British Authorities pay influencers to advertise struggling Check and Hint scheme
The UK government has admitted paying social media influencers and reality TV stars to promote the NHS Test and Trace system because it failed to hit its 80% target for the ninth straight week.
A spokesman said the government was obliged to “use all possible means” to keep the public informed during the pandemic.
He said, “Our use of social media influencers has resulted in over 7 million people being reached. This is just part of a larger campaign that uses TV, radio, social, print and other advertising to ensure the public gets the information they need. “
The Sunday Mirror reported that Love Island stars Shaughna Phillips, Chris Hughes and Josh Denzel were paid by the cabinet office to let their online followers know that testing for Covid-19 is “free, quick and important to the Stop the spread ”.
But Phillips and Hughes also posted pictures online last month showing they are not socially distancing themselves from others on Mediterranean islands.
The Mirror quoted a social media expert as saying that the stars would typically charge between £ 5,000 and £ 10,000 for an advertisement.
The government spokesman said: “All costs of the campaign are published as part of the regular transparency reports on gov.uk.”
The celebrities could also face an investigation by the Advertising Standards Agency after initially failing to label their posts as advertising.
The government spokesman pointed out that the Cabinet Office had been clear about the correct labeling of such content, noting that all three posts were labeled “now” as advertising.
It comes after recent data showed that three-quarters of the close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 were achieved through the testing and tracking system, again falling short of the government’s target.