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Friday
Nov022018

Stoptober 2018 - Jeremy Kyle paid £20,000 for his ‘time and creative input’

On the eve of Stoptober 2018 I submitted a Freedom of Information request to Public Health England which runs the annual stop smoking campaign.

I have now received a response and it reads:

Thank you for your request dated 28 September 2018 addressed to Public Health England (PHE). In accordance with Section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) I can confirm that PHE holds the information you have specified.

I have addressed your questions in the order you raised them:

1) A full evaluation of the outcome of Stoptober 2017.

A full evaluation of the outcome of Stoptober 2017 has been published and is available [here].

2) The full and final costs (including media costs) for Stoptober 2017.

The total campaign budget for the 2017 Stoptober campaign was £2.1 million, with £1.2 million allocated to buying media.

Following the success of the 2017 campaign the strategy did not change dramatically for Stoptober 2018. We continue to use a similar combination of media as this proved effective in 2017.The projected total media spend for 2018 is £1.1m and the overall campaign spend projected to be £1.8m.

3) The total sum, including expenses, that was paid to ‘celebrity quitters’ including actress Laila Morse and Coronation Street star Kym Marsh for their work promoting Stoptober 2017. (Please specify the names of any other ‘celebrity quitters’ used in the 2017 campaign.)

PHE does not pay celebrities to support a campaign. We only pay for their time and creative input in developing content that will feature throughout the campaign in PR, social media or advertising, as well as for any expenses incurred for travel, filming and interview time.

Kym Marsh, Leila Morse and Graeme Souness were paid a total of £30,000 for their work on the 2017 Stoptober campaign. As with 2018 and previous years, this represented payment for their time and input in creating content that featured across campaign channels, as well as for any expenses incurred during filming and recording time.

4) The projected costs for Stoptober 2018 including the projected media spend.

The total campaign budget for the 2017 Stoptober campaign was £2.1 million, with £1.2 million allocated to buying media.

5) The cost of employing TV presenter Jeremy Kyle to promote Stoptober 2018.

In 2018, Jeremy Kyle received £20,000 to cover writing, developing and filming the campaign content. This also covered his expenses for travel to media interviews and included full usage of the content across the campaign in PR, social, digital and distribution to all partners and local authorities. The content generated widespread coverage and engagement reaching millions of people in England.

6) The projected date for the publication of a full evaluation of Stoptober 2018.

This report includes full and final costs (including media costs) for Stoptober 2017. A full evaluation of Stoptober 2018 will be published in advance of the 2019 campaign i.e. before 1 October 2019.

The Stoptober 2017 evaluation was published on September 28, two days before the start of Stoptober 2018.

I'm not sure why it takes PHE so long to publish an evaluation report. After all, how can you plan for the next campaign without an in depth assessment of the previous campaign?

My guess is that an evaluation is available internally within months of the campaign finishing but PHE chooses not to publish anything until the eve of the subsequent campaign, effectively burying it.

As for the money paid to Jeremy Kyle and other 'celebrities', it does seem a bit disingenuous to say ‘PHE does not pay celebrities to support a campaign. We only pay for their time and creative input ...’

Why then are they front and centre of every Stoptober campaign, actively promoting it?

At least the £20k received by Jeremy Kyle (pocket money for him) is a far cry from the £195,000 PHE collectively paid comedians Al Murray, Rhod Gilbert, Bill Bailey and Shappi Khorsandi in 2015.

Whatever the sum it’s still taxpayers’ money and as taxpayers we deserve better than a long-delayed report that adds little to our knowledge of the ‘success’ of this increasingly tired campaign.

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