Monthly Archives: August 2015

“Most women want breast augmentation surgery!” says cosmetic surgeon

Big boobed Britain: Soaring numbers of women in the UK still want bigger breasts – despite reductions leading the way in nearly other country

  • Research claims 69% of internet searches in UK were for enlargements
  • In July 16.5k women searched for breast enhancements in Britain
  • Eight in 10 women in America who are looking online want reductions
  • Only other country listed favouring bigger breasts was India

They may be objects of desire to men the world over, but it is UK women who are leading the way at looking into boob-enhancing surgery.

New research has found that the vast majority of women considering breast surgery in the UK are after enlargements, rather than going down in size.

The data, collected from internet searches by women all over the world throughout July 2015, discovered women in most countries seeking breast surgery online were actually looking at reductions.

Source: Daily Mail, 20th August 2015

Can you guess which country has the most boob jobs in the world?

In some countries the majority of women are seeking to increase their bust – while in others, most want a breast reduction

It might sound like a weird joke, but the UK are the only country where women are regularly seeking breast ENLARGEMENTS.

In research which goes against the grain, the vast majority of women looking into breast surgery in the rest of the world are seeking smaller cup sizes, as opposed to bigger.

Despite this, breast reductions did grow in popularity in the UK from 2,900 in 2013 to 4,400 in 2015.

Source: Mirror, 21st August 2015

Let’s pause for a moment and ask: what is this story actually telling us? Is it telling us that most women in the UK want breast augmentation surgery? Or that 69% of all internet searches in the UK was to look into that surgery? Of course not. What we’re actually being presented here, as if it were news, is the ‘finding’ that of the people who search for breast-related cosmetic surgery, more were looking to go up a size than down. Given that there are, broadly speaking, only those two options, it’s not surprising that one of them came out on top.

Equally unsurprising is the source of the ‘research’, and the company who paid for this story to make the news:

The data, which comes from research conducted by ClinicCompare.co.uk, has discovered that the vast majority of those seeking breast surgery online were looking for reductions in countries other than the UK.

In case you were in any doubt, ClinicCompare are a cosmetic surgery company.

Here to hammer home the point is their spokesperson:

Agnese Geka from Clinic Compare comments: “For the first time the majority of women globally feel that their busts are too large rather than too small, and their motive for surgery isn’t cosmetic – it’s practical.

“The enduring popularity of breast enlargement in the UK is a stark reminder that, for now at least, vanity still trumps quality of life.”

What’s particularly interesting is the handy double-edged sword in the story – on the one hand, you can embed the notion that women around the country are clamouring for breast augmentation surgery, normalising the procedure in the eyes of your target market and inevitably making them question their own physique; on the other hand you can highlight the practicality of breast reduction, and it’s boost to ‘quality of life’. That way, you engage both sides of the fence, and look like a socially-responsible and magnanimous company to boot.

Until someone comes along and highlights the fact that this whole story – data, lead and spin – is nothing but an advert for your cosmetic surgery business, that is.

“Kids have unrealistic salary expectations!” says group of bankers

Another from the ‘kids are stupid’ file now, with the finding that pupils who have just gotten their GCSE’s aren’t fully acquainted with the realities of payscales:

GCSE results 2015: Average school-leaver expects to earn almost £90,000, Santander survey reveals

Bank says only 7% would consider becoming an apprentice which shows ‘there is still a lack of awareness’

The average school-leaver expects to earn an annual salary of almost £90,000 at the height of their career – despite the UK average being £26,500, according to new Santander research.

The bank, which is one of the UK’s biggest personal financial service providers, spoke with almost 500 Year 11 students to gain an insight into their career attitudes to discover they think they’ll be taking home £89,000.

Source: Independent, 21st August 2015

GCSE results day: School leavers reckon they’re going to be on £90k a year

If you know anyone getting their GCSE results today you may want to sit them down and have a word.

The average 16-year-old reckons they will be on £89,000 a year at the peak of their career with one in five expecting to hit £100,000.

The average salary, remind them, is currently £26,500 and while some of them undoubtedly will make a decent amount of money, their expectations are pretty unrealistic.

The findings are from a Santander survey aimed at gauging young people’s career attitudes and expectations, released the day students discover their GCSE results.

Source: Metro, 20th August 2015

First off, it’s worth highlighting that the story in both papers is merely a trimmed down version of a press release by Santander – meaning no original journalism, or likely even fact-checking, was done by either the Metro or the Independent in this case:

This is particularly telling, as the press release wasn’t overly interested in kids’ earnings over their career as it was advertising Santander’s apprenticeships, as we can see from the quote in the Independent coverage:

The results also showed how apprenticeships are being perceived among the group: only seven per cent would consider becoming an apprentice which, Santander said, shows there is still a lack of awareness amongst young people of the career benefits and opportunities available through becoming one.

HR director at Santander, Vicky Wallis, described how there is the perception amongst young people that apprenticeships are only for ‘hands on’, manual professions.

While young people have a good understanding of the value of college and university, she said, there is a significant number who are unaware of the benefits of apprenticeships.

She added: “We need to encourage young people to look into the vast number of opportunities available to them through apprenticeships and the multitude of sectors involved, such as banking.”

As for the kids and their sky-high salary expectations, while what they want to earn might not be too closely aligned to reality, to have this pointed out by workers in the banking industry is something of a pot and kettle scenario.

“People should make more Sunday roasts!” says manufacturer of Sunday roast ingredients

Brits have fallen out of love with roast dinners

New research suggests the traditional Sunday roast dinner is in danger of dying out

New research has revealed that the popularity of the traditional Sunday roast dinner is waning.

Figures from market analysts Kantar Worldpanel revealed that during the last year, the number of families tucking in to a roast dinner has dropped by four per cent to 1.3 billion.

Source: Telegraph, 25th August 2015

thegrocer-24082015-telegraph

Should Sunday roast dinners still be on the menu?

The traditional meat and two veg lunch is suffering a decline. Fay Schopen and Philip Hoare debate whether the Great British roast has a place in modern-day life

Fay Schopen: Roast dinners are a comfort blanket that practically cook themselves

Source: The Guardian, 25th August 2015

thegrocer-24082015-guardian

Why cooking a Sunday roast is now too much of a chore: Number of meals eaten in past year drops by 55 million

British families have been feasting on a Sunday roast since medieval times, but in an age of fast lives, fast food and spicy alternatives, the traditional meal is on the wane.

It appears that preparing a leg of lamb, a beef rib or pork with the crunch of crackling is too much of a chore for many people.

New figures suggest the number of roast dinner meals eaten in Britain fell by around 55million in the past year – four per cent – down to some 1.3billion.

The figures come from retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel, prompting speculation that many young families do not want to spend the time it takes to cook a roast from scratch.

Source: Daily Mail, 24th August 2015

thegrocer-24082015-mail

It’s the death of a great tradition, as English as fish and chips and colonialism, but sadly the great British Sunday roast is on the way out. No wonder this made national news in three separate newspapers!

Except, of course, this isn’t quite news – it’s an advert for products which fall under the remit of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board:

But while roast potatoes might be disappearing from our tables, research from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board revealed that sales of mashed potatoes was up by 20 per cent.

Mike Whittemore, head of beef and lamb trade marketing at the AHDB, told trade magazine The Grocer: “Consumers are crying out for a new approach to the roasting category, but the way many retailers present and market roasting joints does not reflect this.

“Roast sales are declining but the supermarkets need to understand why. We have got to think differently about how to fill that void.”

More to the point, this isn’t a new phenomenon either, with Red Tractor launching a media campaign on precisely the same hook back in 2011:

Sunday 
Lunch 
on
 decline 
as 
Brits
 shun 
roast 
in 
favour 
of 
fast 
food fix

A
 new
 study
 has
 shown
 that
 people
are
 nearly
 20% less
 likely
 to
 cook
a
 roast
 than
we
were
 10
 years
ago,
 possibly
 indicating
 people’s
misconception
 that
 preparing
 a
 Sunday
 lunch
 is
expensive
 and
 time
 consuming.

Red 
Tractor 
has 
announced
 the
 launch
 of
 its 
“Sunday 
Lunch 
Heroes”
 campaign 
to 
celebrate 
Britain’s
 culinary
 heroes
 while
 championing
 to 
save 
the 
Sunday
 lunch,
 which
 is
 in
 decline.

Coincidentally, that story also made the Daily Mai:

redtractor-28102011-mail

So not only is this a mere advert, it’s also an advert based on a hook that’s at least 4 years old. Ah, British traditions!

“People should use credit cards abroad!” says credit card company

British holidaymakers have £663MILLION in leftover foreign currency after holidays abroad… with few converting it back

Forget to exchange your foreign currency after you return home from a trip? You’re definitely not the only one.

British holidaymakers sit on an astonishing £663 million of leftover foreign notes after holidays abroad, according to new research.

In fact, the average traveller has £55.25 in foreign notes and coins after just one overseas jaunt.

Source: Daily Mail, 25th August 2015

visa-25082015-mail

We’ve all been there – returning home from holiday with a pocket full of miscellaneous coins that we’ll never use again. But if only there was some company had paid for some PR to get an article into the paper to tell us about a better way?!

Kevin Jenkins, of finance giant Visa Europe, which quizzed 2,000 people on their holiday spending, said: ‘Holidaymakers could be saving money instead of returning home with foreign currency, which likely remains unused and gathering dust. This hard-earned money could be better put to use or donated to charity.

‘For some, a frenzied ‘squanderlust’ means unnecessary airport spending.’

First of all, ‘squanderlust’ does not mean anything, to anyone, and nor will it ever. But secondly, does Visa have any tips on how to avoid this currency wastage?

Visa Europe says travellers should look up local prices in their holiday destination to gauge how much foreign currency to take with them.

It says people should take less foreign currency with them and use plastic or withdraw local money from cash points when they need it.

Visa thinks we should use credit and debit cards rather than cash. There’s a turn-up for the books.

 

“Kids need to know more about natural foods!” says natural food company

We’ve seen before, the ignorance of children is always a reliable hook for a Bad PR story, and last week was no difference, with one particular tale getting coverage in the Metro, the Express and twice in the Mirror:

Shocking figures reveal one in ten children don’t know APPLES grow on trees

WOULD you believe one in ten children don’t know apples grow on trees? It’s a scary reality.

New research released today has revealed far too many children aren’t aware of the origin of fruit and vegetables grown in England.

Source: Express, 19th August 2015

Fears for children’s food knowledge with one in 10 thinking bananas are made in factories

Kids also told the survey honey came from cows and chocolate bars grew on trees – and worryingly, some of the grown-ups were just as bad

Almost half of children who took part in a food poll failed to identify how 10 types of fruit were grown, with some believing bananas were made in factories.

One in 10 of the youngsters, who were aged six to 10, had no idea that apples grow on trees.

Source: Mirror, 19th August 2015

As with many Bad PR stories, these findings would be shocking if true – but as ever, that’s quite a significant ‘if’. Can it really be true that 10% of kids genuinely don’t know that apples come from trees? Can it be the case that ‘some’ kids really do think that strawberries “just popped up in the fridge”, as the Mirror’s version of the story points out? Call me highly skeptical, not least given the source of the claims:

Research conducted this week by The Fabulous Bakers, UK’s only mainstream bakery using all natural ingredients, showed some surprising results…

The Fabulous Bakers conducted its research to mark the launch of its new online film, which aims to educate and entertain children about just how fascinating and fabulous the natural world and its natural ingredients are.

Somewhat convenient, then, that ‘research’ commissioned by a company which markets itself on natural ingredients ‘proves’ that kids know nothing about natural ingredients. Of course, given that the ‘research’ consisted of an online opinion poll, it’s not hard to start to postulate as to how it might not be fully rigorous. How do you ensure the kids are answering about what they really think, rather than what they think would be fun to say? Do the kids even care about their answers? Probably not.

More importantly, can you be absolutely sure the questions were answered only by children? Here, for me, is the crux of it: parents have to sign their kids up for online surveys, and are paid a very tiny amount for each one that’s completed. If your kid isn’t there, you either ignore the survey and miss out on the micropayment… or you pretend your kid is there and bank the cash, clicking your way through the multiple-choice questions at will. Suddenly that ‘some’ people say strawberries simply appear in the fridge doesn’t seem quite so hard to explain now…

Still, at least the Fabulous Bakers got their time in the sun – or, at least, twice in the Mirror:

Victoria Willis of The Fabulous Bakers said: “It is really important that people know exactly where the food we put into our bodies comes from.

“When you look closely at how natural ingredients grow, you really do appreciate just how fabulous the natural world is.”

And it’s only when you look closely at how unnatural PR stories come about, you really do appreciate how fabulously shitty the effect of commercial PR on journalism is.

“Scottish people should look after their money!” says money-saving website

£30 million a year spent in Scots coffee shops

SCOTS spend almost £30 million a year in coffee shops – or £80,000 a day – with some caffeine fans admitting to forking out hundreds of pounds for their morning latte or cappuccino every year.

Over a third of Scots – and a total of 17 million UK adults – visit a coffee shop at least once a week, according to a report from budgeting account provider thinkmoney.

Source: Scotsman, 24th August 2015

Stereotype-defying news in the Scotsman earlier this week, reporting on the finding that coffee culture has become so popular in Scotland that it’s now worth £30 million.

While it’s undeniable that coffee shops have boomed over the last couple of decades, it would be worth examining how the £30m figure was reached – was it derived from examining the accounts and financial statements of the biggest coffee outlets in Scotland? Not quite…

The poll of more than 2,000 adults – including 635 in Scotland – found that 1.6 million people make 15 or more trips to a coffee shop every month.

Almost one in ten surveyed says they make between five and ten monthly coffee shop visits, making their minimum spend around £220 per year.

The survey consisted of asking some people to try to remember how much coffee they buy – and that’s assuming the poll was fairly conducted and without any leading questions, which is often an overly-generous assumption to make. If that weren’t enough to raise questions of the methodology, the Herald Scotland elaborates further:

Conducted by OnePoll, 635 adults in Scotland were surveyed, with the study based on the £2.45 average price for a medium cappuccino or latte.

Our old friends at OnePoll, then. Forgive me for requiring a little more convincing. Plus, if we want any further reason to question the findings, it’s always worth looking at the company who commissioned the opinion poll:

Over a third of Scots – and a total of 17 million UK adults – visit a coffee shop at least once a week, according to a report from budgeting account provider thinkmoney.

Thinkmoney is a personal finance service, which sells itself on helping people make savings and analyse how much they’re spending, so they’re well-placed to benefit from suggesting to people that little spends add up to large amounts.

As ever, the ubiquitous spokesperson quote helps to seal the deal:

Ian Williams, spokesman for thinkmoney, said: “It’s easy to let small costs like takeaway coffees slip under the radar, so seeing how much we spend as a nation is quite eye-opening. Of course, a latte or a piece of flapjack won’t break the bank, but we just need to be careful not to let them burn too much of a hole in our pockets. I think a lot of people would be surprised to find out what their annual spend really adds up to.”

And we all know where Ian suggests people go to in order to find their annual spend…

“Sport is better than sex!” says sport betting company

Nearly 1/4 of Premier League fans skip sex sessions with partners to watch the footy

PREMIER League footy fans would rather watch a match than score with their partners in bed, a survey has revealed.

A total of 23% of Premier League fans in a committed relationship would pass up sex to watch the likes of Rooney, Costa and Sterling do the biz on the pitch.

Source: Daily Star, 12th August 2015

Cometh the return of the football season, cometh the trotting out of the age-old stereotypes around men putting their team before their partner. If we were in any doubt that the story is nothing more than an advert for a sports betting company, we have a helpful spokesperson to clarify things for us:

A spokesman for sportsBettingOnline.net, which commissioned the survey, said: “When Match of the Day comes on the telly on a Saturday night it’s a real battleground in the households of football supporters across the UK.

“Often one partner wants to end their Saturday by getting close to their other half while for many it’s a time to get close to Gary Lineker and catch up on the latest from the Premier League.

“It must be hard when you love one woman but adore 11 men.”

The Daily Star weren’t the only paper to pick up on the story, with The Sun and the Southern Daily Echo running it too. Indeed, a moment on Google turns up the original press release, which includes text of all three articles, practically verbatim.

Fortunately, things aren’t as bad as they once were for the women of the UK – merely a year ago, coincidentally around the start of the new football season, The Metro reported the number of men turning down sex ‘sessions’ for the ‘footy’ was catastrophically higher:

Finally there’s some proof that men would rather watch football than have sex

For every woman that has tried to unbutton her boyfriend’s jeans while whispering dirty thoughts in his ear only to be ignored while he fixates on the football – you are not alone.

A new survey has revealed that 40 per cent of men would rather get stuck into watching a Saturday afternoon match on the screen rather than have sex.

It’s a sad time for civilisation isn’t it?

Source: The Metro, 14th August 2014

So the news is good – in just under a year, men are turning their back on football in their droves, in order to focus on their partners! Rejoice!

Or, both of these polls are unreliable, being as they are simple opportunistic adverts for a sports betting company (2015) and a sex toy company (2014). I can’t wait to see who will be hiring OnePoll to help patronise football fans this time next year!

“People should take advantage of cashback offers!” says cashback website

Brits say NO to free cash, shock report finds

MORE than half of Brits will turn down free money, a survey has found.

And Londoners are the quickest to pass up the opportunity of taking easy cash.

According to new research carried out in London, Brighton and Manchester, women were more likely to pocket the notes than men and older Brits.

Source: Daily Star, 21st August 2015

Even in an age of austerity, people are turning down free money? Truly an astonishing finding, if true, and worthy of the coverage it received in The Daily Star, The Evening Standard and Mancunian Matters. In fact, the Evening Standard picked up on the local angle, highlighting that Londoners in particular are most likely to turn down free cash:

London may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but many workers in the capital have been quick to turn down free money offered to them by a stranger.

As part of a social experiment, Londoners were offered up to £50 with no strings attached by a person in the street.

But despite the high costs of living in the capital, only three out of ten people approached took up the generous offer.

So who can we thank for this vital ‘social experiment’ and this important piece of sociological research?

The experiment was conducted by TopCashback to highlight that some things, such as free money, are not too good to be true.

That would be TopCashback, the cashback website. In case their particular angle on this piece of PR weren’t abundantly clear, their spokesperson ties up the edges neatly for us:

Natasha Rachel Smith, global head of communications at TopCashback.co.uk, said: “Unsurprisingly, the majority of the public were sceptical of the offer but those whom didn’t turn their back walked away with some extra money in their pocket with no strings attached – much like the gains you make when using TopCashback.co.uk.”

Perhaps the public’s skepticism is well-placed, when cheap advertising is passed off as sociological research.