Shameless Mirror columnist Heather Mills continues to plug health food chain, without disclosure of interest

  1. On 13 December 2018, Heather Mills turned her attention to homeopathy in her latest “Live healthy with Heather” column for the Daily Mirror newspaper. (Daily Mirror 13 Dec 2018) There she again plugged Holland & Barrett, without disclosure of interest.
  2. Ms Mills had promoted the health food chain in the same underhand way in her first column, as I revealed on 16 November 2018. Private Eye magazine reported my Heather Mills exposé (see 29 November 2018 and 1 December 2018 posts).
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“Mum-of-three” plugs Cambridge Weight Plan in the Mirror, without disclosure of interest

  1. On 12 December 2018, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported the case of “mum-of-three” Fiona Ednie, who “dropped six dress sizes” – thanks, apparently, to the Cambridge Weight Plan. (Daily Mirror 12 Dec 2018)
  2. Under the headline My life was saved by a Christmas jumper”, the Mirror describes the “mum” as a “charity boss, from Glasgow”.
  3. Nevertheless the newspaper omitted to mention a relevant fact: Ms Ednie works for Cambridge Weight Plan. She’s one of its so-called consultants – individuals who help local people wanting to lose weight with the Cambridge Weight Plan. Here’s Ms Ednie‘s consultant profile on the weight loss organisation‘s website: https://www.cambridgeweightplan.com/FionaE.
  4. Ms Ednie isn’t independent of Cambridge Weight Plan. Therefore, the Mirror misled its readers by failing to disclose that she works for the firm.

Private Eye belatedly credits me for Heather Mills exposé

  1. You might notice that Private Eye failed to credit me when it used my Heather Mills exposé in the latest issue of the magazine (see previous post). I was disappointed and surprised. Hitherto the Eye has always credited me, rightly, whenever it’s used any of my work.
  2. Well, Private Eye has apologised and now names me in the online version of its article (screen shot in Figure 1). On publication of each issue of the fortnightly magazine, the Eye also posts a small selection of stories therein on its website as a taster.

    Figure 1. Private Eye credits me for Heather Mills story in latest Street of Shame (Eye 1484): online version of article at 1 December 2018

  3. As usual, the article will only be available on the Eye website until next issue. Catch it while you can.

Private Eye reports Heather Mills exposé

  1. The current issue of Private Eye (1484) reports my Heather Mills exposé (see 16 November 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 middle column: Private Eye 1484.

ASA ruling upholds my complaint about UK Direct Shop

  1. On 21 November 2018, advertising regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published its ruling about an ad from UK Direct Shop claiming “celebrities” (unnamed) use its bracelet. The ASA upheld my complaint about the ad, which appeared in the Daily Mirror newspaper on 20 August 2018. (https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/uk-direct-shop-ltd-a18-463900.html)
  2. The regulator opened a formal investigation because the complaint was actually the THIRD I‘d made about UK Direct Shop making the claim in national newspaper ads that celebrities use its bracelets. On each occasion, the firm declined to name the alleged celebrities.
  3. The latest ad was the same ad that was the subject of my SECOND complaint to the ASA (see 2 July 2018 post).
  4. It was beyond time for action by the ASA on egregious repeat offender UK Direct Shop. Its credibility as a regulator was at stake.

Mirror columnist Heather Mills plugs firms, without disclosure of interest

  1. On 4 October 2018, Heather Mills, who is a vegan, began a fortnightly column in the Daily Mirror newspaper, “Live healthy with Heather”. There Ms Mills, whom the Mirror bills as “campaigner and food writer”, has been plugging firms, without disclosure of interest.
  2. The foot of each column bears not only the address of her website, but also her Twitter feed and that for her vegan food business, VBites.
  3. Starting as she meant to go on, Ms Mills recommended a Holland & Barrett supplement alone in her first column, even helpfully quoting price. (Daily Mirror 4 Oct 2018) However, she omitted to mention that she works with the national chain of health food shops. Some Holland & Barrett stores have a VBites cafe, while all flog her vegan food.
  4. In her second column (18 October 2018), Ms Mills recommended some vitamins and supplements for vegans; yet didn’t name a brand or retailer this time.
  5. She was back at it in her third column (1 November 2018), though: “If you need a whey protein replacement, try fitdelis.com chocolate protein powder – that’s my daily breakfast.” (Daily Mirror 1 Nov 2018) What Ms Mills didn’t say is that she recently invested in Fit Delis via her investment company, VBites Ventures.
  6. In the same column, Ms Mills also named two supermarkets, the online Ocado and Morrisons. By happy chance, both sell her products.
  7. On 15 November 2018, meanwhile, Ms Mills turned her attention to vegan wines: “Zizzi restaurants and Greene King pubs, for example, proudly advertise their vegan wines.” (Daily Mirror 15 Nov 2018) On 11 September 2018, she’d tweeted excitedly about a new Zizzi vegan dessert, using the hashtag VBites. (https://twitter.com/heatherofficial/status/1039646960062537729) While Greene King has a vegan menu that – surprise, surprise – includes VBites products.
  8. Earlier this year, I exclusively revealed that another Mirror columnist, Fiona Phillips, had 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). So Ms Mills is only the latest high-profile columnist the newspaper permits to plug firms, without disclosure of interest.

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.