Tag Archives: asda

“British people are literally cooking themselves!” says supermarket, weirdly

Inexplicable oil news now, with the apparent revelation that British people are frying themselves en masse in order to look tanned:

Fifth of Britons using cooking oil dangerously to achieve perfect sun tan, Asda warns

The 1970s trend of using of cooking oil as sunscreen is making a modern day comeback, according to a new survey.

More than a fifth of Britons are now turning to their kitchen cupboards in a misguided attempt to get the perfect summer tan.

Source: Telegraph, 22nd June 2019

This one, I have to admit, is a bit of a head-scratcher. From the accompanying photo and much of the copy, it’s obvious that this is a story placed by supermarket chain Asda:

A poll commissioned by Asda has found that a fifth of Britons use cooking oil instead of sun cream in a misguided attempt to tan faster. 

An obvious question is: could this possibly be true? Could one in every five people in the UK really be smothering themselves in cooking oil before they go out in the sun? The best way to answer that question is with some simple maths:

  • Population of the UK: 66.87 million
  • 22% of 69 million = 14.7 million

Is it remotely plausible that there are 14.7 million people in the UK who genuinely use cooking oil instead of suncream? Your humble Bad PR blogger would suggest not, and would posit instead that this is the outcome of a dodgy PR survey based on tainted methodology designed to conjure up headline-grabbing pseudo-findings.

But the bigger question is: why? Why would Asda want to spread this obvious untruth, what possible commercial aim could this align with?

As best as I can tell, this story was an attention-grabber so as to be able to tell the world that Asda’s range of suntan sprays are now in sustainable plastic bottles – indeed, that’s the main thrust of the company’s social media post and associated press release:

Kudos on the environmental sustainability, but zero marks on the statistical integrity, Asda.

“Time to start planning your Christmas dinner!” says supermarket chain

Favourite Christmas food REVEALED – and it is NOT the turkey

FORGET the reindeer, the mistletoe and even the tree – Christmas just would not be Christmas without ROAST POTATOES.

The humble roast potato beat turkey, stuffing and Christmas pudding as the most popular food on December 25.

Carrots took the second spot ahead of turkey, gravy, stuffing, ‘pigs in blankets’, parsnips, sprouts, Christmas pud and Yorkshire pudding.

Source: Daily Star, 10th November 2016


UK’s favourite food to eat on Christmas Day revealed

What is the most popular food for a festive dinner?

Britain’s favourite Christmas dinner ingredient has been revealed – and it’s not the turkey.

When it comes to the festive meal, most families opt for turkey with all the trimmings, followed by a mountain of Christmas pud and a good old family row.

Source: Independent, 10th November 2016


Christmas is approaching fast, which means the joy of a big Christmas roast – the greatest of all meals in the calendar, and the highlight of the festive period for so many. So it’s little wonder that the Independent dedicated a whole article to the subject of the best food for Christmas dinner, and even less of a wonder that the article was a press release for a supermarket chain:

But, according to a survey of 2,000 Asda customers, the festive bird doesn’t take the top spot.

The survey, which marks the launch of Asda’s Christmas TV advert this week, also highlighted the 10 days of Christmas, and pointing out that December 5 is the day most of us put up our tree, decorations and watch our very first Christmas-themed movie.

It’s bad enough that the PR and advertising industry has insisted the John Lewis Christmas advert is a ‘thing’ so often that it’s started to catch on, but now we have other big companies trying to jump on the brandwagon. Ho ho ho.

“Women should throw out their old clothes!” says clothes retailer

Half of women can’t throw away clothes that don’t fit – because they hope to lose weight so they can wear the items again

Almost half of women can’t bring themselves to throw away clothes that are too small for them, according to new research.

The study suggests the phrase ‘I have nothing to wear’ really does ring true for almost one in four British women.

Source: Daily Mail, 14th September 2015


Women are terrible hoarders of clothes, even when they know they’ll never be able to wear those clothes again they insist on clogging up their wardrobe with old items. If only they could bite the bullet, embrace their expanding waistlines, throw out all of the old clothes and… presumably go shopping to replenish their collection:

The wardrobe survey of 1,000 women for George at Asda revealed more than half spend up to £360 a year on new clothes.

With women holding on to their clothes despite their increasing girth, according to George at Asda at least, they need all the help they can get in bringing their unruly wardrobe back under control. Fortunately, that’s where George at Asda come in:

A spokeswoman for George said: ‘What this research has revealed is that clothing bought in smaller sizes accounts for a huge percentage of unworn purchases, so it really is important to buy and dress for your size and shape and feel confident in everything you wear.

‘At George, we aim to give our customers ‘smart solutions’ to their wardrobe dilemmas, whether this is a dress to streamline your silhouette, jeans that banish ‘muffin tops’ or beautiful basics that are practical for busy lives.’

How generous of Asda to commission this research purely to offer women help…

“Aren’t burgers scientifically great?” says supermarket chain’s burger promotion


The news was ablaze last week with talk of the scientifically-perfect burger, although what else can you expect on ‘National Burger Day’?

How to make the perfect burger: Oxford food scientist claims to have answer

Oxford University chef says perfect burger is 7cm tall, should be eaten to music, given a name and should feel as good as it tastes.

A leading food scientist claims to have created the perfect burger – and says that its smell and feel are more important than the taste.

The best burgers are 7cm tall, 5cm wide and boast nine layers, according to Oxford University chef and food perception expert Charles Michel.

Source: Telegraph, 26th August 2015


A 7cm wide patty, crunchy lettuce and a warm bun… eaten with your hands: Chef reveals formula for the perfect burger (and how it SOUNDS is as important as the taste)

Making a delicious burger may seem as simple as whacking a beef patty between two sesame seed buns and finishing adding a slice of iceberg lettuce – but scientists are now begging to disagree.

According to new research commissioned by Asda, a great hamburger should stimulate all the senses including sound and feel.

Chef and flavour researcher, Charles Michel, said that the sensation of the burger in our hands and the crunch of the lettuce all add to the overall experience.

Source: Daily Mail, 26th August 2015


National Burger Day 2015: What does your perfect burger look like?

In a now annual tradition, today we gather together, slap meat into a sliced piece of bread, and stick it in our mouths. Here are the burgers we dreamt of waking up to, on National Burger Day morning — and our pick of our favourite real ones.

Source: Independent, 27th August 2015


This is how to make the ‘perfect’ burger for National Burger Day

It’s National Burger Day tomorrow and we’re already salivating in anticipation of perhaps the greatest food day of the year.

But where to go for the perfect burger?

According to chef Charles Michel, your best bet is to stay at home – and cook up his ‘perfect’ burger.

Michel is the chef in residence at Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, where they analyse how our senses work.

He has conducted some Very Important research in labs for Asda to prove scientifically what makes the perfect burger, from the individual ingredients to the entire eating experience.

Source: Metro, 26th August 2015


Who’d have thought there was a scientist out there independently undertaking such important research as figuring out what the perfect burger consists of? And at Oxford University, no less! What a time to be alive… except, of course, that this was not legitimate research, and was by no means independently-derived:

Mr Michel’s work was commissioned by supermarket Asda to celebrate National Burger Day on Thursday.

No, indeed, this was merely a case of Charles Michel being employed to lend his name to a promotion by a supermarket chain. We can even see the full press release on the Asda website, including the infographic featured in the Telegraph and Daily Mail.


In case you’re wondering what Asda’s angle is in this, the obligatory spokesperson quote makes everything clear:

Asda’s beef buyer Neil Moorcroft said: “Burgers have come a long way from a humble beef patty in a bun to a great British favourite and gastronomic dish.

“Wagyu burgers are full of flavour, texture and have a decent amount of fat to carry burger smells to our nostrils. It’s important to us to support food innovation and offer customers something new.

“We want people to listen to the sounds and appreciate all of their senses when biting into their perfect burgers this National Burger Day.”

As for the scientist, I’m not sure Oxford University would relish their name being bandied around quite so cheaply. Yes, relish.

“You should start buying food for Christmas!” says supermarket chain

Christmas is coming, and with it the mandatory need to prepare for that all-important Christmas meal. It may only take nine minutes to eat, but it takes nine months to prepare!

Of course, the average shopper doesn’t need to plan nine months in advance – nine weeks is more than enough preparation time, according to the supermarket behind this pseudoresearch:

Research from Asda reveals that the average shopper will do their Christmas food shop across nine weeks, with their first purchase, usually cranberry sauce, mince pies or Christmas pudding, taking place in October.

Nine months, nine weeks or nine minutes – it doesn’t really matter. All that really matters to Asda is that you spend that time with Asda produce.

“Lots of companies use Christmas as an excuse for publicity!” says everyone, in the Daily Star

Christmas is a great excuse to get coverage for your company – a point which was unintentionally made astoundingly clear in the Daily Star last week, in a story with perhaps the most PR-per-inch of any I’ve ever seen.

“Time to start slimming for that Christmas party dress, ladies!” says clothing retailer

“Time to start buying food for Christmas!” says supermarket chain

Who is behind this drive to encourage all seasonal shoppers to get the Yuletide retail gravy-train in motion early?

Hayley Bolton, a spokesperson for Asda, said: ‘Starting the Christmas shopping early is a great way for busy mums to “tick” an extra to-do off the festive list.

‘Whether it’s using the most convenient shopping methods or managing the budget well in advance of the big day itself, we’ve seen our shoppers get savvy when it comes to buying gifts.

‘We are expecting to see sales of presents start to increase over the weekend as the Christmas shopping season gets truly underway.’

So, a supermarket says it’s time you started buying lots of things from the supermarket.

“People aren’t adventurous enough with wine!” says supermarket expanding its wine stocks

Do you know your wine? Chances are, you don’t know a merlot from a… a… another type of wine. Ahem. 

4,000 grapes to choose from… but we stick to four wines because we don’t know what else to choose

If the choice of wines in the supermarket leaves you feeling a little overwhelmed, you’re not alone.

According to new research, almost half of us stick to a repertoire of just four favourite wines because we don’t know what else to choose.

Even though there are more than 4,000 distinct grape varieties, research by Asda revealed that 46 per cent of us won’t try new wines for fear of wasting money on something we might not like.

A quarter said they are too scared to experiment for fear of embarrassment.

Source: Daily Mail, 25 January 2013


It seems the real issue here is that wines often have descriptions which are hard to understand, and the labels are so incomprehensible that the everyday shopper is left baffled, bewildered and discouraged from experimenting.

Fortunately, for the worried wino, help is at hand:

The research has led Asda to launch a new range of own-label wines, the Wine Selection, all featuring easy-to-understand tasting descriptions and clear labelling to encourage shoppers to experiment.

In fact, to coincide with the research they paid for which said people need to drink a wider selection of wine, ASDA have launched their own wider selection of wine, as their website merrily explains.


If only PR came with clear labelling…

“There’s an ideal way to make pancakes!” says frying pan retailer

You know those boffins? You know the ones, those zany, crazy nerdo-types who have this bafflingly-square obsession with boiling down the world into mathematical formulae and scientific squiggles? Those ones that absolutely definitely exist and aren’t just a marketing construct from a PR industry hell-bent on conferring a forced legitimacy onto the worthless and vacuous façades they manage to hide their adverts behind?

You know those ones? Them? Well, they struck again on Pancake Tuesday:

Flipping clever! Formula for the perfect pancake revealed by maths boffins (but we’ll still end up with ours stuck to the ceiling)

If you are one of the thousands of Britons planning to flip a pancake or two on Shrove Day tomorrow then your work just got made a whole lot easier.. or harder, depending on your grasp of science.

The formula for the perfect pancake mix has been revealed as 100 – [10L – 7F + C(k – C) + T(m – T)]/(S – E), and was developed by mathematicians at the University of Wolverhampton.

Source: Daily Mail, 11 February 2013


Well, University of Wolverhampton, I’m glad you decided to spontaneously study what it would take to come up with the perfect pancake, and I’m glad the answer was such a simple and common-sensival – yet scientific-looking – formula. 

Retailer Debenhams unveiled the mathematical formula for the perfect pancake – claiming in the process to be able to eliminate sub-standard crepes across kitchens forever.

…or not. In fact, this was a simple press release from a department store, timed to make headlines around pancake day.

Even more revealing is the fact that this isn’t even a new piece of formulaic nonsense, with both the Telegraph and the Daily Mail running the exact same formula back on Shrove Tuesday 2009:

Formula for perfect pancake unveiled by scientists

Dr Ruth Fairclough, a mathematics professor, has cooked up a complicated formula for the perfect pancake – just in time for Shrove Tuesday.

Dr Fairclough, a lecturer of mathematics and statistics at Wolverhampton University, has plotted the pancake’s creation down to the last detail.

She says the frying pan’s temperature is one of the most important parts, together with the preparation of the tasty batter.

However, the secret recipe in full is: 100 – [10L – 7F + C(k – C) + T(m – T)]/(S – E) with the closer you get to a 100 – the better the pancake.

Source: Daily Telegraph, 24 February 2009


At the time, this important piece of cutting-edge research was released on behalf of supermarket chain ASDA:

Meanwhile Asda has seen a 13 fold increase in the number Non Stick Aluminium Frying Pan – perfect for Pancake Day.

While the formula may be relatively legitimate, it’s also almost certainly woefully simplistic and derived not so much on lengthy research, but more likely derived from their being a space in the press release that ASDA pimped around universities looking for someone willing to insert some scientific-looking numbers and letters. 

So, four years later, why would Debenham’s pretend they’d just found a formula for the perfect pancake?

Lizzie Singleton (Spokesperson for Debenham’s): ‘Coupled with the right frying pan, following this formula will result in perfect pancakes all round!’

‘Simplifying the science behind this formula, our customers can have perfect pancakes tonight.

‘The golden rules seem to be to have a good pan at 377 degrees, have zero lumps in the mixture, and leave the batter to stand for 30 minutes before cooking, making sure the pancakes are eaten straight away – that seems simple enough.

Or to put it another way, as taken from the press release:

The Jamie Oliver Tefal pancake pan is available exclusively at Debenhams in all stores nationwide and online at Debenhams.com priced at £30.

Do you like pancakes? Then Debenham’s say they can sell you the pan to make the perfect pancake! It’s enough to make you flip…