Government Spent £63,000 On Celebrities Promoting NHS Test And Trace
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The UK government spent £63,000 ($86,000) on paying celebrities to promote Test and Trace, it has been revealed.
Figures released by the Cabinet Office show that last year 42 social media influencers were paid to post about the NHS scheme.
According to Full Fact, who submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request about the figures, the government forked out on average around £1,500 per post, though payments will have varied depending on each influencer's following.
Advertisement rules in the UK state that if someone is paid to post about something, they must declare it, usually by including a hashtag, such as #ad or #spon.
However, after looking into these hashtags, the site found only 11 social media personalities had done this with their posts - though it points out that others may have been deleted, or were posted on other platforms, making them harder to track.
Some of the celebs who were found to have been promoting Test and Trace were Love Island stars Chris Hughes, Shaughna Phillips and Josh Denzel.
However, the popularity of the internet stars that were used varied massively, with some boasting just 9,000 followers while others had more than 1.2 million at the time of posting.
In her post, Phillips wrote: "A throwback to what I love most! Nights out and good friends! Although this may feel like a distant memory to us all, we can all do our part to make sure we can get back to better times, as safely as possible."
While Hughes said: "We all play a crucial part in helping normalise this behaviour. I was worried I might have mild symptoms so I tested to be sure. It was so, so simple!"
Speaking to Full Fact, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said it was part of the government's strategy to reach 'young adults'.
They said: "As part of the wider communications strategy for raising essential awareness of the NHS Test and Trace service and the importance of testing for Covid-19, we have been working with key micro and macro influencers to reach young adults in a channel they regularly engage with, as we also use traditional marketing and advertorials to reach adults via print, radio and TV advertising."
When it was revealed last year that celebs were being paid to promote Test and Trace, the government said it was trying to get the message out as best it could to as many people possible.
A spokesperson for Downing Street said: "Our use of social media influencers has meant over seven million people have been reached.
"This is just one part of a wider campaign utilising TV, radio, social, print and other advertisements to ensure the public has the information it needs."
For more information about Test and Trace, click here.