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Hilton Sharp & Clarke

Contact: Tom Bowen
Address: 131 South Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 4LY
T: 01444 817497
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Here at HSC we are a firm of qualified Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers who can not only provide the usual compliance services you would…

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Fascinating isn’t it?

Even I, a battle weary 40 something can get wrapped up in this cult that has been growing over the past few years, whether its celeb big brother and seeing how z listers get on with A-listers all in one house or seeing some other big breasted woman casually walking along some beach that we’ve never heard of and feeling just that tiny weeny bit jealous that it’s not me. (Not the boobed bit..but you get the picture)

Seems today, anyone can be a celebrity and Andy Warhol was so right in his comments about 15 minutes of fame, it’s just that with a few exceptions our current celebs don’t seem to fade off into the realms of anonymity. They appear to only get more and more exposure as the more cynical of us wait for the bubbles to burst on the front of the tabloids. (Is there more than 15 minutes of fame these days?....)

Now we have people famous for nothing in particular apart from being quite obviously thick (yet still we celebrate them??!?!?). Not only that, but the thickest even get their pictures taken with a potential Prime-minster. At least Blair invited Noel Gallagher to Downing Street and yet these days we have Jimmidy Mcthicket posing for selfies with politicians who think it’s all so groovy!

Most of this has been down to the ‘celebrity’ endorsements on twitter, TV and social media. Need an example? Just how does a twenty something afford a £100,000 Range Rover? And more pertinently, how the heck can they afford so many holidays?

The answer lies at the rise of the reality soaps and twitter and the power of the ‘Twitter Mention’ and gets us doing nothing else but worshipping other people’s lives that contribute nothing to our daily schedules but end up with people neglecting their own.

The truth is that most of these endorsements are free and the media leads us to believe the hype around the shows they appear on, thinking that by the magic of TV contracts they must be able to afford them..NOT!

Over the years working in this industry, I’ve come across many things that quite rightly would make you very angry indeed and the sheer belligerence of these celebs is quite astounding. How about the celeb that rang up a colleague of mine and asked for a free holiday?...and upon being asked what the travel agent would get out of it – (Brand awareness or perhaps a mention on twitter?) , was told, nothing I just need a holiday!

Yes! they actually call us up and ask for free stuff,... Yes…PERSONALLY…. thinking that their sheer belief in their own PR (Full on arrogance) it will mean that we all came up on the slow boat and that we’ll fall over ourselves to help them self-promote at the cost of a £4,000 holiday.

Open up the pages of any mid shelf type magazine aimed at women in general and you can bet your bottom dollar that the couple sitting on the beach were given a freebie. And guess what - you’re next holiday has the costs of sending them away all nicely tucked into your final price and there’s nothing you can do about it (apparently it’s called marketing).

I went out to a destination last year that all these reality celebs had been photographed at and can tell you I was distinctly underwhelmed, however open any magazine or tabloid and you’d think this place was the new Mauritius…Not so, but guess where everyone wants to go……and my omission of this destinations name, tells you that no, I really don’t want any of you to go there, because its dire.

However, it’s not just z listers that are free loaders, the TV companies are just as bad, if not worse. You don’t think that the image of two cheeky presenters, loved by the nation are actually giving away holidays that they and the production company paid for out of their own pocket…Oh no.

These companies have full time (usually) unpaid researchers whose job it is to call round people like me and ask for free stuff, free holidays, free cars and all the rest. Yet as consumers, hypnotised by celebrity, we’d rather believe that it was all down to the ‘magic of media’ with the cheeky presenter giving it away all in the name of entertainment and out of the kindness of their own hearts.

I was personally led a merry dance by a production company that promised the earth and delivered nothing – “Yep, you’ll get top billing”, “yep, we really want the product” and “yep its literally a done deal” and yet, when it came to sealing the deal my phone calls went unanswered and a very embarrassed me had to report to my staff that No, we would not be appearing on prime time (as big as it can get) national TV, with not even an apology forthcoming from the production team. The next time they called, I wasn’t so helpful.

Yet still we want to believe. And this follows on to a point I found out in Sharm El Sheik when my hotel was descended on by gorgeous young couples. I don’t recall seeing any of the ladies dip their hair under the water for fear of spoiling their make-up and hair…just like the z listers they wished to emulate and that was until one drank too much and threw up in the pool of course, in which case not even the pool boy could get in the pool for 48 hours.

So, as they say ‘all that glitters is not gold’, indeed far from it. The conclusion should be that you the general public pay for your holidays, most of the ‘celebs’ you see in the magazines don’t. The next time you see a celeb in your holiday resort, or getting married on some beach somewhere, don’t go wow, don’t get a selfie with them (further endorsing their false sense of celebness)…sit there safe in the knowledge that you worked hard and paid for your holiday, they did not.

As of today, I am announcing that the current cult of celebrity free endorsements is dead, you the consumers are far to savvy these days to swallow it all and you want different holidays that reflect your personality.

And because the media has failed to predict what comes next and it doesn’t reflect their business plan, I will make that pronouncement.

Real celebrities, real genuine Rockstars and people famous for contributing to society and those who are not just on the ‘take’ are photographed through massive telephoto lenses, not close up rolling in the surf with a gold bikini on!

Finally…In the words of Dani from Withnail and I (The Secret Travel Agents favourite film) and in reference to the demise of the sixties - “They’re selling hippie wigs in Woolworth’s, man”. Which means that those celeb endorsed holidays, are so, so, sooooo last year.

Soon I’ll tell you about a real celebrity, a sixties rock star that was an absolute joy…and yes, he paid for his holiday and we didn’t know he was turning up!, but until next time..Happy celeb free holidays!

The Secret Travel Agent.
Anytime Anyplace Anywhere
01273 978321
myholiday@thesecrettraveleagent.co.uk

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