Ian Monk: Sex and drugs give show the X Factor

So, in the end it wasn't the sex or the drugs that did for alleged hooker Chloe Heald's chances of progressing on the X Factor. It was the rock 'n' roll because, like thousands of contestants, she couldn't really sing.

Ian Monk
Ian Monk

Sex and drugs merely fuelled the publicity for Chloe and the show. Claims that she had worked as a prostitute filled many X Factor-branded pages, as did the view that exposure on national TV would enhance the price of her non-musical services.

Photographs of her snorting cocaine published by a Sunday redtop were also avariciously followed up across the media. Did the show's canny publicists court and welcome the flood of publicity generated by the lifestyle choices of Chloe - who uses the 'working' and stage name of Mafia? Was it a triumphant publicity campaign or a failed damage limitation exercise? Chloe's subsequent appearance on the relatively genteel confines of This Morning to discuss her life certainly suggests that ITV makes few judgements on the personal lives of those it invites on to its sofas.

In a non-judgemental age, why should it? And yet questions remain. Recent advertising research shows the X Factor is right up there with The Sun as the most effective method of getting a product message to a mass audience.

Presumably all the brands that convey their message via Simon Cowell's leviathan of a show are happy with the juxtapositioning of their brands with the values of the show's raunchier contestants?

The tabloids that fawn over the X Factor tend to take a stern moral line on sex and drugs, which enables them to boost circulation off a celebrity scandal.

No matter that Team Beckham is stridently denying every aspect of every claim being made by the call girl who alleges a liaison with him. The media are using his denials and mega lawsuits to link his name to hers in banner headlines across all platforms.

X Factor Hooker Is A Junkie is a headline cast in tabloid heaven. Whether it is one that could potentially bite the hands of the show's publicists and those of its stakeholders remains to be seen.

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