Why are Australia’s most loathed celebrities so famous?

Angus Kidman 10 June 2016 NEWS

If we all hate Kyle Sandilands so much, how come he still tops radio ratings?

A smart shopper pays absolutely no attention to celebrity endorsements. Unfortunately, we frequently shop stupidly, and the aura of a famous person can influence our buying decisions. There are plenty of people who hate the Kardashian/Jenner clan, but there are enough fans out there to ensure that most products they endorse sell in big numbers.

That's why the Encore Score, an annual round-up of the celebrities that Australians most admire and most despise, is interesting. The majority of the most-admired people on the 2016 list, as reported this week by Mumbrella, are actors. Here's the top 10 list:

  1. Hugh Jackman
  2. Jamie Oliver
  3. Chris Hemsworth
  4. Dawn French
  5. Cate Blanchett
  6. Nicole Kidman
  7. Rebecca Gibney
  8. Russell Crowe
  9. Liam Hemsworth
  10. Keith Urban

Russel Crowe's tabloid reputation as a hoverboard-toting phone thrower clearly hasn't impacted his popularity. Nor has Nicole Kidman's alleged ice queen persona. (And hey, someone has to be the well-liked Kidman.) Note also that many of these celebrities are happy to boost their bank balance by fronting up for ad campaigns. Off the top of my head, Nicole Kidman spruiks for Etihad and Chanel, Cate Blanchett does Armani, Dawn French has done flybuys, and Jamie Oliver flogs Woolworths. Even Hugh Jackman did a campaign for Indian phone manufacturer Micromax.

The bottom 10 list is rather more of a mixed bag, with a mixture of radio presenters, sporting types and musicians:

  1. Kyle Sandilands
  2. Shane Warne
  3. Eddie McGuire
  4. Lara Bingle
  5. Jackie O
  6. Matthew Newton
  7. Pete Evans
  8. Jason Donovan
  9. Johnny Ruffo
  10. Rhiannon Fish

Confession time: I had to look up who Rhiannon Fish is. Question time: what has Jason Donovan done to deserve such loathing?

Kyle Sandilands' fame relies on acting like a jerk in public, so it's not surprising he's on the top of the list. However, it's worth remembering that those levels of dislike don't translate into him being ignored. His breakfast radio production remains the most popular FM radio broadcast in Sydney (and his co-host Jackie O is also in this top 10 list). We might say we hate him, but we don't seem disposed to ignore him.

The barrier to becoming "famous" is low these days; I bet you couldn't name most of the "personalities" on reality TV streaming service hayu. Even if you could, I'd hope you wouldn't base your shopping decisions on their views. But I won't hope too hard.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

Picture: Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com

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