Jeremy Stern counts dance votes, Strictly


When you watch Strictly Come Dancing tomorrow night, spare a thought for businessman Jeremy Stern. His job is to count, oversee and verify all the phone votes placed by viewers.

Mr Stern, 47, runs London-based company PromoVeritas, which acts as the independent promotional verification service for brands and broadcasters. Clients include Shell, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestlé, Kraft and the BBC, specifically the broadcaster’s Strictly Come Dancing series.

He tells People: “When you hear the announcement: ‘The lines have now closed and the votes are being counted and verified,’ that’s me. We are in the studio looking at the screens making sure the voting processes are secure and fairly conducted. We can’t make a mistake. It’s a big responsibility.”

Mr Stern spent several years working in the fast moving consumer goods industry before setting up PromoVeritas in 2002. “I realised that while companies wanted to do things right, they didn’t know how to.” The company ensures compliance with the latest Ofcom licence regulations, while reassuring the public that despite recent bad press, verified promotions are fair.

What did he make of the ITV phone-voting scandal, which saw the breakfast broadcaster admit to taking calls from viewers for two years in phone-in competitions that they had no chance of winning?

“That was a long-term problem caused by ITV not realising that they were operating promotions. The main issue was with GMTV, which ran the promotion to 9am but picked the winner at 8am. Now they are legitimate but then they were a law unto themselves.”

Is he allowed to vote? No. Besides, he says, there isn’t time.

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