- What do David “Bumble” Lloyd and Fiona Phillips have in common? Both are broadcasters who write columns for national newspapers. But there’s something else as well. Both have plugged well-known optician Specsavers in their columns, without disclosure of interest.
- On 25 April 2018, I exclusively revealed that Ms Phillips has used her Daily Mirror column more than once to promote Specsavers, without disclosure of interest. Private Eye magazine reported my findings, too (see 3 May 2018 post).
- Cricket broadcaster Mr Lloyd has a column in the Daily Mail (“Bumble at the Test”). On 1 September 2018, he wrote about the England v India fourth Test. Under the headline “Star-studded specs”, a “story” began: “I needed a new set of bins… and up pop Specsavers. I now have five pairs, one for each day of the Test – and very natty they are too.” However, the former international cricketer failed to mention his commercial relationship with the optician. (Daily Mail 1 Sep 2018 p118)(Daily Mail 1 Sep 2018 p119)
- Mr Lloyd is at it on his personal Twitter account, too. On 13 August 2018, for example, he tweeted about a Specsavers competition to win the “ultimate cricket experience”, one involving a chat with him at lunch during the upcoming fifth Test (screen shot in Figure 1). As you can see, again he didn’t make clear that he’s paid to plug the optician.
- Specsavers confirmed the commercial relationship in an email. It pays Mr Lloyd to promote “the importance of good eyesight in sport, as part of our relationship with Test match cricket”. (Specsavers is the official Test partner of the England cricket team.)
- So it’s not only the Daily Mirror that allows high-profile columnists to plug products and services, without disclosure of interest. The Daily Mail does, too.