News 31 August 2020

UK Government Confirms It Paid Influencers To Promote Test & Trace Scheme

31 August 2020

The UK government has admitted that it paid social media influencers to promote the NHS Test and Trace service.

During lockdown, a number of influencers and reality TV stars – including Josh Denzel and Shaughna Phillips – made Instagram posts marked as ads and the government has now confirmed such posts were part of a campaign to “keep the public informed during the pandemic.”

View this post on Instagram

A throwback to what I love most! Nights out and good friends! Although this may feel like a distant memory to us all, we can all do our part to make sure we can get back to better times, as safely as possible. Guys I want to remind you about the importance of Coronavirus testing and that its totally free, quick and is vital to stop the spread of coronavirus. Getting tested for coronavirus is the best way for us all to get back to doing the things we love and I love nothing more than spending time with my friends. Yesterday I visited my nearest drive though testing centre, which is literally 2 minutes from my house! I was able to book a test online, and have it carried out all under 1 hour, it was so convenient! When I woke up this morning I had already received my results by text and email! I’ve also checked the Royal Mail website to see where my nearest priority postbox is, as well as the stickers I need to look out for on the postbox itself. This will help me in the future if I need to carry out a home test kit. Everyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, can get a free test by calling 119 or visiting #letsgetback #gettested #ad

A post shared by Shaughna Phillips (@shaughnaphillips) on

“Our use of social media influencers has meant over 7 million people have been reached,” said a spokesman for the government.

“As a responsible government, we will use every means possible to keep the public informed during the pandemic and raise awareness of NHS Test and Trace.

“This is just one part of a wider campaign utilising TV, radio, social, print and other advertisements to ensure the public has the information it needs.”

Dozens of influencers were paid an undisclosed amount to post photos alongside the captions “#gettested” and “letsgetback”.

The government has said the costs involved for the campaign will be published in the near future “as part of the regular transparency reports on”