Monthly Archives: June 2014

“Drown your World Cup blues with a holiday!” says holiday company

Holiday companies expect huge boost as depressed football fans flee England

FED-UP football fans are fleeing Britain in a bid to cheer themselves up from the disastrous World Cup knock-out.

After England’s 2-1 defeat to Uruguay travel agents are expecting a 50 per cent rise in online searches for stress-busting getaways.

Holiday companies had already discounted prices following a fall in sales in June, as sports fans delayed decision making in case Roy Hodgson’s side made it past the group stages.

With the World Cup dream in tatters for another four years, football fans are now hoping to score by snapping up the last of the deals before prices return to normal.

Source: Daily Star, 21st June 2014

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I’m an England fan… get me out of here! Holiday bookings expected to surge by 50% following World Cup disappointment

Following England’s 2-1 defeat to Uruguay last night, there is expected to be a 50 per cent surge in site searches over this weekend, as devastated fans look to alleviate their disappointment by booking a holiday.

With progression to the next round almost out of England’s reach and holiday prices discounted as the World Cup led to limited demand, England supporters are expected to cut their losses and rush to book the remaining deals before prices return to their normal value.

The World Cup has had an impact on the UK travel industry this year as patriotic holidaymakers chose to put-off their holiday plans in fear they’d miss out on the celebrations if England were to progress to the later stages of the tournament.

Source: Daily Mail, 20th June 2014

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England’s diastrous World Cup campaign isn’t all bad news – it could mean a boost to business, if you’re a travel agent, as everybody looks to scarper these sceptered isles to drown their sorrows in warmer climes. And if you’re not planning to go on holiday, there are handy stories in the press such as this one, designed to try to change your mind:

TravelSupermarket found 13.6 per cent of customers were influenced by the Word Cup, while six per cent said they are now planning a trip to Brazil.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert at TravelSupermarket comments: “When England has a vested interest in something like the World Cup, it’s natural for holidays to take a back seat.

“England fans deserve to be cheered up this summer, that’s why we’re encouraging them to seize the opportunity and book their getaway while there are still deals to be had.”

There we have it then – you deserve to go on holiday… says a holiday company.

“People make lots of small cash payments!” says touchless payment card

Workers spend more than £2,500 a year on lunch and snacks, report says

The amount that people who travel to work spend on small purchases such as coffee, breakfast, lunch and snacks adds up to an average of £10.59 a day

Workers fork out more than £2,500 a year typically for small purchases such as coffees, breakfast, lunch and snacks, according to a report.

Source: Telegraph, 23rd June 2014

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£2,500 a year on work snacks: Average commuter spends more than £10 a day on lunch, takeaway coffees and other food

Workers spend more than £2,500 a year typically for small purchases such as coffees, breakfast, lunch and snacks, research has found.

On average, the amount commuters spend on these small and regular purchases adds up to £10.59 a day.

Over the course of a year, taking weekends and holidays out of the equation, the total comes to £2,541, according to the study by Visa.

Source: Daily Mail, 23rd June 2014

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It’s little surprise to see people spending money on their lunch each day, although the amount does seem a little high for work snacks. How precisely does that figure break down?

The survey of more than 2,100 British commuters found they typically spend £3.69 buying lunch, £2.09 on hot drinks and £7.09 if they pop to the supermarket during a break to stock up on food and drink for the evening.

Remarkably, the “£2500 per year on work snacks” includes buying food and drink in the supermarket for when you get home after work. In fact, percentage-wise, the majority of that £2500 of snacks for the working day is food not actually intended for the working day at all – it’s right there in the article!

Also right there in the article is the identity of the company who paid for this ‘research’ to make the papers:

The research for Visa Contactless found that on average, the amount that people who travel to work spend on these small and regular purchases adds up to £10.59 a day.

Visa, of course, have a clear incentive to make us aware of how often we make small payments like this:

The rise in contactless technology, which allows people to make small payments by swiping a reader with their card, means more than 300,000 terminals across the UK now accept such payments.

Wholesale Clearance’s PR stunt makes mugs of the nation’s media

Did you hear the one about the intern who mistook US president Barack Obama for England defender Chris Smalling? I bet you have – it’s been everywhere. Here’s the story from the Daily Express:

You MUGS! Manufacturers mistake England’s Chris Smalling for BARACK OBAMA

AFTER the team’s timid capitulation against Uruguay and subsequent exit from the World Cup England are less world leaders at football, more like a bunch of mugs.

Two successive defeats at the World Cup in Brazil has left the hopes of a nation in ruins.

Right now, there are few more important jobs than shoring up Roy Hodgson’s leaky defence…with the possible exception of leading the free world, that is.

The Three Lions might be heading home soon but do we really think the team can one day win something? Yes We Can.

If you are wondering why the chap on this souvenir mug looks a little familiar, well, it’s Barack Obama.

Source: Daily Express, 22nd June 2014

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The Daily Express weren’t the only ones to run the story – in fact it also found coverage at:

Mixing Barack Obama and Chris Smalling – what an embarrassing mistake to make! I imagine there’s an intern out there who is pretty red-faced! But, of course, it’s an easy mistake to make, isn’t it? After all, all it takes is for an intern to do a Google search for Chris Smalling but accidentally type the words ‘Barack Obama’ by mistake, then find that very famous photo that definitely exists of Barack Obama wearing this season’s England shirt, and then fail to recognise one of the most famous men in the world and use that photo in place of Chris Smalling.

After that, it’s a simple case of nobody at his company stopping to question why the President of the USA is on a mug, wearing an England shirt (we all remember when Obama posed for that photo in an England shirt, right?), and for no printer to notice the error either (and I’ve worked extensively in print design and can confirm, when it comes to printing merchandise like this, that there’s typically at least half a dozen conversations around design specs, plus the need to sign off a proof of every product before a full print run).

Clearly it’s a mistake that absolutely anybody could make… well, primarily anybody who wanted to get the name of their online surplus stock wholesale company into as many media outlets as possible:

Andy White of Wholesale Clearance UK, which specialises in buying end-of-line stock and factory seconds, said it had knowingly bought the mugs when they were offloaded by a merchandising company.

If we stop for even a moment to think about the validity of the official story behind these mugs, it’s clear it simply doesn’t hold up. Even now, more than 24 hours since the story broke, a Google image search for Chris Smalling shows hundreds of photos of the Manchester United player… and zero photos of Barack Obama.

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What’s more, a photo of Obama in an England shirt simply does not exist – so it had to be photoshopped. Are we to believe the ‘bleary-eyed intern’ accidentally photoshopped a photo of the world leader into an England shirt ‘by mistake’?

There simply is no route by which this story could have happened as told in the media. This is, in my opinion, the clearest of PR stunts from Wholesale Clearance UK.

What’s more, it’s not the first story of this nature to involve Wholesale Clearance UK. Remember when William and Kate were still pregnant, and we didn’t know if Baby George was actually going to be a Georgina? Remember the tale of the memorabilia firm who jumped the gun and printed a job lot of ‘Royal Princess’ plates? Here’s the Daily Mail’s version of events:

‘To celebrate the birth of the Royal PRINCESS’: Firm left with 5,000 unsold plates after wrongly assuming Kate would have a girl

The birth of Prince George has been a massive boon for many manufacturers, but one company lost out after it produced 5,000 commemorative plates celebrating the arrival of a ‘Royal Princess’.

Other objects produced to mark the historic birth this week include Lego, dolls and an official porcelain collection – but most had the wisdom to wait and find out the baby’s sex before launching their memorabilia.

However, one unnamed firm supposedly had a tip-off from a royal insider that the Duchess of Cambridge was set to give birth to a girl, and designed plates with the message: ‘To celebrate the birth of the Royal Princess’.

Source: Daily Mail, 25th July 2013

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Once again we have an un-named memorabilia firm making an unfortunate-but-comic screw up, and once again who bought up their useless stock?

The useless memorabilia was snapped up by online retailer Wholesale Clearance UK, which is selling the plates in lots of 50, with each set costing £149 – or £2.98 per item.

As with the Obama England mugs, this story simply doesn’t pass the sniff test: the firm created 5,000 plates assuming the baby would be a girl. Did they also release a range of plates based on the Royal baby being male? If they did, I can’t find them. There absolutely are such plates available, but none with a remotely similar design to the Royal Princess range (which are, incidentally, still on sale on Wholesale Clearance’s website). Did the unnamed company really only make Royal Princess plates? Or did they also make Royal Prince plates, but inexplicably chose to create a whole new design for them, knowing only one of the two designs would ever be on general sale?

What’s more, take a look at that Royal Princess plate – who the hell is that baby in the middle of it?

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Why would a firm commemorate the birth of a child who wasn’t yet born, at a time when they didn’t know the gender, using a photo of a baby who wasn’t the actual baby? When the more sensible alternative would be to have no photo of a baby at all? Even if the royal baby actually was female, the plate would have been worthless, given that the photo wasn’t of the correct baby. Are we really meant to believe that any memorabilia firm in the world would make such a decision, rather than running without a baby photo at all? Do we really think, even for a moment, that there is any truth to this story?

It seems clear that both the Obama mug story and the Royal Princess plate story are nothing more than paper-thin attention-grabbing PR stunts from Wholesale Clearance Ltd – and given the huge impact and universally-credulous coverage the stunt has received from the mainstream media, it seems like it was a successful stunt at that.

Hat tip to @FieldProducer and @TheMediaTweets, where I first spotted this story.

“Your wife-to-be wants to shag a celebrity!” says bridal company

One last fling before the ring! Almost half of brides-to-be admit they would have an affair before saying ‘I do’ – but only with a celebrity

Brides are ditching pre-marital traditions in favor of a more modern approach to their wedding day, according to a new survey.

When David’s Bridal quizzed 500 recently married or engaged women, 93 per cent said that things that were once considered taboo are now acceptable.

Forty-four per cent admitted that they would willingly go for one last fling with a celebrity crush before the wedding – while 17 per cent would rather have one last round with their ex.

Source: Daily Mail, 12th June 2014

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Charming to see a bridal company flattering their customers by suggesting impending infidelity right at the moment they’re looking to make a commitment, just in order to gain a few column inches.

“Pets can cause a lot of expensive damage!” says insurance price comparison website

Chihuahuas do more damage than any other breed of dog – and if you want a quiet life you should get a Staffie

The chihuahua may be one of the smallest dog breeds but its appetite for destruction is larger than any other, a study has revealed.

Over its lifetime, the tiny terrors will cause an average of £865 worth of damage by ripping or staining carpets, scratching or chewing sofas and digging up plants and flowerbeds.

In contrast, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, which are perceived as fierce by many people, make the best pets as they cause the least amount of damage, costing around £178 in total.

Source: Daily Mail, 13th June 2014

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Owning a pet is an expensive business, with even the smallest and most innocuous of animals capable of causing huge amounts of damage. With such high stakes at play, it’s important to make sure you have adequate insurance – perhaps using a price comparison website:

‘Chihuahuas may be tiny but it seems they will leave you with a bigger bill than any other dog,’ a spokesman for Sussex-based financial comparison site PayingTooMuch.com, said.

‘All pet owners expect a little damage from their dog from time to time, but when you add up the total amount spent on cleaning, repairing and replacing, it can be a huge amount.

‘Add to that extra costs from damage caused to other people’s property and bills if your pet is involved in an accident, and you can expect to part with a large amount of money.’

“You should keep an eye on your pets!” says web provider offering HD pet-cams

Cleaning up after Fido costs £231 a year: Dogs are the most likely to leave owners a trail of destruction – with cats not far behind

Pets cause a staggering £872million worth of damage to our homes each year, according to research.

Badly behaved pets bring in dead animals, rip wallpaper, tear up pillows, chew pipes, go to the toilet where they shouldn’t and even eat up our food – to the tune of £231.50 per home per year.

Other damage includes ink stains on carpets from chewed up pens.

Source: Daily Mail, 15th June 2014

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It seems your pets can be pesky and misbehaved when you’re not around to watch them – which is why it’s a good thing the company behind this story are offering you a way to keep an eye on your pets:

The study was carried out by BT, which now offers an HD camera which lets owners keep an eye on home alone pets via a smartphone app.

Now, if only there was an app to let us check on journalists, to make sure they’re not simply anonymously copy/pasting press releases when we’re not looking.

“You should be more spontaneous!” says last-minute travel website

Frisky business: Ditching the diary and surprising your lover boosts sex by 33%

The sunshine may be putting a spring in your step, but proceed with caution — the months of June and July are a love danger zone with Facebook seeing more relationship status break downs than any other month.

But fortunately there are ways of keeping your relationship strong, happy and ‘active’. According to a study carried out by psychologist Jo Hemming for lastminute.com, the magic ingredient is spontaneity.

Ditching the routine and introducing regular ‘planned spontaneity’ boosts sexual activity and increases happiness by a full day and a half per week.

Source: Daily Mail, 16th June 2014

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Predictability is hard to avoid – trust me, I’ve written over 450 blogs on this website over the years, and predictability is the biggest threat to me continuing. Equally, predictability is a clear threat to the love lives of the nation, with relationships hitting the rocks left right and centre.

It’s not all bad news, of course: by introducing a little spontaneity into your relationship, you can boost sex by 33%. It’s just a shame that the headline doesn’t make it clear if that 33% is in frequency, intensity, speed or simply word length (throwing in a spontaneous extra letter really keeps sjex fresh and surprising).

Most predictably of all, this story extolling the virtues of spontaneity is little more than an advert for a travel website which specialises in last minute travel deals – lastminute.com.

“You can’t really be happy if you’ve no-one to kiss!” says dating website and made-up kissing day

Pucker up! Half of British women say that kissing is the best cure for a bad mood

FOR some, retail therapy is the only way to beat the blues.

But for nearly half of British women a kiss is the best cure for a bad mood.

Source: Daily Express, 19th June 2014

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Women, as ever, being shown by the media here to be simple creatures – a peck on the lips and a new handbag and even the biggest of frowns can be turned upside down. Equally reliable, too, is the spurious PR-led statistical chicanery behind a story such as this:

In a survey of 1,000 women for today’s National Kissing Day, 47 per cent said a smacker was the most effective mood-lifter.

Did you miss National Kissing Day? How could you! I bet you’re kicking yourself – it’s the one day of the year where you get to celebrate affection and human contact. They even have their own official website, complete with annoying infographic, too:

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In case you didn’t realise it was National Kissing Day, don’t worry – it wasn’t. If you look at the almost-hidden statement at the botom of the official site, you can see that the whole day is nothing more than an overt marketing stunt:

© National Kissing Day and associated events are fully protected by Copyright & IP Law and remain the sole intellectual property of Radio Relations Ltd; Participation by way of any format in or mention of National Kissing Day is strictly by way of invitation or agreement solely with the Intellectual Property Owners: Radio Relations Ltd.

Radio Relations Ltd are a PR company who specialise in creating content designed to get brands talked about on the radio:

Ever wondered how brands manage to get radio presenters and broadcast journalists to talk about their services?

As radio PR specialists, Radio Relations have excellent industry knowledge and fantastic relationships with presenters, securing editorial coverage on every commercial and BBC radio station throughout the UK.

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By all accounts, each year Radio Relations approve (read: sell-to) a small list of PR companies and brand partners who are allowed to use the National Kissing Day name and PR opportunity to secure airtime and column inches.

So who this year has been a National Kissing Day partner? Going back to the original story in the Express, the brand name didn’t make the cut – however, in its Daily Mail counterpart the PR paymaster’s brand survives:

National Kissing Day? Pucker up! The top five most romantic places to kiss your beloved.. or wait for your prince to appear

We might be a nation of tough critics when it comes to kissing, but we love a romantic location.

And a recent survey by online dating website MySingleFriend to coincide with National Kissing Day today revealed that for nearly half of British women, a kiss is the best cure for a bad mood.

Source: Daily Mail, 19th June 2014

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So, a dating website wants you to know that kissing is the most effective way of feeling happy. If you don’t have anyone in your life to kiss, you’d better act now, or else miss out on all that potential happiness.

As for National Kissing Day, keep your eyes open for July 19th next year, and we’ll see who Radio Relations have gotten into bed with by then.

“Men would rather watch football than have sex!” says condom manufacturer

Not tonight darling, the World Cup is on! 40% of men would turn down sex to watch football

Women across the country are preparing for a summer of boyfriends and husbands glued to the television as the World Cup begins.

And it seems the girls really will be getting even less attention than expected as two in five men admit they would actually turn down sex to watch the football.

According to a new study even if they do get intimate with their partners, 42 per cent of men admit they will try to ‘get it over with quickly’ in order to watch an important game.

Source: Daily Mail, 12th June 2014

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With the World Cup well and truly underway, the nation’s men have no interest at all in sex, what with there being football to watch. And those who are still having sex are doing so with the hurried recklessness of whichever footballer last did something a bit rubbish during a game (I’m actually writing this story a week ago, and topicality is a challenge, so let’s pretend I’d written an actual name here).

Still, is this genuine, legitimate research, or something a little empty and vacuous to distract us from the times when there’s not currently a match on TV? Well, let’s look at the signs:

The poll of 2,000 men from 72 Point…

Well, that’s not an ideal sign – not just the poor wording of the paragraph opener, making it seem like the poll involved two thousand employees of a PR company, but also the particular PR company involved. 72 Point are part of SWNS Media group, who also own One Poll – no strangers on this Bad PR blog. So let’s just say it’s reality 0, PR bullshit 1 there.

The poll of 2,000 men from 72 Point was commissioned by Durex…

In with the commercial paymaster, now, and it’s clearly a cause for bias – the condom manufacturer having a clear impetus (I said impetus) to lay down a challenge to the masculinity of the nation. PR goes two-nil up on reality.

The poll of 2,000 men from 72 Point was commissioned by Durex to highlight how a summer of football will affect the nation’s love life with their #DontFakeIt campaign.

Ah, we have a bullshit hashtag campaign, and that’s the hat-trick for PR. Remarkable stuff.

“OK, seriously, don’t forget, it’s nearly holiday time!” says holiday company

JFK? Wasn’t he a famous sailor? Only 40% of children know the famous names airports are named after (and a third think Gandhi was a Disney character)

Airports are often named in honour of famous people to recognise their achievements but a survey has found that a majority of children not only don’t know who the celebrated are but they also think that a number of them had totally different careers.

One in ten of the children questioned thought that former US President Ronald Reagan was really Ronald McDonald and footballing legend George Best was the king of Great Britain.

British Airways quizzed 2,000 adults and children on their airport awareness and found that the youngsters recognised only 40 per cent of the famous names and although the adults had a 70 per cent success rate, they struggled with some of the most popular destinations.

Source: Daily Mail, 12th June 2014

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It’s holiday season, and don’t the newspapers know it, with no shortage of vacation reminders gracing the pages of the media. Including this one, ostensibly about famous figures in history, but really nothing more than a reminder to check out a travel agent website for the latest deals:

Claire Bentley, British Airways Holidays’ managing director, said: ‘We were surprised that some of our most popular destinations, such as McCarran International Las Vegas, Chicago O’Hare and Barbados Grantley Adams airports, had some of the lowest recognition of origin of their names. We hope this piece of research will raise awareness for some of the greats that airports have been named after.’