Tag Archives: daily express

“Older things are very relevant!” says car firm selling old car model

Why we’re likely to seek adventure after reaching 50

FAR from feeling past it, the over- 50s are much more likely to try out online dating, go to Glastonbury or get their first tattoo.

An overwhelming sense to “live for today” first kicks in at age 24 – but hits again 30 years later with older Britons experiencing a “second wind” of life at age 54, according to a study of 2,000.

Far from showing signs of slowing down those interviewed confessed they are up for trying new experiences like hitting a karaoke bar or even swimming with sharks.

Source: Express, 31st August 2015

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So life really does begin at 50, then? Well, perhaps – or perhaps it’s more the case that people don’t become commercially written-off at the age of 50 any more, as businesses seek the disposable income of the end of the baby boomer generation. Specifically, in this case, a car manufacturer:

The poll was commissioned by Vauxhall Motors to launch the new Viva, the first version of which rolled off the production line over 50 years ago.

Not the most tenuous link we’ve seen exploited for PR purposes, but impressive nonetheless. Though I’m not sure I’m convinced by the marketing slogan they came up with:

Vauxhall’s Denis Chick said, “There is a general belief that being impulsive is for the young. “But our research shows a growing trend for those in their fifties, sixties and beyond becoming more adventurous than they were in their twenties.

“We’re seeing people adopt what we’re calling a This Gran Can attitude in later life, challenging the stereotypes of the older generation and having a lot more freedom than those who were this age in the Fifties and Sixties.”

“This Gran Can”? Way to turn a previously-empowering-and-successful slogan into something utterly annoying, Vauxhall. As for what ‘The Gran Can’ do, and what it has to do with Vauxhall? See what came in second on Vauxhall’s press release list of wild, adventurous things 50 year olds can do:

Dipping into ‘life savings for treats’

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Presumably treats like new cars – even something as wild, adventurous and exciting as… a Vauxhall Viva.

“People believe healthcare should be privatised!” says private healthcare firm

Do YOU know how much surgery on the NHS costs? You might be surprised…

DO you know how much procedures on the NHS really cost? New research suggests the British public is grossly ignorant about the real price of medical care.

The National Health Report 2015 was launched today and figure show we haven’t got a clue about how much procedures are really costing the NHS.

The report, compiled by mutual health and wellbeing provider Benenden, questioned 4,000 people across the UK asking them to put a cost to some common procedures and treatments.

Source: Express, 21st August 2015

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Smokers and alcohol abusers should PAY for NHS treatment says new study

Most Britons believe treatment should not be free if damage has been self-inflicted

Almost nine in ten of us believe alcohol abusers should pay for their own treatment and not get it free on the NHS, a comprehensive new study reveals.

Last year more than 1.4 million people used NHS drug and alcohol services – including rehabilitation – at a total cost of £136 million.

Source: Mirror, 21st August 2015

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Smokers and heavy drinkers should pay for treatment of ‘self-inflicted’ illnesses rather than expect NHS to foot the bill

The vast majority of people believe alcohol abusers should pay for their own treatment rather than get it free on the NHS, a survey has found.

More than half said the NHS should not fund treatment if the illness was a consequence of smoking and patients should be forced to pay for it themselves.

The report questioned 4,000 UK adults about the cost of common procedures in the UK and whether it should be publicly funded.

Source: Daily Mail, 21st August 2015

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Not everyone in the country believes they should be responsible for jointly funding the healthcare of the nation – and at a time where the government increasingly looks to hand over parts of the NHS to private healthcare firms, articles like this can form a part of the justification for privatisation. Not only do stories like this serve as ‘proof’ of the current feeling of the public, but they also help to set the agenda and lead public opinion… which is why the source of this story is, as ever, absolutely key:

But the study, carried out by the Benenden National Health Report 2015, revealed how people were willing to con medical officials so they could have treatment paid for by the public purse.

Benenden are a private health firm, which makes their ‘discovery’ that people prefer to pay directly for health services they themselves need far from surprising. In that context, calling their PR survey the ‘National Health Report’ seems incredibly dicey – it’s not hard to see how some unsuspecting readers might assume this has something to do with the NHS, rather than with a private healthcare firm.

The obligatory spokesperson quote is just as interesting:

Medical Director of Benenden, Dr John Giles, said: ‘I suspect most people view diseases caused by excessive drinking and smoking as being self-inflicted and therefore potentially avoidable.

‘They probably feel that they should not have to pay the price for the consequences of the poor choices of others.

‘It comes as no surprise that the public has a staggering and destructive ignorance regarding the cost of treatments on the NHS.

‘As a nation we have lost touch with the role we should play in our own health and wellbeing, expecting the NHS to pick up the pieces.

‘If the public was more aware of the cost of appointments, treatments, operations and prescriptions, and really took responsibility for their own health, using the NHS only when absolutely necessary, the crisis the service finds itself in today would be significantly lessened.’

It’s uncontroversial to suggest that we ought to take care of ourselves and take responsibility for our own health. However, what Benenden are doing with this story and with this quote is to shift responsibility for the wellbeing of the NHS away from the politicians who continue to freeze funding, and onto the patients – and, specifically, onto certain groups of patients. This kind of thinking is the wedge that opens the door for separating oneself from these ‘problematic patient groups’, and into privatised medicine.

As far as this blogger can see, this is not a story about a report on the health of the NHS and the cost of treatments, but a cynical piece of privitisation propaganda PR. This is where the effect of Bad PR can be at its worst, influencing public perception and potential policy decisions.

“Nostalgia really is very fun, you know!” says scientist on behalf of tourist board

Remember that old game you used to play with sticks, bridges and rivers? The media had a lot to say about it recently:

Poohsticks formula prompts list of best places to play

A top engineer has devised a formula to aid budding players of Poohsticks – the game first devised by Winnie the Pooh.

The formula uses area, density and a drag coefficient to help competitors find the perfect twig.

It was written by Dr Rhys Morgan, from the Royal Academy of Engineering, and is to accompany a new book called Poohstickopedia.

Source: BBC, 26th August 2015

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Perfect formula for Pooh sticks

A TOP engineer has finally solved the problem of the perfect wood to play Pooh sticks.

The classic game originates from AA Milne’s children’s stories about Winnie the Pooh.

Players drop sticks from the upstream side of a bridge into the river below and see which appears first on the downstream side.

Now Dr Rhys Morgan, of the Royal Academy of Engineering, has devised a formula for the ideal stick to make players more competitive.

Source: Express, 25th August, 2015

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The poohsticks formula that ensures you winnie! Engineer says the perfect stick for the game is thick, dense and as rough as possible

For a Bear of Very Little Brain it may be a little too complicated.

But if Winnie the Pooh were able to get his head round a leading engineer’s work he would find an apparently surefire way of winning at his beloved poohsticks.

Dr Rhys Morgan claims to have found the formula for a perfect stick – which he says should be as thick, dense and rough as possible.

Source: Daily Mail, 26th August, 2015

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A formula for the perfect game of Poohsticks, you say? Sounds legit, Precisely what is this formula?

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So the perfect poohstick is one where the density (in an unspecified unit – kg/mperhaps?), multiplied by the cross-sectional area (in cm2  perhaps?), multiplied by the drag coefficient (in whatever unit that might be measured in).

Which seems odd, as one would have assumed that the lower the drag-coefficient, the faster it would travel in the water, and thus the sooner it would pass the bridge… but an optimally-lower drag coefficient would play havoc with the entire equation. Speaking of which, isn’t it unusual that these three supposedly-crucial parameters (given that no other parameter seems to matter) all have exactly equal importance, unless you get your units mixed up? 

It’s as if this isn’t a real scientific formula at all, but something cooked up as a piece of meaningless PR simply to get the body behind it into the news:

Visit England then compiled a list of the top places around the country to play the classic pastime.

Rebecca Lowe, of VisitEngland, said: “It remains a great way for families to spend time together and enjoy England’s great outdoors – just like Pooh.”

In fact, it’s nothing more than a nostalgia-exploiting attempt by a tourist body to remind us all of the joys of the great British countryside and the rich literary heritage we all share, via the abuse of scientific legitimacy and the minor degradation of the public’s opinion of what it means to be a scientist for a living.

If that weren’t enough, this story took a new twist a few days later, when another body attempted to use the story to secure themselves some positive PR, in a move which backfired terribly:

Don’t lean over, and make sure the bridge is structurally sound: Nanny state spoilsports set out ‘rules’ for a safe game of Poohsticks

Government officials have been branded ‘nanny state spoilsports’ after tweeting out a set of rules for a safe game of Poohsticks – only to delete it minutes later.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport posted the advice this afternoon but quickly removed it. A follow-up tweet claimed it had been posted in error.

It read: ‘When playing #Poohsticks check bridge sidebarriers are safe height with no large gaps and structurally sound bridges with slow-flowing water.’

Source: Daily Mail, 28th August 2015

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The Department of Culture, Media and Sport really put their foot in it with their nanny-state interference, right?

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Either that, or they lightheartedly decided to jump on the bandwagon of a national puff-piece story during silly-season, and were shamed into retracting things. No, it has to be the first of those, because the government is an interfering nanny-state, isn’t it? At least, that’s the angle of the Daily Mail piece, complete with outraged quote:

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said the tweets were evidence of the overbearing insistence on over-the-top health and safety measures by the government.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance – the reliable rent-a-gob for all of your small-state needs. On the plus side, at least VisitEngland’s story got twice as much coverage as they’d planned.

So, to recap: a tourism board hires a scientist to create a dodgy faux-formula to invoke some nostalia-bait headlines, the media run with it, a government body decides to bandwagon onto the fun and then an anti-government body decides to bandwagon onto the government’s bandwagoning.

And to think that people are nostalgic for when the media covered real news.

“Driving can give you a sore neck!” says chiropractors: experts in giving sore necks

Proof that traffic jams really can be a pain in the neck

BEING stuck in traffic can really be a pain in the neck, according to research.

Neck and back pain cases have risen by almost 10 per cent in the past year and one in seven Britons says commuting triggered it, a study found.

Driving was the most common commute among 47 per cent of more than 2,000 adults asked.

One in seven said they spent up to an hour behind the wheel and close to half also spend “most of their working day sitting”.

Source: Express, 1st September 2015

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Neck and back pain is on the rise, and it’s all the fault of the many hours we spend driving, apparently… according to ‘researchers’ quoted in the Express. Just who are these fine, health-conscious researchers?

The British Chiropractic Association, which carried out the research, said we are in the midst of a “sitting epidemic” damaging health.

Ah, the British Chiropractic Association – the body representing people who believe that the spine has an innate energy which, if blocked, causes all disease, and that clearing those ‘subluxations’ (blockages) can treat anything from colic to deafness. Those are not quite who most people would have in mind when they think of experts in posture and health.

Yet, this story is derived from a press release put out by that very same august body.

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No wonder even the Express didn’t feel the need to add a by-line and pretend it was written by one of their own.

The Association recommends professional help for pain lasting a few days which could become long-term.

Chiropractor Rishi Loatey said: “It’s important that we think about what could be causing strain.”

I agree with the BCA – people who are finding they have pain lasting a few days ought to perhaps seek professional help… which ought to preclude their visiting any purveyors of quack medicine like chiropractic, for starters.

“Kids need to know more about natural foods!” says natural food company

We’ve seen before, the ignorance of children is always a reliable hook for a Bad PR story, and last week was no difference, with one particular tale getting coverage in the Metro, the Express and twice in the Mirror:

Shocking figures reveal one in ten children don’t know APPLES grow on trees

WOULD you believe one in ten children don’t know apples grow on trees? It’s a scary reality.

New research released today has revealed far too many children aren’t aware of the origin of fruit and vegetables grown in England.

Source: Express, 19th August 2015

Fears for children’s food knowledge with one in 10 thinking bananas are made in factories

Kids also told the survey honey came from cows and chocolate bars grew on trees – and worryingly, some of the grown-ups were just as bad

Almost half of children who took part in a food poll failed to identify how 10 types of fruit were grown, with some believing bananas were made in factories.

One in 10 of the youngsters, who were aged six to 10, had no idea that apples grow on trees.

Source: Mirror, 19th August 2015

As with many Bad PR stories, these findings would be shocking if true – but as ever, that’s quite a significant ‘if’. Can it really be true that 10% of kids genuinely don’t know that apples come from trees? Can it be the case that ‘some’ kids really do think that strawberries “just popped up in the fridge”, as the Mirror’s version of the story points out? Call me highly skeptical, not least given the source of the claims:

Research conducted this week by The Fabulous Bakers, UK’s only mainstream bakery using all natural ingredients, showed some surprising results…

The Fabulous Bakers conducted its research to mark the launch of its new online film, which aims to educate and entertain children about just how fascinating and fabulous the natural world and its natural ingredients are.

Somewhat convenient, then, that ‘research’ commissioned by a company which markets itself on natural ingredients ‘proves’ that kids know nothing about natural ingredients. Of course, given that the ‘research’ consisted of an online opinion poll, it’s not hard to start to postulate as to how it might not be fully rigorous. How do you ensure the kids are answering about what they really think, rather than what they think would be fun to say? Do the kids even care about their answers? Probably not.

More importantly, can you be absolutely sure the questions were answered only by children? Here, for me, is the crux of it: parents have to sign their kids up for online surveys, and are paid a very tiny amount for each one that’s completed. If your kid isn’t there, you either ignore the survey and miss out on the micropayment… or you pretend your kid is there and bank the cash, clicking your way through the multiple-choice questions at will. Suddenly that ‘some’ people say strawberries simply appear in the fridge doesn’t seem quite so hard to explain now…

Still, at least the Fabulous Bakers got their time in the sun – or, at least, twice in the Mirror:

Victoria Willis of The Fabulous Bakers said: “It is really important that people know exactly where the food we put into our bodies comes from.

“When you look closely at how natural ingredients grow, you really do appreciate just how fabulous the natural world is.”

And it’s only when you look closely at how unnatural PR stories come about, you really do appreciate how fabulously shitty the effect of commercial PR on journalism is.

“It’s important for men to fulfil the stereotype of ‘Gentleman'” says florist

Showing an admirable level of equality in their insistence on telling people to fulfil standar gender roles, the Daily Express had the following advice for the men of today:

What makes the perfect gentleman? One that will offer the last crips in the packet

NEW rules dictate if you are a “modern gentleman”, not least by offering a female friend the last crisp in the bag.

Taking a woman’s car for an MoT and recording favourite television shows are other etiquette pointers, says a poll of 2,000 women.

A true gent will avoid disturbing his woman by sleeping in the spare room after a night out and will watch football on a laptop so as not to hog the TV.

Source: Daily Express, 1st July 2014

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That the source of the story was a ‘say it with flowers’ website encouraging men to buy flowers for the woman in their lives has almost certainly little to do with the findings:

A spokeswoman for florists SerenataFlowers.com, which ordered the study, said: “The definition of a gentleman has definitely evolved.

“But showing consideration even in the smallest way has a positive effect on relationships.

“The majority of today’s women are independent – but they would still like men in their lives to be thoughtful.”

Wholesale Clearance’s PR stunt makes mugs of the nation’s media

Did you hear the one about the intern who mistook US president Barack Obama for England defender Chris Smalling? I bet you have – it’s been everywhere. Here’s the story from the Daily Express:

You MUGS! Manufacturers mistake England’s Chris Smalling for BARACK OBAMA

AFTER the team’s timid capitulation against Uruguay and subsequent exit from the World Cup England are less world leaders at football, more like a bunch of mugs.

Two successive defeats at the World Cup in Brazil has left the hopes of a nation in ruins.

Right now, there are few more important jobs than shoring up Roy Hodgson’s leaky defence…with the possible exception of leading the free world, that is.

The Three Lions might be heading home soon but do we really think the team can one day win something? Yes We Can.

If you are wondering why the chap on this souvenir mug looks a little familiar, well, it’s Barack Obama.

Source: Daily Express, 22nd June 2014

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The Daily Express weren’t the only ones to run the story – in fact it also found coverage at:

Mixing Barack Obama and Chris Smalling – what an embarrassing mistake to make! I imagine there’s an intern out there who is pretty red-faced! But, of course, it’s an easy mistake to make, isn’t it? After all, all it takes is for an intern to do a Google search for Chris Smalling but accidentally type the words ‘Barack Obama’ by mistake, then find that very famous photo that definitely exists of Barack Obama wearing this season’s England shirt, and then fail to recognise one of the most famous men in the world and use that photo in place of Chris Smalling.

After that, it’s a simple case of nobody at his company stopping to question why the President of the USA is on a mug, wearing an England shirt (we all remember when Obama posed for that photo in an England shirt, right?), and for no printer to notice the error either (and I’ve worked extensively in print design and can confirm, when it comes to printing merchandise like this, that there’s typically at least half a dozen conversations around design specs, plus the need to sign off a proof of every product before a full print run).

Clearly it’s a mistake that absolutely anybody could make… well, primarily anybody who wanted to get the name of their online surplus stock wholesale company into as many media outlets as possible:

Andy White of Wholesale Clearance UK, which specialises in buying end-of-line stock and factory seconds, said it had knowingly bought the mugs when they were offloaded by a merchandising company.

If we stop for even a moment to think about the validity of the official story behind these mugs, it’s clear it simply doesn’t hold up. Even now, more than 24 hours since the story broke, a Google image search for Chris Smalling shows hundreds of photos of the Manchester United player… and zero photos of Barack Obama.

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What’s more, a photo of Obama in an England shirt simply does not exist – so it had to be photoshopped. Are we to believe the ‘bleary-eyed intern’ accidentally photoshopped a photo of the world leader into an England shirt ‘by mistake’?

There simply is no route by which this story could have happened as told in the media. This is, in my opinion, the clearest of PR stunts from Wholesale Clearance UK.

What’s more, it’s not the first story of this nature to involve Wholesale Clearance UK. Remember when William and Kate were still pregnant, and we didn’t know if Baby George was actually going to be a Georgina? Remember the tale of the memorabilia firm who jumped the gun and printed a job lot of ‘Royal Princess’ plates? Here’s the Daily Mail’s version of events:

‘To celebrate the birth of the Royal PRINCESS’: Firm left with 5,000 unsold plates after wrongly assuming Kate would have a girl

The birth of Prince George has been a massive boon for many manufacturers, but one company lost out after it produced 5,000 commemorative plates celebrating the arrival of a ‘Royal Princess’.

Other objects produced to mark the historic birth this week include Lego, dolls and an official porcelain collection – but most had the wisdom to wait and find out the baby’s sex before launching their memorabilia.

However, one unnamed firm supposedly had a tip-off from a royal insider that the Duchess of Cambridge was set to give birth to a girl, and designed plates with the message: ‘To celebrate the birth of the Royal Princess’.

Source: Daily Mail, 25th July 2013

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Once again we have an un-named memorabilia firm making an unfortunate-but-comic screw up, and once again who bought up their useless stock?

The useless memorabilia was snapped up by online retailer Wholesale Clearance UK, which is selling the plates in lots of 50, with each set costing £149 – or £2.98 per item.

As with the Obama England mugs, this story simply doesn’t pass the sniff test: the firm created 5,000 plates assuming the baby would be a girl. Did they also release a range of plates based on the Royal baby being male? If they did, I can’t find them. There absolutely are such plates available, but none with a remotely similar design to the Royal Princess range (which are, incidentally, still on sale on Wholesale Clearance’s website). Did the unnamed company really only make Royal Princess plates? Or did they also make Royal Prince plates, but inexplicably chose to create a whole new design for them, knowing only one of the two designs would ever be on general sale?

What’s more, take a look at that Royal Princess plate – who the hell is that baby in the middle of it?

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Why would a firm commemorate the birth of a child who wasn’t yet born, at a time when they didn’t know the gender, using a photo of a baby who wasn’t the actual baby? When the more sensible alternative would be to have no photo of a baby at all? Even if the royal baby actually was female, the plate would have been worthless, given that the photo wasn’t of the correct baby. Are we really meant to believe that any memorabilia firm in the world would make such a decision, rather than running without a baby photo at all? Do we really think, even for a moment, that there is any truth to this story?

It seems clear that both the Obama mug story and the Royal Princess plate story are nothing more than paper-thin attention-grabbing PR stunts from Wholesale Clearance Ltd – and given the huge impact and universally-credulous coverage the stunt has received from the mainstream media, it seems like it was a successful stunt at that.

Hat tip to @FieldProducer and @TheMediaTweets, where I first spotted this story.

“You can’t really be happy if you’ve no-one to kiss!” says dating website and made-up kissing day

Pucker up! Half of British women say that kissing is the best cure for a bad mood

FOR some, retail therapy is the only way to beat the blues.

But for nearly half of British women a kiss is the best cure for a bad mood.

Source: Daily Express, 19th June 2014

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Women, as ever, being shown by the media here to be simple creatures – a peck on the lips and a new handbag and even the biggest of frowns can be turned upside down. Equally reliable, too, is the spurious PR-led statistical chicanery behind a story such as this:

In a survey of 1,000 women for today’s National Kissing Day, 47 per cent said a smacker was the most effective mood-lifter.

Did you miss National Kissing Day? How could you! I bet you’re kicking yourself – it’s the one day of the year where you get to celebrate affection and human contact. They even have their own official website, complete with annoying infographic, too:

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In case you didn’t realise it was National Kissing Day, don’t worry – it wasn’t. If you look at the almost-hidden statement at the botom of the official site, you can see that the whole day is nothing more than an overt marketing stunt:

© National Kissing Day and associated events are fully protected by Copyright & IP Law and remain the sole intellectual property of Radio Relations Ltd; Participation by way of any format in or mention of National Kissing Day is strictly by way of invitation or agreement solely with the Intellectual Property Owners: Radio Relations Ltd.

Radio Relations Ltd are a PR company who specialise in creating content designed to get brands talked about on the radio:

Ever wondered how brands manage to get radio presenters and broadcast journalists to talk about their services?

As radio PR specialists, Radio Relations have excellent industry knowledge and fantastic relationships with presenters, securing editorial coverage on every commercial and BBC radio station throughout the UK.

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By all accounts, each year Radio Relations approve (read: sell-to) a small list of PR companies and brand partners who are allowed to use the National Kissing Day name and PR opportunity to secure airtime and column inches.

So who this year has been a National Kissing Day partner? Going back to the original story in the Express, the brand name didn’t make the cut – however, in its Daily Mail counterpart the PR paymaster’s brand survives:

National Kissing Day? Pucker up! The top five most romantic places to kiss your beloved.. or wait for your prince to appear

We might be a nation of tough critics when it comes to kissing, but we love a romantic location.

And a recent survey by online dating website MySingleFriend to coincide with National Kissing Day today revealed that for nearly half of British women, a kiss is the best cure for a bad mood.

Source: Daily Mail, 19th June 2014

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So, a dating website wants you to know that kissing is the most effective way of feeling happy. If you don’t have anyone in your life to kiss, you’d better act now, or else miss out on all that potential happiness.

As for National Kissing Day, keep your eyes open for July 19th next year, and we’ll see who Radio Relations have gotten into bed with by then.

“Fast food can be expensive!” says voucher site with fast food offer

Busy Britons spend over £100 a month on fast food

BRITONS spend £109 a month each on takeaways and ready meals, research has revealed.

Fast food and eating out now account for a third of our annual food budget. We tuck into 12 convenience meals a month on average. Chinese is most popular, being the favourite of 26 per cent of those polled.

Source: Daily Express, 26 March 2014

Takeaway UK: Average Brit is now spending £1,320 a year on fastfood buying 12 meals every month

It was once just a treat for the weekend, but a new survey has found that the average Brit now forks out £110 per month on takeaway meals every month.

The study found that an average of 12 takeaways is purchased per person per month- a staggering £1,320.

Men have the biggest taste for fast food as they get through an extraordinary 151 takeaways a year, while the figure for women is 126.

Source: Daily Mail, 4 April 2014

Fast food, despite its convenience, is no friend to our wallets – if this data is to be believed. Although that’s quite a big ‘if’, relying on the average person buying a £10 takeaway every three days.

Could there be an ulterior motive behind this pair of stories making it to the press?

Duncan Jennings, co-founder of vouchercodes.co.uk, said: ‘Takeaways are now a part of everyday life for busy consumers.

‘Britain has always been a nation of food lovers and especially as we have nearly every type of cuisine available on the go throughout Britain.

‘But, eating on the move no longer needs to be an unhealthy or expensive option.’

Indeed, if the contents of this PR story for a discount voucher website were true, it really would be an expensive option… unless there was a voucher website on hand to help bring down those costs somewhat, of course.

“Possessions are really important!” says cashback website

Society’s status symbols have changed from ponies to pools

SYMBOLS of success now include a high-performance car, a nanny and a swimming pool in the back garden, a study revealed yesterday.

The survey showed just how much times have changed in the space of a generation.

Thirty years ago, a dishwasher, a mobile phone and a colour TV were thought of as signs of having money.

In comparison, to be judged a success now you need to travel in business or first class, own a second home and have a designer watch.

Source: Daily Express, 21 April 2014

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From dishwashers to swimming pools: How status symbols have been upgraded over the past 30 years

Gone are the days of showing off a cordless phone, dishwasher and conservatory to make your friends jealous.

Because symbols of success are now considered to include high performance cars, a nanny and a swimming pool in the back garden.

A study of 2,000 Britons shows how much times have changed in the space of one generation, with items used to show off wealth in the 1980s, such as microwaves, colour TVs and mobiles now considered nothing more than ordinary.

Source: Daily Mail, 21 April 2014

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While this pair of articles may ostensibly explore the relationship between status symbols past and present, the real purpose is to highlight just how important it is to have the latest must-have, to be valid in today’s society:

The survey of 2,000 Britons also found that four in 10 believe people place more importance on status symbols now than in previous generations.

Why such importance? Because this article was created by Bad PR regulars One Poll and placed into the papers by an online cashback site, whose very business model relies on people spending:

Andy Oldham, managing director of cashback website Quidco.com, said: “Things our parents grew up dreaming of owning – a dishwasher, colour TV and even a mobile phone – are now so normal that almost everyone has them.

“One thing that remains is the desire to have the best of the best and be a success.”