Monthly Archives: July 2014

“Getting a new job is so hard, you’ll need professional help!” says recruitment company

First impressions really DO count: Employers make decisions about job applicants in under seven minutes

Next time you’re at a job interview, make sure your first six minutes and 25 seconds count.

According to new research, that’s exactly the amount of time you have to make a good first impression and clinch your dream job.

And it appears those early thoughts are significant because interviewers take just 385 seconds to decide if the candidate is right for the role.

The study shows how first impressions can completely ruin a candidate’s chance of being offered a job.

Source: Daily Mail, 19th June 2014

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In such a notoriously difficult job market as the one the UK is currently experiencing, it must be dispiriting to those looking to find a new job to hear that you can blow an interview barely six minutes in, and never even realise it. If only there were companies out there trying to help you find work – companies like the one who funded this PR ‘research’:

The research, carried out by Monster.co.uk, talked to 273 managers and 3,286 employees about their interview experiences.

Bless you, Monster, for scaremongering people all the way into gainful employment.

“Spending time in the bathroom together could save your marriage!” says bathroom retailer

Is bathroom bonding the key to a healthy relationship? Couples spend more time in the washroom together than they do at the dinner table

Bathroom bonding is the key to avoiding ‘conscious uncoupling’, as dinner table discussions lose importance for UK couples, according to a survey.

Catching up on the day’s events over an evening meal is no longer key to a successful relationship, with Britons now spending more of their time in the bathroom together for a night-time natter, than around the dinner table.

New research found almost half of couples (45 per cent) now share their night-time routine with their other half in the evening, whereas just 29 per cent eat dinner together.

Source: Daily Mail, 30th June 2014

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Who knew the British bathroom was such a saviour of relationships? Well, one firm in particular knew this, because they paid a PR company to come up with this specific and spurious finding:

Specialist for Ideal Standard’s Bathroom Behaviours, which conducted the survey, Jenny Smith, said: ‘For many couples, the bathroom is much more than just a place to have a quick shower and clean your teeth and is the key to a successful relationship because it is a place to relax, refresh, and have a good natter.

‘We’ve found that increasing numbers of people are looking at how to make their bathrooms even more couple-friendly and “his and hers” dual basin, baths big enough for two and dual showers are becoming increasingly popular, as couples consciously adapt their bathroom to boost the staying power of their relationship.’

“Women who diet via other methods are boring!” says diet drink company

Are YOU a ‘food bore’? Half of all dieting women irritate friends and family by talking incessantly about calories and fat content

Half of women admit they turn into ‘food bores’ while on a diet, incessantly talking about what they’ve eaten and calorie content.

These ‘food bores’ have admitted that while on a diet they drone on about calories, sugar content and health risks in their food to anyone who will listen whilst they eat, a study has revealed.

Nearly one in four confessed to ‘preaching’ to their friends on the benefits of eating some foods and the consequences of eating others as well as encouraging them to go on a diet.

Source: Daily Mail, 17th June 2014

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It’s the eternal paradox of expectation, for women: society deems you must be constantly dieting, yet actually acknowledging your diet sees you labelled a horrendous bore. How exactly is a girl to win (y’know, other than refusing to play at all and just actually enjoying yourself for who you are)?

Just who is it telling women to stop banging on about their societally-mandated diets this time?

The Simply Great Drinks Company, which commissioned the survey, said that getting into to shape is best done slowly over time.

In case you were wondering, the Simply Great Drinks Company are the makers of juices like PomeGreat – which claim to have “a huge impact on the way you look and feel”.

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In case you think it somewhat hypocritical for a health-juice company to castigate women for watching their weight, there’s a handy spokesman (the gender of which is sadly notable) to tell you why you’re wrong:

A spokesman for the company said, ‘We all want to look and feel our best. This is best achieved in the long-term by adopting sustainable healthy lifestyles, not about turning into a nation of food bores and faddy dieters.

They continued, ‘We are firm believers in an everything in moderation approach to a healthy lifestyle and have just launched a summer campaign aimed at supporting people to make manageable and lasting changes to their existing diet, exercise routines and mind set.’

So, you see, it’s not about fad diets and short-term loss, it’s about different fad diets, but slower weight loss. And juice.

“It’s important for men to fulfil the stereotype of ‘Gentleman'” says florist

Showing an admirable level of equality in their insistence on telling people to fulfil standar gender roles, the Daily Express had the following advice for the men of today:

What makes the perfect gentleman? One that will offer the last crips in the packet

NEW rules dictate if you are a “modern gentleman”, not least by offering a female friend the last crisp in the bag.

Taking a woman’s car for an MoT and recording favourite television shows are other etiquette pointers, says a poll of 2,000 women.

A true gent will avoid disturbing his woman by sleeping in the spare room after a night out and will watch football on a laptop so as not to hog the TV.

Source: Daily Express, 1st July 2014

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That the source of the story was a ‘say it with flowers’ website encouraging men to buy flowers for the woman in their lives has almost certainly little to do with the findings:

A spokeswoman for florists SerenataFlowers.com, which ordered the study, said: “The definition of a gentleman has definitely evolved.

“But showing consideration even in the smallest way has a positive effect on relationships.

“The majority of today’s women are independent – but they would still like men in their lives to be thoughtful.”

“You should do something different on holiday this year!” says holiday insurance company

Boomerang Britons: Two thirds of holidaymakers visit the same resort within five years of their last trip

When it comes to holidays, some Britons know what they like as 2million return to the same resort and do the same thing year after year.

It seems Britons are creatures of habit as nearly two thirds will visit the same resort within five years of their last visit.

And a staggering third have been to the same resort more than three times – and one in 20 have been back more than ten times over the years.

Source: Daily Mail, 28th June 2014

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Say what you like about the term ‘boomerang Britains’ (personally, I choose to say it’s an annoying piece of made-up marketing nonsense designed to placate the papers), but it seems we’re all terrible predictable when it comes to our holiday destinations.

What’s worse, our confidence in our relaxing resort means we may start to cut corners that travel insurance companies don’t want us to cut:

But LV= travel insurance, who commissioned the poll, found familiarity stops a third taking out insurance because they feel they know what to expect.

Selwyn Fernandes, from the insurance company, said: ‘Travelling to somewhere you have been to before can make planning a holiday much simpler.

‘It is easy to let your guard down because you already know the destination but things can sometimes go wrong when you’re on holiday.

‘It’s important to make sure you have the right cover in place to protect you on your break so you can relax and just enjoy your holiday.’

I guess the message from LV= is clear – you can be as boring as you like on your holiday, so long as you keep buying insurance from LV=.

“Your children are constantly sexting, 24/7, unless you stop them!” says web security firm

One in seven parents has found explicit content on their child’s mobile – but 33% NEVER bother to monitor what children look up on their phones

One in seven parents has found unsuitable content on their child’s mobile device, a study has revealed.

Researchers uncovered the shock findings after polling 2,000 parents of children aged 7-14 in a study about their child’s online safety.

Nearly half have been concerned with search terms found in their child’s Google history, with 15 per cent alarmed at the results that fairly innocent words have thrown up.

Source: Daily Mail, 17th June 2014

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The internet really is that Wild West of content, where anything goes. One minute you’re innocently googling entirely naive words, the next minute you’re being groomed by a pornography. It’s hard to be a parent, with such a big and scary world wide web of iniquity and shame of which to be relentlessly vigilent.

Terms like ‘sex’, ‘kissing, ‘girls’ and ‘naked pictures’ were all words and phrases that parents suspect their children have searched for.

See what I mean? Not only are there filthy words like ‘girls’ out there on the internet, brazenly sat on web pages just waiting for your son to find (because, by inference, presumably the issue isn’t so much that your daughter will be searching such shocking terms).

What’s even worse is that these aren’t even the words children are definitely searching – these are just the words parents are speculating their children might have looked for. As the Mail’s article clearly states, we literally don’t know how bad the words children actually searched for. And ‘kissing’ isn’t even the end of the list of things children might have searched for if the pure speculation of their parents proves true:

And a quarter expects they have looked for inappropriate jokes online and songs with explicit lyrics.

Inappropriate jokes! Can you imagine! Just think what might happen if your thirteen your old son read an inappropriate joke! It’s practically Soddom and Gomorrah: The Teenage Years.

One in ten suspect their son or daughter of seeking out movies with an age classification of 18, and 18 per cent said they just Google anything they don’t understand.

Is there anything more morally outrageous than this? Children as young as something or other are using the internet to find out information on things they don’t know or don’t understand! Oh how we all yearn for the time when a child’s ignorance was their parent’s privelege to maintain or dispell as they felt like.

With the average British child now getting a phone at the age of eight it’s not surprising that 36 per cent of parents think their child gets together with friends and searches for inappropriate terms or images.

It’s true that it’s unsurprising to see parents thinking of their children googling all sorts of nefarious and corrupting things – not least when there are articles such as this one, stoking up fears of what Junior may have seen, while carefully and very specifically only ever reporting on what parents speculated might be out there. Never actually on anything any child has actually seen, naturally – what’s the point of a scaremongering fear story if you include actual events and facts?

Equally unsurprising is the source of this particular moral panic press release:

Cam Le, CMO at internet and mobile security firm BullGuard who conducted the survey, said: ‘This research shows that many children are stumbling across inappropriate material on their smartphones or tablets perhaps unintentionally.

No, internet security expert, it doesn’t – the research shows that parents have been conditioned to imagine the worst when it comes to their child and the internet. And companies such as yours are to blame for that fear, which you’re currently now using to sell your firewalls and parental locks.

‘What may start out as searching for fairly innocent terms in Google could throw up some sinister results, which could confuse or traumatise young children.

‘You will never stop curious children and teenagers googling things like parts of the body, and inappropriate words in a bid to get answers to their questions, but it’s a parent’s job to ensure their child’s phone or tablet has strict parental controls.

Cam Le added: ‘Although the children may not agree, it’s vital for parents to keep an eye on what they are doing online.

‘Checking their history is a good way of seeing what they are up to, and modern mobile security software allows parents to set up keywords to flag alerts, view reports on activity and block certain sites automatically.

‘This extends to cover more general smartphone use that includes calls and messages, so the tools are out there to safeguard children and offer significant peace of mind to parents.’

While teaching children to be safe online is unquestionably a good idea, doing so from a position of fear and commercially-provoked paranoia can never be healthy.

If only there were something to block these stories from worried parents’ eyes. Perhaps we need some kind of BullGuardGuard.

“Men on dating websites fancy women who wear make-up!” says dating website

How much make-up do men really find attractive? Dating site discovers women with lipstick and blush are THREE TIMES more likely to be asked on a date

Men are three times more likely to ask a woman out online if she is wearing make-up in her dating profile picture, a new survey has discovered.

Zoosk, a dating site and app, analyzed 1,200 women’s profiles and found that these individuals were three times more likely to be messaged if they were wearing make-up including eye shadow, lipstick and blush.

Source: Daily Mail, 30th June 2014

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In a story barely worth covering, save for the fact that the Daily Mail felt it worth printing nonetheless, we have the startling finding from a dating website that female members of the site get more attention when they wear more make-up.

From Zoosk’s point of view, of course, this story is a no-lose situation – if their ‘study’ showed men tended to shun made-up ladies, they could publish it under a stereotype-busting headline; as their sample men favoured sample women wearing make-up, they can publish under a ‘the stereotype is true’ headline. Either way, Zoosk get their article in the paper… along with, somewhat inexplicably from an editorial standpoint, a promotional video.

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Come on, Daily Mail – it’s only fun if you’re still pretending to be trying, but this article barely passes as PR, it’s almost straight-out advert.

“People work on the move these days!” says mobile broadband provider

More staff gain right to flexible work as thousands swap office for the pub

British workers given right to request flexible working hours as survey shows employees spending hours a week working from the pub, taxis and coffee shops

Millions of workers will have the right to request flexible working from today, as research shows that thousands of British people are already working from pubs, on buses and in taxis.

Source: Telegraph, 30th June 2014

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The traditional office is well and truly dead – just take it from this intrepid blogger and occasional freelancer, anywhere with a electricity socket is an office these days.

Still, as much as the mobile worker sounds glamorous, it far more often means posting from a sofa than a Starbucks – so just how accurate is this latest research, which suggests we’re all taking advantage of public wifi to carry out our ninetofives?

The study by O2 Business shows an increasing trend for people to work from a coffee shop, with two fifths of UK workers spending more than four hours a week working there.

It’s not hard to see why a mobile broadband provider like O2 might be talking up the remarkable benefits of working on the move. Yet, they’re always first with the automated text the moment my data allowance runs out…

“People wanted to sell Glastonbury tickets!” says ticketing website

Glastonbury 2014: Four in five fans wanted to resell tickets after Metallica announcement

The vast majority of people would have re-sold their Glastonbury Festival ticket after Metallica were announced as headliners, new research has found.

The US heavy metal group’s booking has been met with controversy, with musicians and fans doubting whether the “Enter Sandman” band are a suitable fit for the “hippy” vibe of the event.

Furthermore, frontman James Hetfield’s involvement in a pro bear-hunting documentary sparked online petitions to remove Metallica from the line-up.

Source: Independent, 26th June 2014

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It seems not everyone was happy with the oldie-heavy line-up at this year’s Glastonbury, with a straw poll showing some people wanted to sell their tickets – something the festival’s personalised tickets made impossible to do. It’s worth noting who decided to point out the downside to this particular policy:

But almost four in five fans who bought a ticket to this summer’s festival were put off going by Michael Eavis’ decision to invite Metallica to play, Viagogo reports from their June poll of 2,000 UK adults.

“These findings support widespread media reports that Metallica was a controversial choice to headline one of the world’s most iconic music festivals,” a spokesperson for the ticket marketplace said.

Viagogo are an online ticket exchange and resale website, where gig-goers can sell their unwanted gig tickets… so long as they aren’t personalised, like Glastonbury tickets. Oddly, Viagogo believe non-personalised, tout-friendly tickets are much better. Odder still, the research they commissioned agrees with them:

“We believe that once you’ve bought a ticket it’s yours and if you want to sell it or give it away, you should be allowed to do so.

“In this case, with an unpopular headline act announced late, ticket holders lose out because they can’t resell their tickets and Metallica fans lose out because they can’t buy them.”

It’s worth pointing out at this stage that there’s no guarantees the people polled by Viagogo were actually even Glastonbury ticketholders. It’s also worth noting that Viagogo tried a different tactic at criticising Glastonbury’s ticket resale policy last year – to no avail. Clearly, Viagogo really want to get a piece of the Glastonbury action.

If only Viagogo were in the PR industry – there’s no such sanctions stopping content resale in the PR world, in fact it’s the very basis of the industry.

“Here’s how to take a penalty!” says World Cup sponsor ahead of World Cup, via academics

The science of penalties: Goal size, distance from the ball and reaction times put the odds overwhelmingly in a shooter’s favour

Picture the scene: Your nation has made it to the 2014 World Cup Final and the game has gone to a penalty shootout.

In dramatic fashion your opponents miss a spot-kick giving your captain the chance to win the tournament, but what are the odds on him scoring? As it turns out, exceedingly high.

Not only does he have an area bigger than a cargo container to aim for, but the slow reaction times of any given person compared to a kicked ball in tandem with psychological preparation should – should – seen him put the ball away with ease.

Source: Daily Mail, 18th June 2014

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Who are the brilliant scientists yet again pouring over how to take a penalty, in the now-obviously-fruitless hope the England football team might make it to the knockout round?

In research commissioned by Gillette for Brunel University in London they found that World Class footballers can anticipate the actions of an opponent up to 80 milliseconds before they move.

As any scientist will tell you, the best research comes after being commissioned by a shaving company ahead of a tournament they’ve a sponsorial relationship with.