Author Archives: Michael Marshall

“Your office is filthy!” says cleaning company

Dirt news now in the Daily Mail, with the revelation that things get dirty when they’re used by lots of people:

Revealed: The 10 FILTHIEST items in your office (and you may never want to use the printer or microwave again)

A lot of us make sure that our homes are always kept clean, tidy and free from germs – but what about the place we spend around 40 hours a week in, the office?

Source: Daily Mail, 17th February 2017

Items in an office get dirty, apparently – who’d have thought that when dozens of people all regularly use a thing, that thing gets dirty quickly? Well, at least one company knows that’s the case:

Cleaner-booking website has dug deep to uncover the dirtiest items in our workplace – and the list will leave you reaching for the hand sanitiser.


So while you’re pondering all the many items in your office that are apparently terribly infested with germs, at least you know that the originator of this piece of PR would like your custom.

“French people have sex!” says dating website

Sex news, from the Independent, with the revelation that French people have sex:

Parisians’ unbridled sexual habits laid bare in new survey

Parisians’ unbridled sexuality has been laid bare in a new studywhich finds that a far higher proportion than the national average are unfaithful, while almost third have partaken in a threesome and a quarter an “orgy”.

The number of people Parisians have slept with is 19 on average – almost twice the national average and more than twice the number of sexual partners Londoners have had judging by a recent cross-Channel poll.

Entitled Paris, City of Light, City of Debauchery?, the new survey by respected polling institute Ifop confirms the French capital’s reputation as “the land of sexual liberty par excellence” and also defines the city as a “haven for sexual minorities”.

Source: Telegraph, 4th January 2017

Stereotype-ticking stuff from the Telegraph here, confirming that the French are fond of sex. Throw in cigarettes, black and white films and an existential ennui and you’ll be starting to fill the stereotype bingo card. Of course, the staggering revelation that Parisians procreate is actually just a delivery mechanism for a PR message from the originators of this piece:

Starting with sexual orientation, almost a fifth of Parisian men declare themselves to be gay or bisexual, compared to 11 per cent for the rest of the country, found the survey, which was conducted for the CAM4 dating website.

Another day, another PR piece for a dating website.

“Some people have affairs!” says affairs website

Astrology news, in the Daily Mail, with the revelation that the stars may dictate who is unfaithful and who is true:

Can you tell a cheater by their star sign? Survey reveals those who are born under Aquarius, Pisces and Aries are more likely to be unfaithful

A survey has revealed that which star sign you are could indicate whether you are more likely to cheat on your spouse.

Source: Daily Mail, 30th December 2016

Admittedly, a more accurate marker of whether someone is likely to be unfaithful is whether they are signed up to the website of the orignator of this piece of PR:

Australian extra-marital dating website Victoria Milan found there was some correlation between people who were likely to cheat and which of the 12 zodiac signs they were born under.

“People don’t even know what a vegetable is!” says vegetable producer

Food news now, in which the Daily Mail explain why the average British person is “food illiterate”:

Are you food illiterate? 37 million Brits fail to eat their five-a-day – while some believe TURKEY constitutes fruit and veg intake

Health experts recently insisted we eat ten portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

But that may be a struggle for the majority of Britons, a new survey has revealed.

Three-quarters of us fail to manage to include just five portions of the healthy produce in our daily diet.

In addition, nearly fifty per cent regularly have days were they fail to consume any freshly-grown food at all.

Source: Daily Mail, 1st March 2017

Sadly, according to this research, people are so ignorant about fruit and vegetables that they wouldn’t even recognise a fruit or a vegetable if they saw one. Of course, this research was commissioned by a company with an iron in the fire:

Commissioned by Dole Packaged Foods Europe in aid of More Fruit Month, the research also revealed some alarming beliefs around diet.

Dole Packaged Foods Europe are, according to their website, ‘the world’s largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables’, so it’s pretty clear why they might want to suggest people need more education and awareness of the produce in their diet.

“People get bored by repetitive lunches!” says lunch food company

Ham news now, with the revelation that people eat the same lunch every single day:

One in six people have had the same lunch for at least two years, survey finds

They say variety is the spice of life – but apparently that doesn’t ring true when it comes to lunchtime.

In fact, one in six people admitted they have sat down to the same lunch every day for at least two years, blaming a lack of inspiration and the need to save money.

Source: Telegraph, 13th February 2017

Got a ham sandwich for lunch today? One in six workers admit eating the same thing every day for two years 

A worker has admitted they have eaten a ham sandwich, with a piece of fruit, every day since they started work 20 years ago.

Another said they have eaten the same box of chopped vegetables, tuna and a boiled egg every day for the last two years.

The revelations came in a survey on lunch eating habits.

Source: Daily Mail, 13th February 2017

Who eats the same lunch every single day of the year? Well, people who are filling in online surveys as quickly as possible without considering their answers in order to make minuscule amounts of money, that’s who.

And who is this headline in service of?

The study, which was carried out by New Covent Garden Soup and polled 2,000 people, also revealed a staggering 81 per cent of people are ‘bored’ by their lunch choices.

In case you’re wondering, yes: New Covent Garden Soup do make soups that you can have for lunch. They probably have enough of a range that you could have a different one each day of the week, I imagine we’re meant to spontaneously think.

“People lie about numbers and statistics!” says online dating site’s PR team, in the Daily Mail

Penis news now, from the Daily Mail:

Revealed: The countries where men exaggerate the MOST about the size of their penis (and where they are modest about their manhood) 

  • Survey asked men in five different countries to estimate length of their penis
  • Compared result to the answer given by women about their last sexual partner
  • Results reveal Australians and Americans are the most prone to exaggeration
  • Canadians are the most honest while Indian men underestimate their size

Penis size can be a source of pride or embarrassment for many men.

So it is perhaps of little surprise to learn that most are guilty of lying about the length of their manhood.

Source: Daily Mail, 6th March 2016

Ironic of the Mail to be involved in castigating those who exaggerate and lie about figures, when this story is actually just an advert for a dating site:

A survey by dating website reveals the countries where men exaggerate the most about the size of their penis – and those where they are too modest.

Given what we know about PR-led market research for dating sites, and what we know about the Daily Mail, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

“People waste a lot of their time in traffic!” says motoring company

Traffic news from the Telegraph and the Mail now, with a report on the time we waste in traffic jams:

Average driver will spend 32 hours a year in traffic jams, as online shopping blamed for rise in congestion

The average driver will spend 32 hours a year in traffic jams, a report has found as online shopping is blamed for the rise in congestion.

The UK was found to be the third worst country in Europe for traffic congestion, with the direct and direct costs of hold-ups reaching £31 billion last year, an average of £968 per driver.

Source: Telegraph, 20th February 2017

Drivers spend 32 hours a year stuck in traffic: UK is ranked the third most congested country in Europe 

Britain is one of the most gridlocked countries on Earth with drivers spending 32 hours a year on average stuck in traffic jams, a report reveals today.

And the time spent going nowhere costs the economy an estimated £30billion a year.

The UK is ranked as the third most congested country in Europe – after Russia and Turkey – and the 11th most gridlocked overall. Motorists in London are hit the hardest, spending 73 hours in jams, accounting for an eighth of their total driving time.

Source: Daily Mail, 21st February 2017

Who is behind the story? Seemingly two companies:

The research, from traffic information company Inrix, found drivers spend an average of 32 hours a year stuck in jams during peak periods in the UK.

Ian Crowder from the AA said: “You can’t go through a townscape without coming across people delivering groceries or parcels on Amazon or whatever.

Nice to see a collaboration on a PR story, for a change.

“Writing CVs can be hard!” says woman who will write your CV if you pay her

CV news now, in the Independent:

A woman who has reviewed over 40,000 CVs outlines the 8 most annoying mistakes she sees

Since launching Résumé Writers’ Ink in 2010, Tina Nicolai estimates that she’s read over 40,000 résumés.

That’s a lot of CVs. Over the years, Nicolai says that certain annoying mistakes tend to come up quite a lot.

Some of these errors might not seem like a huge deal. In a competitive job market, though, they might be the difference from snagging your dream job and having your CV thrown in the garbage.

Source: Independent, 7th March 2017

Well, if writing the perfect CV can be the different between getting your dream job and not, it’s probably worth spending some money with a service that will make your CV better… is what this article from a service that will make your CV better wants you to take away from this story.

“Women love to be harassed on the street!” says voucher company and PR firm, on International Women’s Day

Sometimes, Bad PR stories are almost too perfect in the way they encapsulate the problems in PR and in the media. Take, for instance, today’s story from the Daily Star, which appeared on page 8 of the print edition:

You can whistle 

Wolf calls survey anger

Some women actually like being wolf-whistled, accoridng to a provocative survey on International Women’s Day.

One in 11 – or 2.4 million – said they took it as a compliment.

But campaigners on the women’s rights day blasted the research’s “poor timing”. Despite it being treated as a hate crime, 39% of women told the study they “actively encourage” cat-calling and “hope” they will be wolf-whistled at.

Source: Daily Star, 9th March 2017

Astonishing, you might think, that the Daily Star would run a story that suggests that so many women actually enjoy being harassed on the street – and on International Women’s Day at that! But at least the Star had the good decency to ensure they published a story which ostensibly was at least critical of cat-calling, or of the survey, right?

Well, that’s the funny thing – the original press release didn’t condemn cat-calling at all, and played the street harassment angle for a bit of cheeky fun, highlighting how being wolf-whistled on the street actually makes women feel confident and desirable. I know it did, because I saw the original release:

1 in 11 British Women LIKE Being Cat-Called

New research has revealed that one in eleven British women like being cat-called, with 39% of these stating that they ‘actively encourage’ catcalls and ‘hope’ they will be catcalled when they leave the house. Furthermore, 15% of women admitted to finding unavailable men attractive.

According to new research, one in eleven British women actually like it when men cat-call them, with many confessing that they boost their confidence and that they leave the house hoping to encourage that kind of attention. Furthermore, 15% of women confess to being attracted to unavailable men, with the majority stating that it makes them feel ‘more desirable’.

There was no mention of International Women’s Day, at all (although there is surely no chance the story wasn’t timed to deliberately appear on that particular day). There was, however, a nicely prominent mention of the originators of this story:

The team at conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into British attitudes towards each other. 2,488 British women aged 18 and over were quizzed about the way that they’re treated by others and vice versa, and what they look for in a potential suitor.

So where did the condemnation come into it, and where did the reference to International Women’s Day come from? All I can surmise is that the original story was so completely tone-deaf and exploitative in its overt brandwagoning that it was too sexist even for the Daily Star to publish in its original format.

So, half marks go to the Star for at least recognising and toning down the misogyny of the original, though it would have been far more ethical to simple never run the story in the first place. Clearly they had an editorial change of heart, because the online version of the story disappeared a little while after it had been published:

Of course, the Star ought to realise that the Internet never forgets, and the cached version of the story can still be read.

If the Star get half marks for their effort, zero marks have to go to VoucherCodesPro, the market research company used to compile the data (I’m pretty sure there is only One polling company likely to have been behind this one), and to the PR company who worked up this story for them – 10 Yetis.

As a wonderfully ironic wrinkle, 10 Yetis have a Bad PR blog of their own, with their daily “Examples of Good and Bad PR” news feed.

In it they pour through the day’s news to highlight examples of PR done very well, and PR that backfires, has a poor reception or comes from a less-than-positive place. As a marketing tool, I’m sure it does wonders for the ethical perception of their agency, that they talk about the ethics and effectiveness of work done in their industry.

I wonder if they have the ethical integrity to add their own cynical and counter-productive International Women’s Day brandwagoning effort to their Bad PR round up tomorrow? I won’t hold my breath.

“You waste a lot of your time on meaningless activities!” says parking association

Time-wasting news from the Daily Mail, with a detailed breakdown of how each of us spend our lives, hour by hour:

30 hours crying, 17 weeks having sex and 368 days in the pub: How much time do you spend on different activities across an entire lifetime? New research reveals figures that will jolt you…

Source: Daily Mail, 3rd February 2017

Who commissioned this research designed to make us take stock of how long we spend on each little task in our lives? Bizarrely enough:

With an average life expectancy of 80, does it make sense to fritter away four years of it on the phone at work, more than a year in traffic jams and, according to a new survey by the British Parking Association, 248 days searching for a parking place?

While the lengthy article goes into forensic (if utterly meaningless) detail on the hours we spend having sex, sleeping, laughing, crying, exercising, working, browsing social media, browsing porn (thank you, Onepoll), shopping, ‘ogling’, ‘preening’, smoking, in meetings, commuting, sitting in traffic, doing housework, recovering from a night out, listing to music, watching tv and going to the cinema,  all of those figures are mere decoration and distraction, when the real goal is to make us consider how much time we spend looking for a parking place. Genuinely.