The Power of Celebrity

Celebrity endorsements sell products, or at least that’s the common wisdom. Companies that sell everything from cars to cosmetics spend huge amounts of money for celebrities to lend their faces and/or voices to advertising. In automobile racing and skiing, the athletes’ uniforms are covered in product logos.

It is obvious in the areas of CAM as well. The purveyors of these products know very well that the Q-Ray bracelet or Cold-FX don’t have a hope in hell of passing any sort of well designed scientific examination. In lieu of that, we are given celebrity endorsements, because we all know that the more famous someone is, the more their knowledge increases. Actually, this wisdom is currently being challenged, and it appears that not all celebrities are created equal, and fame does not necessarily translate into an automatic increase in sales.

In some areas, however, celebrities can have a major impact. It has been proven time and time again, that vaccines are one of the most powerful benefits to public health that has ever been developed. However, there has been a rise in the spread of certain communicable disease due to campaigns that undermine the scientific facts. One of the most persistent of these is the myth that vaccines lead to autism, a myth that is spread by  some celebrities, with Jenny McCarthy being the foremost proponent. Her scientific credentials consist of her expertise as a model and actress; not to mention her “Mommy instinct” that tells her that her autistic son was negatively impacted by his vaccinations.

The Center For Medicine in the Public Interest put out a nicely satirical video on this topic.

What we need is for scientists to get out of the lab and into movies and TV shows.

via JT Eberhard

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