Mail columnist David “Bumble” Lloyd plugs optician, without disclosure of interest

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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)
  4. 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.

    Figure 1. David “Bumble” Lloyd plugs Specsavers on Twitter, without disclosure of interest

  5. 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.)
  6. 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.
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Mirror columnist Fiona Phillips is “sick of being ‘had’” by greedy companies

  1. On 21 July 2018, Daily Mirror columnist Fiona Phillips was mad as hell. The lead story in her column was a rant (her word) against greedy “big companies, corporations, banks and local councils”. Ms Phillips is “truly sick of being ‘had’” by all of them.
  2. I similarly felt ‘had’ by Ms Phillips, when I exclusively revealed that earlier this year she’d used her column more than once to plug well-known optician Specsavers, without disclosure of interest (see 25 April 2018 post). Private Eye magazine reported my findings, too (see 3 May 2018 post).

UK Direct Shop continues to flout its earlier commitment to ASA

  1. On 27 February 2018, I complained to advertising regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an ad from UK Direct Shop claiming “celebrities” (unnamed) use its bracelet. Back then UK Direct Shop told the ASA that it wouldn’t in future make the claims, unless it could substantiate them (see 25 April 2018 post).
  2. Nevertheless UK Direct Shop continues to flout its earlier commitment to the ASA. On 22 May 2018, it advertised another bracelet, the 18-Link Bracelet, in the Daily Mirror newspaper. (Daily Mirror 22 May 2018) And, again, the ad proclaims: As used by celebrities!” It also states: “Even well-known celebrities are wearing them.”
  3. Again, I recently asked UK Direct Shop in an email to tell me which celebrities use its bracelet. And, again, it declined to name them.
  4. The 22 May 2018 ad wasn’t a one-off, either. I saw it again in the Mirror, on 19 June 2018. (Daily Mirror 19 Jun 2018)
  5. So I duly complained to the ASA about the two ads. And guess what? UK Direct Shop again “firmly assured” the regulator that it would cease claiming “celebrities” (unnamed) use its bracelets. On 27 June 2018, the ASA listed UK Direct Shop on its website as one of 45 “informally resolved” cases last week.
  6. The bad faith of UK Direct Shop is shocking – but so too is the ineffectiveness of the ASA in dealing with the repeat offender.

Private Eye reports Fiona Phillips exposé

  1. The current issue of Private Eye (1469) reports my Fiona Phillips exposé (see 25 April 2018 post).
  2. Private Eye is the UK’s number one best-selling news and current affairs magazine.
  3. You won’t find the report – or much else from the magazine – on the Eye website because the online presence is minimal. Here’s a scanned copy of the page from my subscription copy – see top of page: Private Eye 1469.

Mirror columnist Fiona Phillips plugs optician, without disclosure of interest

  1. TV presenter Fiona Phillips writes a column for the Daily Mirror newspaper. Headed “… because she cares”, it’s in the Saturday edition. There Ms Phillips has been plugging well-known optician Specsavers recently, without disclosure of interest.
  2. I first noticed on 3 February 2018. Under the headline “Should I really have gone to Specsavers?” Ms Phillips described in far too much detail obtaining “soft, monthly, disposable” contact lenses that week at, er, Specsavers. She added helpfully: “… previously, because of my prescription, [such contact lenses] hadn’t been available to me.”
  3. At the time I was surprised Ms Phillips named the optician, but thought nothing more about it until 14 April 2108, when she was at it again. In a story headed “Home eye tests for those in need”, the TV presenter wrote about Specsavershome eye test service for “those who are mainly housebound or in a care home”. (Daily Mirror 14 April 2018) She finished: “Why am I telling you this? Because a survey conducted for the famous brand found that most people are unaware of this vital service. Should have gone to Specsavers?”
  4. There may be more examples, but these are the ones I’ve seen.
  5. On both occasions, Ms Phillips failed to declare a relevant interest. Specsavers is paying her to promote its home eye test service, the company confirmed in an email. She appears on the optician’s website (screen shot in Figure 1).

    Figure 1. Fiona Phillips on Specsavers website at 16 April 2018

  6. It’s not only TV doctors, therefore, who plug products and services in the Mirror, without disclosure of interest (see 5 April 2018 post). High-profile columnists do as well.
  7. Why am I telling you this?” Indeed.
  8. At date of publication Ms Phillips hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

Leaflet for “detox foot patches” even worse than ads

  1. Today (18 April 2018) Health Broadcast Ltd, a fake limited company, has surpassed itself with a leaflet promoting the ridiculous “detox foot patches”. The leaflet is even more concerning than the firm’s national newspaper ads for same (see previous post).
  2. The leaflet was an insert in – you’ve guessed it – the Daily Mirror.
  3. For many reasons, the leaflet is shocking. For a start, it makes so many misleading health claims. Here I ignore those. Instead, I want to highlight something about the leaflet that means we can quickly dismiss the advertiser, without even considering the ludicrous health claims.
  4. The front of the leaflet proclaims “Detox while you sleep!”, “see press article inside”: Leaflet front back. The so-called article actually appears on the back of the leaflet, below the banner, “national press coverage”. As you can see, a newspaper, national or local, isn’t actually named. Funny that.
  5. What does the so-called article say? Well, the headline is certainly familiar, “Detox while you sleep!” As is the author, Sally Jennings. But then so, too, are the photo and content! That’s because what’s presented as an article in an unnamed national newspaper is in fact Health Broadcast Ltd‘s ad in the national press (see previous post) – but this time it isn’t identified as an ad.
  6. The presentation of the ad in the Mirror, remember, is highly troubling: it’s labelled “health report”, and creates the impression it’s an editorial feature written by Ms Jennings. Now it’s even worse in the leaflet, where the ad is presented as an article in the national press.
  7. The dishonesty is shocking. As I say, there’s no need to examine the preposterous health claims.

Yet another ad for “detox foot patches” in the Daily Mirror

  1. Today (17 April 2018) the Daily Mirror newspaper carried yet another full-page ad for the ridiculous “detox foot patches”: Daily Mirror 17 Apr 2018.
  2. Again, the advertiser is Health Broadcast Ltd, a fake limited company I first wrote about on 15 August 2017.
  3. In January 2018, Private Eye reported my linked exposés of national newspaper ads by Health Broadcast Ltd for “detox foot patches” (see 25 January 2018 post).
  4. Why does the Daily Mirror continue to show such disdain for its readers this way?