he the DoH refused to reveal how much the singer received, citing "commercial interests" as the reason. Disclosure of the amount would deter other celebrities from fronting such campaigns in the future, it said. One official working inside the department said Frost had received £10,000 a day for her work, but the Observer has been unable to verify that figure."

What a load of balls. If the amount she was paid is so low that it would discourage other celebrities from taking part then why keep it a secret? A low figure would appear to be giving the public better value for money. Similarly, if celebrities are prepared to work on the cheap in order to help the DoH, then why not boast about it? This is a simple case of a denial covering a nasty truth; that celebrities are receiving large quantities of public money to appear in yet more government advertising campaigns.

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