Tag Archives: daily express

“Your neighbours hate you and probably won’t help you!” says home insurance company

Love thy neighbour? One in five people ‘have argued with those on their street’

BRITAIN could be losing its community spirit with one in five people having been involved in a dispute with their neighbour, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 adults by Co-op Insurance revealed that almost half of problems remained unresolved after a year.

One in 10 Britons has moved house because of an issue with a neighbour, with many disputes about noise, barking dogs, parking, unruly children or messy gardens.

Source: Express, 26th October 2016

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We are more distant from our neighbours than ever before, which is a definitely-real and entirely-terrible thing… according to a home insurance company:

A survey of 2,000 adults by Co-op Insurance revealed that almost half of problems remained unresolved after a year.

What with our lack of close-knit community, who will watch our back? And who will watch our house to make sure nobody breaks in? Maybe it’s time to check your contents insurance is fully up to date…

James Hillon, of Co-op Insurance, said: “The research shows as a nation we’re at risk of losing the community spirit we once prided ourselves on.

“Communities are valuable as they allow people to interact with each other, share experiences and develop valued relationships, without communities we’re in danger of living isolated lives.

“As our lives become ever busier and we spend more time engaged with technology – TV, the internet and social media – it seems we are becoming ever more distant from our closest neighbours.

“People waste their money and are rubbish at saving!” says building society

Britons spending hundreds of pounds a year on takeaways

Households having an average of three takeaways a month

Curry-loving Britons could find themselves spending more than £300 a year enjoying their favourite takeaways, research suggests.

Source: Independent, 12th October 2015

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City News: Nationwide, Burberry, Chartered Institute

CURRY-LOVING Britons could find themselves spending about £340 a year enjoying their favourite takeaways, research suggests.

Research for Nationwide Building Society Current Accounts found that consumers enjoy an average of three takeaways a month, with people spending £9.41 each time they have a curry. The research, released to mark National Curry Week, also found that 70 per cent of men said they cannot last more than two weeks without a takeaway, compared with 42 per cent of women.

Source: Express, 12th October 2015

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Important financial news here, featuring as it does in the ‘City News’ section of the Express. Casual readers might wonder why a report on the nation’s takeaway trends warrants coverage in the financial section of national newspapers, but the source of the press release offers some insight:

Research for Nationwide Building Society Current Accounts found that consumers enjoy an average of three takeaways a month, with people spending £9.41 each time they have a curry.

So the story is little more than an advert for Nationwide Building Society’s current accounts. That doesn’t help shed much light on things, until you factor in Nationwide’s marketing around their current accounts, such as this article from July 2015:

Cook from scratch

Self-sufficiency in the kitchen means deconstructing your cooking and learning to create great dishes from scratch. How about swapping your Friday night curry from the local take-away for one put together at home by mixing your own herbs and spices; or turning mince into your own homemade burgers for the barbecue?

In fact, the story is just a way to make readers question their spending habits, and then question what decisions they could make to ensure they have a little spare cash here and there – decisions, presumably, Nationwide want to be the organisation to help them make.

“You’ll regret not travelling more while you’re young!” says young persons railcard company

A few regrets: Most of us would change our past

SIXTY per cent of us would change the way we have lived our lives, research has revealed.

Choices made in school, work and relationships are some of the many regrets people share.

Source: Daily Express, 16th September 2015

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Any regrets? Half of us want to change our lives…

A SURVEY has revealed the top 50 things people would change if they could live again include saving more, finding a better job and being nicer.

According to a new study, 60% of us would alter major decisions.

But most people have four things in their lives they wish they had done differently.

The biggest regret was not saving enough money (35%), while 31% said they wished they had made more of an effort to keep fit, according to the research.

Source: Daily Star, 15th September 2015

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We all harbour huge regrets about how our lives turned out, according to this story from dailies Express and Star, as well as in the Daily Mail, Mirror, ITV News, Blackpool Gazette and Click Liverpool.

Our biggest missed opportunities relating to such crucial things as not having saved enough money in our lives, and not having traveled enough… which is an astonishing coincidence, given that the story was commissioned by a company which looks to save you money on your travel while you’re young:

Andrew Robertson, from 16-25 Railcard which commissioned the study of 1,500 adults of all ages, said: “Many of us have things that we might do differently in our lives, whether it’s travelling and exploring more, making an effort to keep fit, or being more careful with money.”

“The findings go to show how important it is to make the most of our time and live life to the full.”

Good to see that 16-25 Railcard managed to save money on advertising by using this PR story as a glorified advert for their services. Plus, with the coverage they got in four national newspapers and a handful of other media outlets, it’s fair to say their PR is well-traveled too. I’m sure they have no regrets.

“Culture is really important!” says yoghurt company (geddit?!)

Sometimes this jaded PR commentator really does have to hand it to some PR stories – they really do come out of left-field. Take this, for instance, from the Daily Mail and Express:

Owning a library card, watching subtitled films and being skilled in the use of chopsticks are among the traits which make us cultured

Owning a library card, watching sub-titled films and being skilled in the use of chopsticks are among the traits which make us cultured, according to a new survey.

Drinking ‘proper’ coffee, knowing the difference between cuts of meat and watching the Antiques Roadshow also set you apart from your less refined friends.

However, it seems you probably don’t have many of those: seven in 10 consider themselves to be ‘cultured’, although the majority admit to not knowing exactly what the term means.

Source: Daily Mail, 18th September 2015

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Tell-take sign of a culture vulture

JUST by reading this newspaper you are showing that you are cultured, says a survey. You buy food from the “finer” store and know which wine would go best with the meal.
A study of 2,000 people found seven in 10 wish to be more “cultured” – although most admit to not knowing exactly what the term means.

Perhaps they should try reading a book before bed and be happy to watch the news rather than change channels as both are cited as signs of sophistication mentioned by respondents.

Source: Express, 18th September 2015

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Clearly, culture is vitally important, and people these days just don’t have enough culture in their lives as they should have – right? So who might be behind this story? The British Tourism Board? An opera company? An art gallery? Not quite…

A spokesman for health drink Yakult, which commissioned the research, said: “It seems that perceptions of ‘culture’ can vary, but the one thing that almost everyone has in common is a desire to experience more of it.

Being cultured can simply be a case of showing interest in the world and experiencing new things. We can all benefit.”

That’s right – a yoghurt. Because yoghurt is a culture, isn’t it? That’s literally what’s going on here. Because yohhurt is a culture, the company behind Yakult decided to start a promotion giving 2-for-1 access to cultural venues. That’s dedication to a weak pun that even I can’t overly-criticise.

“People love takeaways!” says takeaway company

Britons prefer to have a takeaway meal together over home-cooked food

MILLIONS of Britons are now more likely to sit down to a takeaway instead of a traditional home-cooked meal.

Time pressures mean almost half of people under the age of 35 would serve their families a takeaway meal for a get-together, new research revealed today.

Source: Daily Express, 7th October 2015

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People in Britain love a good takeaway, even forgoing a traditional family meal in order to tuck into their favourite food delivered fresh to their door. So with such an importance seemingly placed on this new family fave, it’s crucial that we all know where to locate the best takeaway. Fortunately, there’s a PR-commissioning-app for that:

Just under a quarter would also rather go to a restaurant than cook, according to the study by digital takeaway specialists Just Eat.

It’s little surprise that Just Eat want us to value a takeaway with our family.

“Modern lives are incredibly busy, and often both parents work long hours,” said Graham Corfield from Just Eat.

“So increasingly people are looking for ways to be more effective with their time so that they can spend as much of the day as possible with their families and doing the things they love.”

It’s somewhat fitting, I suppose, given that PR is essentially the takeaway of news: quick, hassle-free, lazy and ultimately terrible to rely on long term.

The research was commissioned to celebrate the launch of the British Takeaway Awards, which take place next month.

I guess we can look out for more takeaway PR in November, in that case.

“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

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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

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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.

“Online estate agents are great!” says online estate agent

How an online estate agent could save you a small fortune: But would you be a DIY seller to get a cheaper flat-fee?

Rocketing property prices are pushing thousands of homeowners to sell through cheap online estate agents.

Traditional High Street agents charge sellers a percentage of the sale price of their property — so the more your home is worth, the higher your fee.

And as property prices have increased, so, inevitably, have the costs.

A typical fee is around 1.5 per cent plus VAT — but can be as high as 3.5 per cent. That means on a home worth £150,000 the estate agency fee can be up to £6,300.

Source: Daily Mail, 8th September 2015

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Gone are the days of the awkward meetings in drab offices with stereotypically-slippery estate agents – instead, these days, the best property deals happen exclusively online. At least according to this glorified press release from online estate agent Purplebricks:

Britain’s largest online firm, Purplebricks, claims that 70 per cent of its business is done outside of traditional working hours through its helpline, which allows customers to book viewings or give decisions on offers.

You may have heard of Purplebricks before – they were the company behind another very important piece of research earlier in the month:

Jamie Oliver a woman’s perfect flatmate

A WOMAN’S dream flatmate is celebrity chef Jamie Oliver or Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry, a survey has revealed.

While 70 per cent of men opted to share a pad with former England football captain David Beckham, women went for a flatmate who was good in the kitchen.

Most UK women (57 per cent) wanted to share a house with Jamie Oliver, with Mary Berry coming second with 28 per cent.

Source: Express, 3rd September 2015

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“People prefer to have decking rather than lawns!” says garden furniture company

Busy Britons are ditching their lawns for patios and decking

SO much for the green, green, grass of home. . . the perfectly-manicured lawn is going out of fashion.

One in four homes no longer has grass in the garden, a survey has found.

The green oases are being replaced by low-maintenance decking or patios.

Source: Express, 2nd September 2015

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Are lawns becoming a thing of the past? Now one in four homes has no grass as decking, paving and AstroTurf take over

A freshly mown lawn was once a source of pride for millions of British homeowners.

But one in four homes now has no real grass in its garden as the UK paves over its green space, a survey has found.

As gardening falls out of favour with many Britons, households are choosing low maintenance alternatives such as paving, decking and AstroTurf – with almost three-quarters of adults saying that a lawn is a ‘burden’.

Source: Daily Mail, 3rd September 2015

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The humble lawn is on the way out, and instead we are subjected to the false prophets of decking astroturf and paving slabs – oh, how we mourn the death of the English garden. Though, of course, some companies have more incentive than others to make us love our lawns:

The poll, for garden furniture firm Alfresia.co.uk, discovered that one in 10 of us has even replaced traditional lawns with artificial grass such as AstroTurf.

Lose the lawn? Heresy! If we didn’t have a lawn, what exactly would we put in its place? Let’s ask the marketing manager of the firm who paid for this story to be in the news:

Craig Corbett, marketing manager at Alfresia.co.uk, said: “As a time-poor nation, we are constantly looking for ways to maintain our homes and outdoor space, with minimum effort and minimum cost.

“For those who don’t have the time but don’t want to miss out on the amount of wildlife a lawn will attract, it is important to feature plenty of low-maintenance varieties of hedges and potted plants as well as other natural plantation.

“They will attract birds, bees, butterflies and more.”

Ah, thank goodness we have Alfresia to tell us what things from Alfresia we should be buying to solve our lawn issues, whatever would we do without them. Well, for starters, we wouldn’t be reading PR stories they’ve placed in the news, for one. In the time I’ve been picking apart this piece of PR-puffery, I could have been tending to my fictional lawn.

“Come to our town, impregnate an attractive French girl!” says holiday board via viral marketer

Did you hear the story of the pregnant woman who fell pregnant after a one-night stand, and appealed on Youtube to track down the father? It was all over the news at the start of September:

‘I just want to see him again… if he says no then OK’; Young French tourist who posted a video looking for the Australian man she says she fell pregnant to in a one-night stand tearfully defends herself against online skeptics

The young French woman, who appealed for help online to find the man she says got her pregnant on the last night of a three month trip to Australia, has defended herself against online skeptics.

Natalie Amyot, from Paris, has returned to the Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast where she said she spent ‘a beautiful night’ with a ‘really cute’ man she fell instantly in love with.

Source: Daily Mail, 1st September 2015

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Are YOU her one-night stand? French beauty seeks Australian boy to tell him she’s PREGNANT

A STUNNING young french girl has started a viral search for a man whom she spent the night with in Australia – to tell him she’s pregnant.

Natalie Amyot, from Paris, is fast becoming a viral sensation after posting a video on Facebook about her search for a handsome young man with whom she spent the night earlier this year.

Natalie’s last night of a three month trip to Australia was spent frolicking with this mystery man, and then the pair went home together.

Source: Express, 2nd September 2015

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Just who was this girl who had an ‘amazing’ time in an ‘amazing’ place, looking for the guy she lost? Funny story…

‘Natalie Amyot’: Video of French woman appealing to find holiday romance in Australia revealed as hoax

A French woman who released a YouTube video to apparently find her Australian holiday romance after falling pregnant has confirmed it was a hoax.

The video of “Natalie Amyot” making a plea to viewers to help her find the man was met with a combination of support, derision and a hefty dose of scepticism

Source: Independent, 2nd September 2015

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As the Independent, Daily Mail, Mirror and Metro eventually concluded, rather than a true modern tale of a lady seeking out the prince charming who impregnated her on her final night of a fantastic holiday, the story is actually nothing more than a PR stunt designed to advertise holidays in the Mooloolaba area. As the culprit behind the video revealed the next day:

‘This has been a viral video for Holiday Mooloolaba. My name is Andy Sellar and I own a company called Sunny Coast social media,’ he said.

‘We do viral videos for businesses. Now I know there is going to be a lot of you that are upset by this… maybe not too happy.

‘We just wanted to put Mooloolaba on the map because it’s a wonderful place. So thank you for watching and we are going to do many, many more videos like this,’ he explained.

There’s a deeply interesting element to this story for those who follow PR, journalism and viral marketing. First, it exposes the credibility of the major news sources in the digital age, where neatly packaged stories routinely land on journalists’ laps and are passed uncritically into the news, especially where a quirky-and-slightly-sexy angle and a highly photogenic young lady are concerned. It was a perfect story for so many outlets, and as such was too good to really fact check – after all, why put in the legwork that will discover that the story is bogus, and therefore have to kill a perfectly serviceable piece of clickbait?

Secondly, of particular note is the extent of the second wave of coverage, based on the big reveal: highlighting that the story was a hoax had an even greater impact in the press, as newspapers who failed to publish the original got to gloat over their taken-in rivals, and those who did publish it get to add a coda to an quirky story and get to run the same photogenic young lady again. Newspapers like the Mail, who ran the first story with notes about skeptics who doubted the veracity – yet the paper still ran the story – added notes into the follow up to suggest they’d been the ones to break the big reveal:

A former friend of the fictional Ms Amyot confirmed to Daily Mail Australia she was in fact Alizee Michel who is believed to have studied marketing and tourism.

Jordan Foster said Ms Michel had attended the University of the Sunshine Coast – north of Brisbane – for ‘a few years’.

Which would have been a great angle, had the story not also included the video produced by Andy Sellars coming clean – something the Mail certainly did not dig up.

Finally, there’s the note from Andy about his future plans:

So thank you for watching and we are going to do many, many more videos like this,’ he explained.

Given that we can show that fooling the papers is easy when they are very willing to be fooled, and that revealing your hoax gains you a second and even greater wave of publicity, I can certainly see why Andy might be looking to score the next viral hit.

It would be easy to mistake the analysis by this blog as humourless, po-faced parade-pissing around issues that are often just a harmless bit of fun, and to an extent there are elements of the criticism that ring true. However, it’s undeniable that the newspapers are not so hard to fool, and that’s an incentive to other PR agencies to produce more falsehood-laden PR fodder, to create more spurious studies and nonsensical formulae, and to continue using the mainstream news as their own private advertising channel, at the extent of the newspaper’s reputation and the trust of its readership. It’s hard to celebrate that as a particularly good thing.

“Houses are really quite expensive, you’ll need some savings!” says mortgage lender

Desperate parents are paying an extra £32k for homes near to top schools

DESPERATE parents are paying an average of £32,127 extra to live in the catchment areas of top-performing schools.

A survey concludes 1.8m households have paid over the odds for their property just to secure a good place.

And 31 per cent of the 4,570 people questioned have gone so far as to change jobs to give their children a helping hand.

Source: Express, 1st September, 2015

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Number of parents moving to their desired school catchment area is increasing, according to Santander research

The extent to which parents are resorting to to live within their desired school catchment area has been revealed in new research from Santander Mortgages as competition for places at the UK’s best schools continues to increase.

The bank surveyed just over 4,500 people to find families are prepared to spend over £32,000 to be near their most sought after school – significantly more than the average full-time UK salary of £27,195.

Source: Independent, 2nd September 2015

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School places desperation revealed: Millions of parents relocate their families at a cost of £32,000 and even change jobs to secure their child a better education

Millions of parents have moved house and even changed jobs to be within their desired school catchment area, research shows.

One in four parents has relocated their family so their children qualify for a place at a good school.

But a survey found almost half of all families who move to be within a catchment area will leave as soon as they have secured places for all of their children.

Less than a quarter said they planned to live in the area they had moved to for their children long-term.

Source: Daily Mail, 2nd September 2015

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Having kids is hugely expensive (I’m told), and buying a house is hugely expensive (I know) – so it stands to reason that buying a house as a parent comes with particularly expensive demands. Still, an extra £32,000 on average? That’s no small amount. What civic-minded institution can we thank for paying for this ‘research’ to appear in the media?

The study by lender Santander says a quarter were forced to downsize to a less attractive home while 31 per cent moved to an area they did not like.

The angle is clear: convince parents that they ought to be aiming high to keep up with the Jones’, and then be the ones to hold their hand when they over-stretch on the mortgage. Fortunately, that’s the kind of dependable and risk-free system sound economic models are based on, with no history of ever having gone wrong in the past…

Santander’s Miguel Sard said: “Being within a certain school catchment area can often come at a cost.

It’s important that parents don’t stretch themselves beyond their means.”

Wise words, Mr Sard, but we’d be more inclined to take them at face value in something other than a glorified advert for your services.