Tag Archives: 10 yetis

“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 www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk 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.

“Your partner is probably lying about an STI!” says online pharmacy

Would YOU admit to having an STI? A third of Brits wouldn’t… or use a condom

OVER three quarters of Brits have admitted they wouldn’t confess to having a sexual transmitted disease, a new survey has revealed.

Seventy six per cent of 18-45-year-olds surveyed in by research company MedExpress revealed they wouldn’t confess to having an STI.

The research – which involved talking to 2,521 British adults – is shocking, to say the least.

Source: Express, 7th October 2015


Would YOU tell your partner if you had an STD? 67% of people would lie about it, and 8% would go on to have unprotected sex

Whether it’s a case of chlamydia or an instance of genital warts, most people would keep their STI a secret, a new survey reveals.

The majority of people (67 per cent) would lie to their partner about having an STI, the poll found.

When asked why, 92 per cent said they wouldn’t want to put the other person off sleeping with them.

Shockingly, 10 per cent said they would use a condom for penetrative sex but not for oral sex even if they had an STI.

And eight per cent admitted they would still have sex without a condom.

Source: Daily Mail, 8th October 2015


We are, alas, a nation of lying philanderers, putting our sexual health and that of our partner at risk because of our insatiable lust for sex with strangers. Or so says this survey, commissioned to promote an online pharmacy:

Michael Ross, spokesperson for online pharmacy Medexpress.co.uk, which carried out the survey said: ‘It is also shocking to see how many people would actually lie if they had an STI.

‘Sexually transmitted infections should be taken seriously and willingly lying and then sleeping with someone, especially if you aren’t willing to wear protection, is outright nasty.

‘We urge people to be honest with anyone they plan to be sleeping with; this will help prevent the unnecessary spreading of sexually transmitted diseases.’

While the tone of the message from the Medexpress spokesperson is admirable*, it’s fair to say the stats behind the story become somewhat more questionable when viewed in the light of a PR survey aimed squarely at getting a company name into the newspapers. In fact, here’s the view on the coverage from the PR company involved, 10 Yetis:

MedExpress, our online doctor and pharmacy client, recently undertook a study looking into the sexual behaviours and attitudes of Britons between 18 and 45 years old.

The results of the study brought to lie some absolute shockers (or not, if you’re more the wild kind), such as;

– 76% wouldn’t admit to having an STI
– A further 8% wouldn’t use extra protection if they found out they had an STI
– 32% lie about the number of people they’ve slept with

There were far more shockers in the release that went out, including how many people it’s acceptable to admit to sleeping with to a potential partner (seriously, go check it out)…

In the meantime though, we wanted to show off some of the great coverage we’ve had through off the back of pushing this release out…

Good to see a PR company happy to throw people with STIs under the bus in order to promote their client. And people wonder why I call for more ethical PR practices.

*UPDATE: I spoke to Dr Petra Boynton, a social psychologist specialising in sex and relationships research. She explained to me the potential harm of PR stories like this:

I don’t think calling people ‘nasty’ for not disclosing if they have an STI is okay. Many people don’t know they have infections, or may not realise until after they’ve had sex with others. It’s very rare people really do know and deliberately infect other people (and that’s a whole, complex situation in itself). This kind of shaming is what puts people off going to clinics for help as they fear that’s how healthcare staff will relate to them.

The overall tone also is hugely stigmatising around STIs and maintains the whole idea they’re shameful and embarrassing – so much so that people lie about it and what bastards they are for doing so.

“Spending time with the family at Christmas can be a nightmare!” says attention-hungry voucher website

“Spending time with the family at Christmas can be a nightmare!” says attention-hungry voucher website

“Men are fickle and lazy!” says voucher company looking to make headlines

“Men are fickle and lazy!” says voucher company looking to make headlines

An irritating story of gender stereotyping, now, with the supposed discover of what makes a perfect partner – for women, trust is key; for men, it’s appearances. While this belies only a light smattering of annoying gender generalisations, we’re really only scratching the surface. What else is important to men and to women?

Women also cite ‘romantic’ and ‘career driven’ as positive traits when it comes to choosing the perfect husband.

Very mature and grown-up there, girls.

Men, on the other hand, say willingness to look after them and allowing them to watch sports are more important.

Ah, because men are infantile and need to be looked after, right?

Women look for a much deeper connection from their partner than men do.

Gotcha – because women are mature, grown-up and responsible.

Realistically, men seem to want someone who is sexually compatible, but who will also wait on them hand and foot like their mothers would.

Again, men are children who only really look for a version of their mother they can fuck, right?

It’s also no surprise that the majority of men chose a higher age bracket to get married than women, as it has been proven that women are more advanced with maturity, whilst men don’t quite know how to act their age.

I would love to see precisely where it has been ‘proven’ that women are more ‘advanced with maturity’ than men (whatever that means). Equally, the notion that men don’t know how to act their age is generic stereotypical nonsense – for one, if all men don’t act their age, then however all men who are a certain age act must be how men of that age act. Even logically, this whole angle falls apart.

Still, it achieved a few headlines, as lazy gender stereotyping so often does – hang what message you’re propagating about women and about men, so long as it gets your voucher website mentioned in the press:

A spokesman for VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, who carried out the survey, said: ‘It’s no surprise that the perceptions of what makes a partner marriage material between men and women is vastly different.

Voucher Codes Pro, it’s worth noting, employ the PR company 10 Yetis… the same PR team who recently brought you Britain’s Horniest Students.

You see, what a client looks for in a PR relationship is a PR company who can nurture and support them through reliable and effective, attention-grabbing PR.

Whereas what PR company wants from a client relationship is a client who will pay the bills on time and not worry about the low standard of bullshit the PR company churns out to make it into the news.

If this sounds overly negative and simplistic, 10 Yetis / Voucher Codes Pro, perhaps you now see my point.

Anatomy of a Bad PR story, @UberFacts and zombie statistics

When I lecture on PR in the media (which I do from time to time – get in touch if your institution or group is interested), I often stress the point that while an original PR story making the news is one thing, the impact of a nonsense article goes far beyond that, and can appear in all manner of places, even years after the original article is published.

Take, for example, the statistic I happened to notice on Twitter, tweeted by the nonsense-spewing @UberFacts account:

A survey found one in five women have ended a relationship because their significant other was too busy playing video games.


This was retweeted (at the time of writing this) by over 1,300 people, and favourited by a further (or possibly overlapping) 450 people – not an insignificant audience. As I’ve spent much of the day researching stories, I thought I’d actually find the survey in question – which was unsurprisingly easy, after all I have access to the same tools (Google) as UberFact, and the statistic has to have come from somewhere:

Poll: 20 per cent of women dumped ex-partners over gaming habits

Call of Duty named game most likely to cause a row

One in five women have dumped their partner because of their web or gaming habits, says MyVoucherCodes.

Research by the UK online discount site revealed that 80 per cent of women claim their other half spends too much time playing computer games or browsing the web.

Furthermore, 70 per cent said the gaming addiction was the cause of arguments between the couple.

MyVoucherCodes said Call of Duty was rated the game most likely to start a row between a couple.

Source: PC World Australia, 20 January 2012


In fact, then, the statistic quoted by UberFact in December 2012 was from a PR poll commissioned by an online voucher company in January 2010, released to piggyback on the popularity of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (released in November 2009).

What’s more, MyVoucherCodes is a company I’ve seen put out dodgy PR surveys in the past, and a few moments on Google found further criticism of their PR work, including this:


The next simple step was to search for ‘MyVoucherCodes’ and ‘PR’ on Google – giving me very clearly the name of the PR company responsible for their barrage of dodgy survey stories: 10 Yetis.


Once more, 10 Yetis were a familiar name – they’re a PR company, but not a polling company, so they must have hired a market research company to conduct their research. It would have to be a market research company comfortable churning out quick turnaround, high-volume, low-quality surveys… which brings us once more back to the ubiquitous rulers of the Bad PR seas: 72 Point’s polling company OnePoll

So there we have it – from spotting the ‘fact’ put out by Uberfacts to tracking it back to the client, PR company and polling company took, in total, 11 minutes.


What’s particularly infuriating in all this, of course, is that the tweet from UberFacts made no mention of the compromised source of the data, or that this was commercial PR rather than legitimate research. This, I fear, is the biggest danger of Bad PR: today’s commercial story becomes tomorrow’s watercooler fact becomes nexy year’s truism becomes received wisdom.

Companies like 10Yetis, 72 Point and MyVoucherCodes don’t care that the stories they’re creating aren’t true – their only concern is to get a name and an angle mentioned in the media, at the time of publishing. They certainly don’t care that a statistic generated from dodgy data for an advert today can rear its head years from now, free from the trappings of context and the necessary clues to be able to establish the data’s origin. This is misinformation, zombie statistics at their most frustrating.