Monthly Archives: November 2013

“Nuts are actually really good for you!” says nut advocacy group

“People cheat on people who have iphones!” says dating website aimed at cheaters

It sounds ludicrous that someone would stray in a relationship due to their partner’s love of their iPhone, and that’s for a very good reason – the story is almost certainly nonsense, due in part to its provenance:

Dating website Victoria Milan surveyed 6000 of their members and found 45 per cent would cheat, or have cheated, on their partner because they felt they paid more attention to their phone or tablet than they did to them.

But why would the dating site be pushing this anti-smartphone rhetoric in their press release? The next line makes it all clear:

Ironically, those seeking an affair because their partner snubbed them for the smartphone would use their own mobile to meet someone new.

Sixty-six per cent of respondents insist that they wouldn’t be unfaithful at all without the help of new technologies – the internet in particular.

While the article overtly blames the iPhone addict for their partners desire to find someone new, the covert intent of the seded story is to highlight the use of technology in helping someone cheat on their partner – which, essentially, is the very business model of dating website Victoria Milan.

“People who wear uniform are sexy!” says dating site themed around wearing uniforms

“People aren’t taking their health seriously enough!” says private healthcare firm

Brits today are too lazy to look after themselves, and it’s having a seriously detrimental effect on the health of the nation. That’s not just the opinion of a sensationalist newspaper, there is research to prove it:

Researchers for private health firm BUPA, who commissioned the study, also found the average Briton walks for only ten minutes a day.

Given that the research was commissioned by a private healthcare company who might profit from scaremongering people into worrying about their health, it’s not hard to see how the impartiality of the data might be compromised.

“People need to take a relaxing break from work!” says luxury hotel, via psychologist-for-hire

“People need to take a relaxing break from work!” says luxury hotel, via psychologist-for-hire

Eagle-eyed Bad PR spotters would have noticed the name of the company behind the survey – Hilton Hotels. But they’re not the only ones backing this research:

Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings said: “Taking a break from work, or spending quality time with others, helps mentally, physically and emotionally.

“With a lot of businesses stretched to capacity, it’s worrying to see that many individuals are not taking all of the time off to which they’re entitled.

It’s good to see Jo Hemmings expressing genuine concern for the health of today’s workforce. I assume she’s doing so having done legitimate psychological research in the matter, rather than having been hired by Hilton Hotels to invent a plausible-sounding reason why people should visit a Hilton Hotel, right? Come on, you know the drill by now:

“Britain’s workforce should be encouraged to take regular time out to recharge their batteries.

“Taking a break from work and enjoying a holiday helps workers both mentally and physically, which really improves their productivity when they go back to work.”

Indeed, Jo Hemmings was hired by Hilton. In fact, she wasn’t only hired by Hilton – her website proudly lists an extraordinary list of clients and PR companies who Jo has sold her expertise to:

Having worked for PR companies as an expert for many years, where a psychological or relationship analysis is needed, and as a regular commentator on the psychological analysis of celebrities and other newsworthy events on TV and radio, Jo is aware how easy it can be to miss opportunities for brand awareness. With a love of social media and a healthy Twitter following, she can now be involved in your campaigns at an earlier level, creating and developing top-line survey topics and questions that will maximise human interest and news coverage. Jo can help you turn a proposed PR campaign into a story that will stand out from the crowd.

If anything says ‘legitimate and credible research’, it’s a psychologist offering to ensure opportunities for ‘brand awareness’ are not lost.

Still, it’s legitimate research still, right? Jo, after all, is a professional psychologist – it’s not like she’d lend a comment on research carried out by, say, Bad PR regulars Onepoll, right? Oh. Oh dear.

“Nobody cares about pensioners!” says bank launching its ‘we care about pensioners’ campaign

Pensioners are being left behind by the modern world, with nobody paying attention to the needs of the elderly. Nobody, other than the company who paid for this article to make it into the Telegraph:

The research was commissioned by Barclays Bank, which is introducing “high visibility” debit cards and audio cash machines for customers with impaired or poor vison.

The typo on ‘vision’ there isn’t mine – it’s in the Telegraph original. Presumably it was copy-edited by someone of advanced years, what with nobody but Barclay’s ever having considered accessibility issues for the visually impaired prior to this article being published.

“Things annoy taxis drivers!” says taxi-booking app

Taxi drivers are easily irritated – we all know that. What we may not have known is how easily they can be pandered to in order to secure headline coverage – in this case, by taxi-booking app Hailo:

The cabbies also liked the “Middle-aged men in Lycra zone” sign to warn of cyclists ahead. The list was created for Hailo, a smart phone app that helps customers call a taxi.

Cabbies also want out-dated road signs, such as for horse-drawn vehicles, dropped.

Hailo’s Russell Hall, said: “The new road signs address modern life. Potholes are a common gripe for all drivers.”


Slightly less willing to play ball were the Department for Transport, whose spokesperson offered the most beautifully flat quote:

The Department for Transport said: “It is vital that signs give information road users need. They are reviewed to ensure they’re fit for purpose.”

I’m not sure anything I write could convey how much of a waste of time and space this story is, better than that DoT quote does.

“It’s important you look good when your photo is taken!” says make-up company

Selfie-obsessed! One in six Brits take over SEVEN selfies before they are satisfied (and two thirds re-do their hair and make-up beforehand)

It beat ‘twerking’ to be crowned word of the year by editors of the Oxford English Dictionary and it seems that the power of the selfie shows no sign of abating thanks to image conscious Brits.

A new study has revealed that Britons are now so obsessed with taking the perfect ‘selfie’ that more than one in ten take over ten minutes to prepare themselves for the shot, taking as many as seven before they post the final snap.

Somewhat defeating the object of a selfie, a staggering 81 per cent admitted they’d prefer a friend to take it for them before posting it online as their own perfect shot.

Source: Daily Mail, 20th November 2013

Clearly selfies are important these days – in fact, I read somewhere that ‘selfie’ was the word of the year. I forget where.

Given the absolute importance of selfies in the modern age, and our obsession with taking selfies, perhaps there’s something we can do to make our selfies better?

However, Brits are now so aware of also looking too self-obsessed that 81 per cent of those surveyed in a poll of 1,500 people by travel beauty experts, World Duty Free, admit they have got a mate to take the picture for them.

Ah, right, I see – wear make-up. Gotcha.

“People get angry!” says film with famously-angry protagonist

Queue jumping, spitting and people who say ‘well jel’: Survey reveals the things that REALLY make us see red

Queue jumpers, benefit scroungers, traffic jams and petrol prices have emerged among a list of the 50 things which make us angry, a study revealed yesterday.

Researchers polled 2,000 Brits to reveal the most likely rage-inducing things, with people pushing in front of us in queues unsurprisingly topping the list.

Source: Daily Mail, 19th November 2013

Things clearly wind us up – from queue jumping, to celebrities, to rudeness. But do you know what didn’t make it into the list? Film companies hiring Bad PR blog regulars Onepoll to create meaningless pseudoresearch in order to disguise their advertising as ‘news’:

A spokesman for The Wolverine, which commissioned the poll to mark the Blu-ray and digital release of the film, said: ‘Everyone has moments where they get into a bit of a rage, but the majority of the time, it’s over something fairly trivial, as this list shows.

Of course, the good thing about this kind of harmless pseudoresearch is that it can’t have any negative repercussions – such as reinforcing tabloid narratives about ‘benefit scroungers’ (sixth on the list).

It’s worth bearing in mind, too, that this list wasn’t compiled by asking people to name things that annoy them – instead, it was compiled by giving people a list of things a PR company has deemed as annoying, and asking them to put them in order.

Personally, as a member of the Onepoll polling community, had they asked me in an open-ended question what I find most annoying, I know what I would have told them.


“Vouchers make for the perfect shopping trip!” says voucher website