The UN has a whole celebrity outreach department, while the celebrity liaison officers of UK charities are so legion they hold regular forums. Celebrity advocacy has even developed its own awards industry, hosting glitzy galas where showbiz humanitarians are given gongs. Angelina Jolie has won at least five, most of which were confected for her, and even Paris Hilton has a couple. (Those who devote 365 days of the year to working tirelessly and anonymously on these causes don’t seem to be eligible.)
Shamefully, of course, the reason charities feel they have to deploy entertainers in this way is because the media – across the board, though to varying degrees – have become progressively less willing to highlight an issue, or capable of it, without a celebrity’s involvement. It’s a vicious cycle, rarely broken by anything that might be considered “actual research”, which makes the IDS’s survey such an interesting nugget.