Letters Celebrities and public health

Health campaigns entrench the role of celebrities in consumer marketing

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6904 (Published 17 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6904
  1. Alex C W May, independent researcher1
  1. 1Manchester M13 9DP, UK
  1. notactualsize{at}hotmail.com

Rayner is right to challenge celebrity involvement in public health campaigns.1 The Department of Health for England has just launched two celebrity led campaigns, with both press releases trumpeting celebrity endorsement.2 3 Freud Communications, a consumer marketing agency, is now responsible for the department’s public health campaigns.4 Because celebrity endorsement is routine in consumer marketing, it is in the interest of Freud, and its commercial clients, to use celebrities in its work for the department. The department’s celebrity led public health campaigns thus help to entrench the role of celebrities in consumer marketing. Similarly, although Chapman is right to highlight how celebrities can attract media attention to health issues,5 such coverage also serves to reinforce media obsession with celebrities. Almost all of the media depends on advertising.

How might celebrities gain from endorsing “good causes,” other than by getting favourable publicity for themselves? Such involvement can enable them to offset more questionable endorsement activity (such as payment for endorsing products). It can also shield them from public scrutiny because they “do so much for charity.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6904


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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