Monthly Archives: October 2016

“The cost of living is different in different cities!” says window blinds company, inexplicably

Can’t decide where to live? Fascinating tool tells you which city you should REALLY live in based on how often you socialise and how much you earn

If you can’t figure out whether you belong in the sticks or the city, a clever new tool may well have the answer.

An interactive quiz aims to help users discover which of the 63 cities in England, Scotland and Wales best mirrors their lifestyle and taste.

Users answer six questions and the three best-suited cities are then revealed, along with the reasons why each one is a desirable prospective location for them.

Source: Daily Mail, 19th October 2016

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A genuine head-scratcher of a PR story here from the Daily Mail, who managed to wring almost 500 words of copy out of an interactive infographic tool which proclaims to be able to tell you where in the country you should live based on your lifestyle, but which has absolutely no purpose other than to speculatively attempt to gain press inches for a window blinds company – astonishingly, successfully:

The quiz, which was created by Web Blinds, explains: ‘Imagine a better life, with all the things you love on the doorstep Do you long to live in a city that mirrors your life and tastes? Maybe you want a big-city vibe or a coastal setting or an exciting nightlife. It’s time: go find the best city for you.’

It must have been a slow day in the Mail Online office when they decided this utter filler was worth a full breakdown. Either that, or there’s a PR company out there with a very cosy relationship with Femail contributor and Bad PR regular Bianca London. The mind boggles.

“People think their houses are haunted!” says home insurance company, for Halloween

One in eight Britons moved house because their home was haunted

HALF of Britons say they have experienced paranormal activity and one in eight have even moved out of a house because they thought it might be haunted, according to a new study.

The research found a third of us (32 per cent) confess to having been frightened by the supernatural in our own home at night.

As a result of strange goings on, a fifth (20 per cent) have called someone in the middle of the night to seek comfort or support.

Source: Daily Express, 24th October 2016

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One in ten Britons have moved house because they thought their home might be haunted

Forget noisy neighbours or a yearning for extra space – nearly ten per cent of Britons have moved because they thought their home might be haunted.

And according to a survey, nearly two-thirds of buyers will not contemplate a property near a graveyard or a spooky-looking church.

But there are some hardier souls.

Nearly a third would buy a ‘haunted’ house if the seller dropped the price by 20 per cent.

Source: Daily Mail, 24th October 2016

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Can it really be true that we’re all so superstitious and easily-scared as to fear our houses are haunted? That half of people in Britain believe their house is the scene of paranormal activity? Or is this little more than a pre-Halloween advert?

The research, by specialist insurance broker firm Towergate, has revealed many of us have witnessed supernatural activity in our homes and also found it can put us off a property completely.

‘Specialist’ home insurance doesn’t include insurance against ghosts – I checked.

Drew Wotherspoon, from Towergate, said: “Spooky supernatural stories of something strange in a neighbourhood can be a huge turn off for potential buyers. “Some of us thrive on stories of haunted houses, and can use eerie tales to their advantage.

“What is clear from this research is that spooky vibes can be real deal breakers when it comes to buying and selling properties – and this makes it a scary time for sellers.”

I’d disagree – what I think is clear from this research is that Towergate wanted to get some coverage in the newspapers, and they succeeded. Nothing more than that.

“Your partner is almost certainly cheating on you with a colleague!” says affairs website

Could your partner’s JOB determine if he’ll cheat? Bankers and brokers are revealed to be least faithful (with pilots and doctors not far behind)

Bankers and brokers are the most likely to stray and cheat on their partners, an eye-opening survey has revealed.

Those in the financial sector are most prone to betraying their loved one, followed closely by pilots and doctors and nurses.

Research also showed that two out of three adulterous women (65 per cent) say they strike up affairs with people from the office – as they suggest it makes work more exciting and fun.

Source: Daily Mail, 16th October 2016

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The Daily Mail, here, putting minds at rest by telling readers that their partner is almost certainly sleeping with that guy from work. However, the source of the statistics ought to offer a pinch of doubt:

The survey was taken of 5,658 cheating women, and conducted by Victoria Milan, a website for married and attached people looking to have affairs.

While this story may on the surface look like an article on which jobs feature the highest level of promiscuity, in reality it’s an excuse for a website that trades in affairs to send two clear messages:

  1. Women are clearly totally up for an affair; and
  2. Everyone is having affairs, so it’s totally normal and you should consider it.

It’s actually superficially surprising to see the Mail take the line that it’s the women who are responsible for having affairs – so surprising, in fact, that the Mail’s picture desk doesn’t appear to have gotten the memo, and runs the story with plenty of photos of adulterous and untrustworthy men, contrary to the angle of the article.

However, under the surface, the secondary, subtler narrative is aimed at men, sending the message that women are essentially ‘gagging for it’… and Victoria Milan knows how you can get access to these horny and up-for-it girls:

Sigurd Vedal, founder and chief executive of Victoria Milan, said the survey showed that people are more into having a great time and enjoying life than advancing their careers.

‘The survey clearly shows that even though there’s a risk to your career, having an affair at work makes life a lot more pleasant.

‘At the same time, the majority of cheaters would steer clear of mixing work with pleasure – not because it damages their career, but because they are at risk of being found out, or will feel uncomfortable.’

It may be the most subtle the owner of a website which sells itself on the Ashley Madison business model could ever be accused of being.

“British drivers are the best!” says survey of British drivers by British car rental firm

Britons take pole position as best drivers in Europe with Italians the worst

BRITISH drivers believe they are the best in Europe – while Italians are ranked the worst.

An overwhelming number of us think we lead the way when it comes to getting behind the wheel, despite admitting to having a number of bad habits.

The study of European drivers found 65 per cent of British respondents felt they are the continent’s best, with a quarter placing the Germans in second place (23 per cent).

Source: Express, 21st October 2016

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At a time when the Brexit debacle increasingly sees Britain on less and less impressive ground, it’s encouraging at least to see that the British public are the best at something! And while being the best drivers isn’t quite up there as having the strongest economy, the best educational standards, or the best humanitarian record, at least it’s something for us to build on.

Or it would be, if this weren’t a poll of who British drivers think make the best drivers in Europe, and if this weren’t a press release from a car rental firm:

The study of European drivers found 65 per cent of British respondents felt they are the continent’s best, with a quarter placing the Germans in second place (23 per cent).

And over half of the 1,001 Brits polled by specialist car rental company Enterprise Rent-A-Car say Italians, famed for their tendency to lean on their horns and hasty lane changes, are the worst on the roads.

So here we are: we say we’re the best, in a poll where we’re the only ones asked, in order to secure a cheap plug for a car rental company. And to think that some people accuse Britain of thinking small these days.

“No-one else will pay for your pothole-damaged cars!” says breakdown service

BRITAIN’S CRUMBLING ROADS: Drivers claim for pothole damage ‘every 17 MINUTES’

BRITAIN’S roads are crumbling so badly that drivers make a claim for pothole damage every 17 minutes, the RAC Foundation revealed yesterday.

In the last financial year drivers made at least 31,483 claims against councils for vehicle damage caused by poor road conditions.

The total was 9 per cent up on the previous year, said the analysis of data from 204 out of Great Britain’s 207 local authorities.

Motorists claimed for damage including punctures, wrecked wheels and broken axles.

Source: Express, 13th October 2016

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Drivers pay the price for pothole plague: Motorists now making a claim every 17 minutes for damage

Motorists whose cars are being damaged by potholes on Britain’s ‘crumbling third world roads’ are making a compensation claim to councils every 17 minutes, a damning new report reveals today.

But while the number of claims made has risen by nearly 9 per cent, the money that cash-strapped councils are paying out to hard-pressed motorists is actually falling, leaving drivers out of pocket, according to the respected RAC Foundation.

It says that last year drivers made at least 31,483 claims against councils across Britain for potentially ‘life-threatening’ vehicle damage – equivalent to one every 17 minutes.

Source: Daily Mail, 13th October 2016

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A report on the crumbling state of British road infrastructure here, and the impact our broken roads has on the everyday driver. While the data may well be true, the source is hardly without vested interest:

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: ‘These figures are symptomatic of the inadequate funding available for local road maintenance.

‘Drivers worried about the cost of running a car scarcely know where to look. They must try to keep one eye on rising pump prices and another on the potholes that can add hundreds to their annual motoring bills by causing damage to tyres and wheels.

I’m sure the RAC have drivers’ best interests at heart in highlighting the damage that can be done by pot-holed roads, but they also won’t be too disappointed if the reminder prompts drivers to ensure they have breakdown cover, should the worst happen.

“You probably aren’t being productive enough at work!” says recruitment company

The five crucial things the most successful people do in the first hour of their day (and YOU should too!)

Did you know that how you choose to spend the first hour of your day can set you up for either glory or failure?

According to experts, the most successful people in business do five things every single morning that sets them up for a productive day – and you should follow their lead.

Source: Daily Mail, 12th October 2016

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Some handy tips here in the Daily Mail, explaining to their readers how they can be more efficient at work. That said, it’s not so much careers advice as a a chance for a recruitment company to get their name mentioned in the national press:

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said: ‘When it comes to staying productive and setting yourself up for a successful day, it’s important to make sure that you’re energised and focused on what you want to accomplish.’

Presumably one of the crucial things Daily Mail journalist and prolific Bad PR culprit Bianca London does in the first hour of her day is choose which press releases in her inbox to publish uncritically. Nice work if you can get it.

“House prices differ around the country!” says mortgage lender

How a brick costing 89p is worth £121 when it is part of a London house…but £22 if the property is in Belfast

It’s enough to make anyone think twice about buying a house.

Soaring property prices mean the average brick in a UK house is worth more than £47, based on the property’s overall value.

This same brick would have cost £35.70 in 2006, meaning the price has risen a third over the past decade, research has found.

Source: Daily Mail, 13th October 2016

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A shock revelation in the Daily Mail here, stunning absolutely nobody with the news that houses in one part of the country cost less than houses in a different part of the country. It’s almost as if this whole story is little more than a press release from a mortgage provider looking to grab a little media coverage…

Raheel Ahmed, head of Barclays Mortgages, said: ‘It is particularly interesting to see the regions and cities outside of London which are experiencing significant growth in house prices.

‘While a north-south divide does remain, cities such as Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester are experiencing strong growth, and this is forecast to continue through to 2020.’

Coincidentally, articles in one part of one newspaper are worth a lot less than articles in a different part of a different newspaper that have been written by an actual journalist rather than a bank’s PR department.

“Bathrooms at work get very dirty!” says cleaning company

One in 10 workers confess they eat food in the office BATHROOM… and more than half don’t wash their hands after using the toilet

A new study has revealed just how questionable some office-workers’ bathroom habits are, with more than half of Australians not washing their hands after using the toilet.

The research, undertaken by Initial Hygiene in preparation for National Handwashing Day on Saturday 15 October, found that only 49 per cent of people wash their hands after using the work bathroom.

Source: Daily Mail, 13th October 2016

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It’s hard to believe that 10% of office workers eat food in the office bathroom, mainly because it almost certainly isn’t true – it’s just PR for a cleaning company, promoting their entirely-made-up “National Handwashing Day”. Of course, their real goal is to emphasise the value of a clean office bathroom, by grossing out office workers and motivating them to ensure their office uses a reliable cleaning company:

‘When you leave the bathroom without washing, you have urine and fecal matter and germs all on your hands,’ Kate Levy, spokesperson for Initial Hygiene, told Daily Mail Australia.

‘You’re taking that back to your desk, and the office kitchen. You’re putting your lip gloss with your fingers and wiping that all over your lips. It’s disgusting.’

“Women are liars!” says ‘honest’ tea company

Do men or women lie more? The answer will shock you

It found females tell more lies about their diet, throw more sickies and make up more excuses to get out of doing something they don’t fancy.

But it’s not all bad – they are also more likely to bend the facts so they do not hurt people’s feelings.

The survey would seem to be at odds with the film Liar Liar, in which the main character is a dishonest male lawyer played by Jim Carrey with Justin Cooper as his son.

Source: Daily Star, 11th October 2016

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Who’d have thought it – in a world where the media by and large paints gender as a strictly binary attribute, one of the two options for gender is more dishonest than the other. It would be easy to get into the detail of why in society one gender may tell more lies than the other… but, of course, that would be to accept the conceit of this article, rather than to acknowledge it is little more than an ad for a herbal tea brand:

The survey was carried out to mark the UK launch of the US-bottled herbal tea brand Honest.

It’s worth considering, too, whether, had this ‘honest’ survey discovered that men lie more than women, this article would have been appreciably different? Of course not: the data in the article is the delivery mechanism for a PR hit, rather than a message in its own right. Of course, that doesn’t stop readers of the Daily Star from taking this as proof that women are not to be trusted. Lovely stuff.

The company has also pledged to conduct a regular “Honest Index”, including experiments to test Brits’ trustworthiness.

Well that’s something to look forward to. To be honest, Honest, I’d far rather you found a more ethical way of grabbing publicity.

“We can dress anything up as a revelation if we put it in an infographic!” says window decoration company

It’s a wonder how they get any work done! The jobs with the world’s best views revealed

For most people, working nine to five in an office means monotonous views of computer screens and their colleagues.

But some unlikely occupations around the world can offer surprisingly spectacular views of the surroundings – and you don’t even have to venture outside.

You’ve probably never considered working as a cashier at the Empire State Building in New York or as a coastguard on the Bering Sea. But if you do, the scenery outside your window promises to be more stunning than most.

Source: Daily Mail, 12th October 2015

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The ‘revelation’ from the Daily Mail that some jobs come with attractive views comes courtesy of window blinds company Made To Measure, in a move that proves if you want to get your content printed untouched on a national newspaper’s website, put it in a pretty graphic.