Simon Read: Celebrities should be ashamed of using their fame to flog us questionable financial deals
I had an interesting email from reader Robert Johnston of Airdrie this week. He expressed something I totally agree with.
He wrote: "One very annoying thing these days is being inundated with insurance invitations carrying the recommendation of the like of Sir Michael Parkinson or Annette Crosbie. The latest I've seen featured Cilla Black."
He continued: "Surely people should not make important financial decisions based on a famous face, be it because they once interviewed Emu, could do a good job of Anyone Who Had A Heart or just couldn't stand Victor Meldrew.
"And wouldn't it be intriguing to know just how many of these 'excellent insurance products' Michael, Annette and Cilla have in place for their loved ones. My god, they don't even need their fees."
"Can't something be done about it?" Robert asked.
I wish something could. I've railed against celebrities flogging financial products they probably wouldn't use themselves again and again, going right back to when Carol Vorderman used her Countdown fame to line her pockets by fronting TV ads for expensive loan companies.
As far as I'm concerned, it's morally wrong for often trusted celebrities to pocket fat fees to flog finances. Unless they really are convinced that it's a good deal for viewers or readers, they shouldn't lend their names to the adverts.
Apart from anything else, I find it a little distressing that personalities I may have had some respect for are happy to become shills for whoever pays them enough. Bob Dylan flogging lingerie, for instance, was a particular low point.
But when it comes to finances, I think that everyone involved has a responsibility to ensure that the wrong people don't buy the wrong products.
Banks have been forced to pay out billions for mis-selling useless payment protection insurance. Sir Michael Parkinson and the rest of his money-grabbing mates should be forced to take responsibility for their actions.
If it is ever discovered that someone has paid out for a life policy or any other product that's not quite right, partly on the basis of celebrity advertising, then the celebrity should be forced to make things good out of their own pocket.
If it wasn't just simply a case of making some easy money for a couple of hours' work, they might not so easily sign up for these questionable and annoying ads.
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