Not all nonsense PR stories have to be related to a survey finding that seems shocking or counter-intuitive in order for it to hit the news – the UK press is so accustomed to being spoon-fed the warm-drivel template of ‘shock survey shows us x!’ that they’ll often print entirely-obvious statements as if they were hand-crafted wisdom from the god of science herself.
Take this, for example, from last week’s Daily Express:
TIME TO GET UP! DREAM ON, WE PREFER AN EXTRA 40 WINKS
EVERYONE who has ever reached drowsily across to hit the snooze button on their bedside alarm knows the delicious feeling of grabbing those precious few extra minutes under the covers.
And they’re not alone. All across the country, the average Briton is putting off the start of the day by almost half an hour.
On average, they’ll hit the snooze function four times before finally hauling themselves out to face the world. The lure of the warm bed is, not surprisingly, strongest of all on chilly winter mornings.
So, people in the morning like to stay in bed? Even more so on a cold morning? Well I’ll be damned!
One thing we can thank the Express for is that they gutted out the male/female competitiveness angle which originally accompanied this press release, which we saw take centre stage in the Daily Mail of the previous day:
Snooze wars: One in four couples argue about what time to get up
If you find it almost impossible to get out of bed in the morning, you are not alone.
Brits spend almost half an hour each morning with their alarms on snooze, a survey has shown.
And more than one in four couples reports arguing over the snooze button and when it really is time to crawl out of bed.
Note the author of this piece in the Mail – it’s our friend Maysa Rawi, who you may remember from the ‘Women are fatter than even they realise!‘ story covered elsewhere on this site.
Maysa’s own Twitter page tells us she’s the ‘MailOnline fashion editor and blogger’, so that she’s straying from the ‘look what she’s wearing!’ stories to this ‘look what this press release says!’ piece might seem surprising – however, this is the state of the Fourth Estate. With journalists today being required to write three times as much copy per day as their counterparts 20 years ago, it’s far from uncommon to see journalists double-hatting in a specialist role and a general ‘news’ role.
So, who originated this rather un-shocking statistic?
A poll for insurers Sheila’s Wheels found the average Briton dozes on for 25 minutes each morning in winter, compared to just 17 minutes in summer.
We can be sure this story came from Sheila’s Wheels, as it appears on the press section of their site, where we can also see that they hired PR firm Mischief PR, who commissioned this survey via polling company FlyResearch. Of course, the origins of the story aren’t widely broadcast in the original article, as that somewhat undermines the ‘researchiness’ of the case being made.
And just in case you were wondering why Sheila’s Wheels – the insurers of car and home – would be talking about couples rowing over how many times they’ve hit the snooze button in the morning, we have a lovely quote to tie it all back together:
‘It’s important that people train themselves to ‘get up and go’ as then you are less likely to make a careless mistake, like forgetting to switch off an electrical appliance or leaving yourself vulnerable to burglars by not locking the front door properly as you rush out.’
So: don’t snooze so much you forget to lock your doors, or your insurance will be invalidated. Struth.