Monthly Archives: July 2019

“Don’t listen to online nutritionists, berries are great!” says registered nutritionist, correctly… but working for berry company, via OnePoll

Good information from a commercially-compromised source now, with the news that many folk-wisdom and social-media-promoted notions of the nutritional value of fruit and veg may not be true:

Does eating carrots really help you see in the dark? Myths about food debunked

Carrots help you to see in the dark, oranges are the best source of vitamin C and avoiding fruit in the evening are food ‘facts’ we get completely wrong, according to experts.

A study of 2,000 adults has revealed many are mistakenly believing commonly-held beliefs when it comes to the food and drinks they consume.

But now, nutritionists have shed some light on the truth.

Source: Mirror, 21st June 2019

This is one of the more complicated variety of PR stories: on the one hand, we have a registered nutrition busting some common misconceptions about fruit, and sharing some evidence-based advice. But on the other hand, that advice comes courtesy of a press release from a company with skin in the game:

While more than a fifth of adults think juicing your fruit is as nutritious as eating it whole, registered public health nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire, who is working with Love Fresh Berries, said vital fibres and nutrients are removed in the juicing process.

She said: “We are in the information era yet it seems that ‘over’ information could be confusing the lay public.

“We must remember to utilise information that is evidence-based rather than trusting ‘popular’ followers.

While it is great to see some sensible information being shared about fresh fruit and veg, it’s a shame for that information to be used primarily as a delivery mechanism for the marketing message of a company with a commercial interest:

Nicholas Marston added: “There’s so much information online, it’s often hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t.

“With the growth of social media we have seen a huge rise in unqualified influencers giving nutritional advice to followers, even telling them not to eat fruit or berries because of high sugar content, or because they’ll rot your teeth when in fact, berries are nutritional powerhouses which have many health benefits.”

This might be one of the often-overlooked drawbacks of the PR game: nobody would deny that there’s general news (or at the very least comment) value in having someone debunk common misconceptions and share genuine information… but the news media is currently so set up and incentivised to churn pre-packaged press releases into ‘news’ articles, even good information often comes with a commercial angle and a company looking for return on investment.

What, do we think, is the main factor that motivated Love Fresh Berries to hire 72 Point to generate survey data via OnePoll (which may therefore be of dubious and commercially-compromised accuracy) in order to place this story (by-lined to a 72 Point employee) into a national newspaper? Was it an altruistic desire to correct dietary inaccuracies, or a commercial desire to encourage more people to buy the berries they sell?

That we can’t say one way or another – or, more likely, what the blend was of both motivations – may not matter in this case, when the outcome is something desirable: less dietary misinformation. But this story does not exist in a vacuum, it is part of an ecosystem of bullshit-data-and-a-hook-as-news, and while this is certainly the respectable end of that spectrum, it helps legitimise the much murkier end.

Ultimately, it is often the same companies involved in both ends of that spectrum – bear this story in mind the next time a news article with a nutritionally-dicey message can be traced back to 72 Point, or any other PR company.

“Parenting is hard, you’re probably going to want some advice!” says parenting website, via OnePoll

Baby news now, with the revelation that people ask for advice about naming their children:

One in 20 parents choose their child’s name by asking stranger’s opinions online

Naming your child after an ex, a sports team or a celebrity tot are among the UK’s biggest baby name turn-offs, a study has found.

Despite claims that celebrities influence the nation’s baby name choices, two in five couples refuse to pick the same name as any famous child.

And 20 per cent also can’t stand babies being named after adult celebrities.

Source: Mirror, 26th June 2019

It’s little surprise, then, to see that this is a story created and published by a parenting website keen to remind parents that strangers can be an excellent source of parenting information:

One in five of those polled by parenting site ChannelMum.com  have also red-carded any reference to sports teams and two thirds won’t use monikers which are already popular in their local area.

It’s even less of a surprise to see that ChannelMum paid 72 Point to get their marketing message published in a national newspaper.

“You should know a lot more about cars!” says car website

Car news now, with the revelation that British people splash their cash on a new motor without first making sure it’s not an old banger:

MILLIONS OF FIRST-TIME CAR BUYERS PURCHASE VEHICLE WITHOUT ADEQUATE CHECKS, STUDY SUGGESTS

Millions of first-time car buyers are purchasing a vehicle without checking it over, a study suggests

Cars are traditionally one of the most expensive purchases to make, with motorists typically spending around £3,000 on their first choice.

Choosing the wrong vehicle can be costly as well as dangerous – but 63 per cent of new drivers failed to research their purchase properly or carry out relevant checks.

Source: Independent, 1st July 2019

Millions of us spend up to £3,000 on a car – without even getting it checked

Millions of first-time car buyers are purchasing a vehicle without checking it over, a study has found.

Cars are traditionally one of the most expensive purchases to make, with motorists typically spending around £3,000 on their first set of wheels.

Choosing the wrong vehicle can be costly as well as dangerous – but 63 per cent of new drivers failed to research their purchase properly or carry out relevant checks.

Source: Mirror, 1st July 2019

Which company is so keen to remind us how little we know about cars?

Keith Adams, editor of  Parkers.co.uk , the UK’s largest consumer advice and car review website, said: “Buying your first car can be very much a head vs heart decision, with drivers often excited and overwhelmed by the experience.

“Our study has revealed a lot of people are jumping straight in and buying a car without doing the necessary research or carrying out the relevant checks and this can create problems down the line.

“We recommend new drivers buying their first car do their research by reading buying guides, learning car jargon and speaking to friends and family to ensure they get the right car for their needs.”

It’s obviously no surprise to see that 72 Point were behind this story, but I have to admit to being surprised that their PR manager Adrian Hearn was given not one but TWO by-lines by two different national newspapers for this marketing copy.

“It’s actually cheaper to run an electric car these days, guys!” says electricity company, via OnePoll

Mobility news now, with the revelation that petrol is – get this, right – expensive:

Average driver will spend £56,000 on petrol in their lifetime, survey claims

The average driver will spend more than £56,000 on petrol during their lifetime, a survey claims. 

The poll of 2,000 motorists found that 84 per cent believe petrol and diesel is “too expensive”.

Source: Independent, 21st June 2019

TAKEN FOR A FUEL: Drivers spend a whopping £56,000 on fuel during their lifetime – as 40 per cent of Brits consider switching to electric

MOTORISTS fork out almost double the average annual salary on fuel over the course of their lifetime.

Shocking figures reveal drivers spend in excess of £56,000 just to fill their tank – on top of insurance, tax, and maintenance fees.

Source: The Sun, 21st June 2019

Motorists spend more than £56,000 on petrol during their lifetimes, study says

Motorists will spend more than £56,000 on petrol during their lifetime, according to a study.

The shocking figure emerged amid fears over ever-increasing fuel prices and insurance premiums, along with clean air zone fees.

Researchers found the cost of petrol and diesel is a ‘serious concern’ for drivers with 84 per cent arguing it is ‘too expensive.’

Source: Mirror, 21st June 2019

Who might be inclined, commercially and financially speaking, to draw attention to the high cost of petrol?

Commissioned by EDF Energy, the research of 2,000 motorists found 40 per cent of drivers are currently considering making the switch to an electric vehicle – a move which some experts believe could save them £41,000 over their lifetime.

This non-news story, as are so many others, was brought to you by 72 Point.

“Dating websites can lead love!” says dating website

Romance news now, with the revelation that people all over the world are falling in love:

BRITS TAKE LESS THAN FOUR MONTHS TO SAY ‘I LOVE YOU’

Knowing when to say “I love you” is one of the most contentious issues when it comes to dating.

While some people wait six months before saying those three little words to their partner, others may blurt them out within days of matching on Tinder.

According to new research, the average Briton says “I love you” in 108 days, which is just under four months. One in 10 say it within a week.

Source: Independent, 27th June 2019

When should you say ‘I love you’? New survey shows Australian couples say the three words within three months – but those in the UK wait TWICE as long

How soon is too soon to tell your partner you love them?

According to the latest research from online dating website eHarmony, Australians are most likely to say those three little words in the first three months.

One in 10 even jump the gun with a declaration of love within just seven days.

Source: Daily Mail, 27th June 2019

It’s no surprise to see, then, that this story was created by a dating website, to remind you how handy dating websites are at helping people find people:

Online dating website eHarmony surveyed 2,000 Brits and found that out of every region in the UK, people from Scotland are most likely to confess their love fastest, with the average Scot taking just 84 days to say “I love you”.

“People enjoy foreign food!” says food company named after foreign city, via OnePoll

Food news now, with the revelation that British people regularly eat cuisine from outside of the rich and varied culinary tapestry that is exclusively British food:

Brits eating eight meals from around the world each week – here are our favourites

Brits tuck into eight meals a week from around the world, research has found.

A study of 2,000 adults found the average Brit is on a journey of culinary discovery, eating around one meal every day with roots originated across the globe.

And over the course of the average week, Brits will sample dishes from three different countries, with Chinese, Italian and Indian the most popular.

Source: Mirror, 28th June 2019

Who would have thought that food from outside of a specific 100 square miles of the earth’s surface would prove popular? And more to the point, who would have thought that pointing out so banal a fact would prove newsworthy?

Christina Honigfort, head of marketing at New York Bakery Co., which commissioned the study, said: “Authenticity is at the heart of creating dishes that taste as good at home as they do in the country the recipes and cooking or baking methods originated in.

“The research shows that Brits are passionate about this authenticity.

“It’s easier than ever to keep your kitchen stocked with authentic products and ingredients that match the tastes of the cities that inspired them, from bagels in the delis of New York to spices from markets in New Delhi.”

Speaking of authenticity, this fake news story was cooked up by 72 Point.

“Keeping a teenager amused during summer is expensive!” says teenage summer club, via OnePoll

Parenting news now, with the revelation that having a teenager during the summer holidays is ruinously expensive:

Parents spend more than £1,200 keeping their teens amused over summer holidays

Parents face a bill of more than £1,260 keeping their teens amused during the summer holidays, a study has found.

Researchers discovered taking children on day trips, buying video games and magazines, and the extra cost of childcare will set mum and dad back £502 over the six-week break.

And they’ll shell out more than £335 per child just on food and drinks, including meals out, lunches during trips, as well as snacks and treats.

Source: Mirror, 24th June 2019

With the now certain knowledge that keeping a teen busy in a productive and stimulating manner over summer is a terribly expensive affair, it’s worth understanding which organisation is behind this particular headline:

Chris Brown, director of sales programme recruitment at National Citizen Service (NCS) – a three to four week summer programme which helps 16-17-year-olds gain confidence, build life skills and become more active citizens in their communities, said: “Our research has highlighted an issue for many parents across the country who are unsurprisingly worried about the cost of the summer holidays.

“With the long break fast approaching, parents want to ensure that their teens are spending their time productively, without breaking the bank.”

Wait a second, I’m getting an idea here: what if – and hear me out on this one – what if you were to enroll your teenager in the NCS scheme this summer? That might be cheaper then entertaining them yourself, AND it could be good for their development!

Oh, what a fortunate and entirely coincidental thing it is that the news story that made you worry about how to amuse your teen this summer also sold you a solution to the same problem!

Well done, Bad PR regulars and constant PR sluice 72 Point, for putting this in front of parents at exactly the right time. For money.

“There are women out there who are just gagging for sex!” says affairs website

Libidinous news now, with the revelation that women, who typically speaking account for a reasonable percentage of sexually active human beings, enjoy sex:

PUT TO BED: Nearly half of women want MORE sex than men, new survey claims

NEARLY HALF of women want sex more than their male partner — and they’re really frustrated about it.

A new survey found 43 per cent of women said they had a higher libido than the man they were having sex with, casting doubt on the received wisdom that it’s always blokes who want it more.

There was little difference between the sexes with 42 per cent of men saying they wanted sex more than their wife or girlfriend.

Source: The Sun, 25th June 2019

Who on earth could possibly stand to benefit from sending the message to men that there are women out there who are desperately frustrated about how little sex they’re having in their relationship?

The findings come from a new survey of 2,000 people, split evenly amongst the sexes, by IllicitEncounters.com, the UK’s leading dating site for married people.

“You’re wasting way too much time applying moisturiser!” says moisturiser company, via OnePoll

A classic case of an inverted headline claim now, with the revelation that British people spend much too much time applying skincare products:

SKIN DEEP: Women spend seven weeks of their lives washing their faces and applying moisturiser in a bid to look younger

WOMEN spend weeks of their lives washing their faces, applying moisturiser and exfoliating in a bid to look younger, a study has revealed.

The average Brit uses three products a day on their face to try and keep wrinkles at bay, which was voted the most worrying skin concern.

The study of 2,000 adults revealed dark circles under their eyes was the second biggest fear, followed by dry skin.

Source: The Sun, 24th June 2019

Average Brit spends six weeks of their lives applying moisturiser

The average Brit will spend the equivalent of six weeks of their lives – applying moisturiser, according to a study.

Researchers found adults typically spend around three minutes a day using moisturising products in a bid to alleviate dry and cracked skin – and to keep wrinkles at bay.

But it doesn’t end there – during the course of their lifetime they will also spend seven weeks washing their faces and four weeks exfoliating.

Source: Mirror, 24th June 2019

It might seem odd, then, that the source of this non-news is a skincare product manufacturer:

Commissioned by O’Keeffe’s skin care, the research of 2,000 adults found they typically use three skin products a day.

Although 19 per cent use 10 or more every day.

So what is the marketing angle here? Well, it’s two-fold:

  1. O’Keeffe’s want to sell you on an all-in-one time-saving skincare product, which is why they commissioned the obviously false finding that one in five people – and therefore 14 million people in the UK – apply 10 skincare products EVERY SINGLE DAY
  2. They want you to remember that using a moisturiser is really important, so you should probably buy their time-saving moisturiser.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, here’s the O’Keeffe’s spokesperson to make the marketing angle explicit in their statement:

A spokeswoman for O’Keeffe’s skin care said: “Our results found we’re a nation that loves to primp and preen themselves.

“Squeezing, waxing, shaving and slathering on lotions, Brits are happy to go to extreme lengths to keep themselves looking their best.

“But a comprehensive skincare regime needn’t take you hours and hours – and of course, diet also plays a big part.”

This story, as is so often the case, was created by Bad PR stalwarts 72 Point, via their polling arm OnePoll and their ‘news’ wire SWNS:

“Kids would be great if they were in charge!” says film about a kid being in charge

Underage autocracy news now, with the fish-in-the-barrel headline that a child would be better at running the country than Theresa May:

CHILD’S PLAY: 63 per cent of UK’s five-to-12-year-olds believe they could run the country better than Theresa May, study finds

A NATIONWIDE study of the nation’s five-to-12-year-olds has found a staggering 63 percent believe they could do a better job of running the country than the current government.

According to the poll of 1,500 children, if the power was shifted, top of list of laws would be to introduce free cinema tickets for everyone (38 percent), followed by installing swimming pools in every house in the UK (36 percent) and banning parents from saying the word “no” (34 percent)

Source: The Sun, 24th June 2019

Which team wants to make you consider what the world would be like if children were in charge?

The research, to mark the DVD release of The Kid Who Would Be King, found that while British children want to have fun, they’re not unaware of world events – and not worried about diplomacy. More than half (47 percent) of those polled said would immediately send Donald Trump to the Tower of London if they were in charge.