May 29th was ‘National Biscuit Day’, If you’re wondering why that’s even a thing – don’t worry, it isn’t. As is almost always the case we these national day/week/month/millenia tales, the whole exercise is nothing more than an excuse to peg product-laden stories into the press under the auspices of topicality. Take this effort, featured in the Daily Express:
Fancy a beer? We’d prefer a biscuit! McVitie’s survey reveals Britain’s love for treats
THE great British biscuit is a vital part of our national lifestyle, a survey reveals.
Most people eat an average of two a day.
And nearly every British household – 99.2 per cent – buys biscuits during the course of a year.
Even young people love a rich tea or a digestive with a cuppa so much that the study of 2,000 people reveals 30 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds prefer a biscuit to a glass of wine or a pint of beer.
Preferring a biscuit over a beer might sound an unlikely choice – although, that said, a real ale doesn’t dunk quite as well as a digestive. Fortunately, the Express’s Nathan Rao (who likely contributed barely a word to this pr-driven story) has the weight of academia behind the claims in his article:
Food scientist Dr Stuart Farrimond said eating biscuits with a cup of tea makes them taste better.
He said: “The science shows us that hot drinks enhance the natural flavours of the biscuit because more flavour molecules are released in the mouth when the biscuit is warmed and moistened.
“In Britain, biscuits have a particular cultural significance and are a customary part of the mid-morning tea break.
“Research has shown that of all foods, biscuits and chocolate are among those that trigger the most pleasure and excitement.”
Of course, the bought-in academic isn’t the only talking head in the article – we also hear from the spokesperson for the company who paid for the spurious survey behind this story, and behind National Biscuit Day:
The research by maker McVitie’s found our choice of biscuit changes depending on our mood.
McVitie’s spokesman Sarah Heynen said: “There’s no doubt that we’re a nation of biscuit lovers.
“We know that our biscuits have a surprisingly important place in people’s lives – people relate to them in a very emotional way.”
That said, toppling a tipple wasn’t the most audacious claim McVities made for their fare during National Biscuit Day – that honour goes to the following, in the Mirror:
No sex please – we prefer biscuits! One in six Britons choose a Hobnob over nookie
Research to mark National Biscuit Day on Thursday also found that a quarter of us would give up booze instead of going without a Chocolate Digestive or two
Biscuit-mad Brits would give up sex for a packet of their favourite dunking snacks, a study has revealed.
One in six would rather have a Hobnob than nookie and a quarter would give up booze instead of going without a Chocolate Digestive or two.
Perhaps fittingly, the Mirror ran their own in-page poll on what their readers would rather do – ‘Have loads of sex’ or ‘Eat loads of biscuits’, with results somewhat crumbling the McVities PR claims:
Still, given the unequivocal nature of the question and the lack of pretence of being representative and bias-free, we can probably place more stock in the Mirror’s straw poll than in McVities’ original opinion survey and ensuing PR campaign.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to dunk a HobNob in a Hobgoblin.
Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you’ve embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father.
It’s a startling moment in any man’s life.
You’re sat on the sofa keenly scrutinising the money pages of the newspaper, looking forward to giving the lawn a good mowing and finding yourself unusually excited about an upcoming sale at B&Q, when it hits you (if you can keep your eyes open long enough): you’ve turned into your dad.
It’s enough to make you slip on your sensibly priced comfortable shoes and retreat to your man cave with a pint of bitter.
It seems all men are destined to become their fathers – it’s a message carried not only in the Independent, but also in the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Star. With so many convergent sources, it must be true… or, just maybe, it might be PR for a TV channel running a ‘Dad Dancing’ competition:
Steve North, General Manager of UKTV channel Gold said: ‘The future looks bright for men, more sleep, having your very own chair, letting loose on the dance floor and finding ourselves funny – it seems 38 is the age men officially lose their inhibitions
And why the focus on getting old and turning into your father? The Daily Mail carries the crucial quote from North:
‘The best way to ward off the top dad-ism sign of falling asleep in the front room is by tuning into Gold’s Easter schedule featuring Only Fools and Horses, the Royle Family and the Vicar of Dibley.’
Embrace it, fellas – turn into your dad, and you can enjoy the same tired old sitcoms he was watching 20 years ago!
SERVING up the perfect Christmas dinner is a fine art… but it is all to do with science, claim experts
They have come up with a formula for the yuletide spread with optimum amounts of poultry, stuffing, crispy potatoes and seasonal veg.
Psychologists Dr David Lewis and Dr Margaret Yufera-Leitch say careful measuring may be the difference between feeling stuffed or pleasantly satisfied due to the best combination of protein and amino acids, carbohydrates and vitamins commonly found in Christmas dinner ingredients.
Christmas is just around the corner, and with it the annual stress over getting that family meal just right. Fortunately, research published in the Daily Express (by Nathan Rao, who potentially contributed barely a word to it) has the answer to your prayers: a scientific formula to follow.
Admittedly, if your prayers involve a scientific formula published in the Express and Daily Mail, to guide your Christmas Dinner preparations… well, you have a very curious idea of religion. But, I guess, evidence that yours is the one true god, so, y’know, Mazel Tov.
First things first – just how scientific is this article? Well, it’ll come as little surprise to you to find the scientist behind this is one David Lewis – founder of neuro-marketing company Mindlab International, and no stranger to this very blog. David has appeared in the press a number of times over the last few years, often (in my opinion) trading his scientific legitimacy in for publicity.
Personally, I find this deeply problematic – not least given that many people’s only experience of science is what they see in the newspapers. Stories such as this paint a skewed view of what legitimate science is, portraying scientists as little more than zany stereotypes, conducting silly work. Which leads to comments like this, from the Daily Mail story:
What the commenter – and many like him – doesn’t realise is that it’s likely no real science was done in the name of this article. Rather, a company looking to garner some attention in the press found an academic willing to lend their name – and with it, the legitimacy of their profession – to what is in essence an advert.
Which leads us to the company behind this story:
The perfect plate was created for Aldi by TV food psychologist, Dr David Lewis, of Channel 4’s Secret Eaters and eating expert Dr Margaret Yufera-Leitch…
An Aldi spokesperson added: ‘Everyone likes to treat themselves at Christmas but the traditional turkey dinner is the one meal where people feel most pressured that everything should be perfect…
‘By shopping at Aldi, families really can relax knowing that they are serving top quality, award-winning foods without breaking the bank.’
And by hiring scientists like David Lewis, Aldi can secure legitimate-seeming stories in at least two national newspapers, without breaking the bank.
WE all fantasise about a lottery win and the luxury it would bring. But when it comes to life’s everyday pleasures, most of us are happy simply being told: “I love you.”
Money cannot buy some of the things we cherish most, like being paid a compliment, country walks and catching up with old friends.
In fact, in a nod to the austere times we live in, almost all our favourite things are free, a poll shows.
Cuddles with children, tidying the house and a crisp winter’s day are among life’s Top 50 pleasures that do not cost a thing.
With the world becoming increasingly commercialised, it’s heartening to know that some things we hold closest to our heart don’t always have to break the bank. Sure, there are things like love, cuddles, clean sheets and chocolate – but, more importantly, there’s also the joy of going for walks in the great outdoors:
The list was compiled by Ordnance Survey to coincide with the launch of its custom-made maps, which allow people to add their own titles or humorous pictures to a favourite part of the country.
Managing director Nick Giles said: “Our everyday lives are becoming so much more stressful and busier than ever before.
“Some 80 per cent of the 2,000 people who took part in our survey enjoy exploring the countryside, many preferring to do it on foot. Something as simple as a relaxing country walk can turn a bad day into a good one.”
With this emphasis on inexpensive ways to enjoy life, it’s clear why the Ordnance Survey hired Bad PR regulars One Poll to come up with this ‘data’.
CHILDREN are struggling to grasp basic geography – they are all at sea when it comes to oceans and just as lost on land.
Astonishingly one in three does not know Wales is in Great Britain while one in 14 is convinced Australia forms part of our nation.
Many labour under the misapprehension that the English Channel separates us from America and a large number do not know London is the capital city of the UK.
The continent-wide gaps in knowledge were highlighted in a survey of 1,500 children aged from five to 14.
Kids today, not only do they not know they’re born, but clearly they also haven’t a clue where they were born, given their appalling lack of geographical knowledge. If only there were some kind of technological solution to this knowledge gap…
The survey was carried out by Travelzoo, creators of a new iPad app called Map The World. A spokesman for the firm said: “There are a few children who don’t know the most basic geography.
“Children can get a lot out of knowing more about the world they live in. It will stay with them for the rest of their life.”
Of course, given that this story (which by-line author Nathan Rao of the Express contributed less than half of the copy to) was created by Bad PR regulars One Poll, there’s a good reason to be sceptical of these figures – especially where it comes to what children do and don’t know. Isn’t that right, Mr Gove?
ALMOST half of British men shy away from telling their friends they look nice for fear of being called “soft”, a study has revealed.
More than a third avoid talking about fashion or their feelings at all when they are out with the lads.
If one of their mates is looking particularly dapper, nearly a quarter admit to teasing them with a wolf-whistle instead of complimenting them outright.
And imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery for the one in 10 who copies his stylish friend’s look.
Ticking the ‘blokey bloke-bloke’ box perfectly, we have this Express story highlighting exactly how proper blokes don’t go around doing girly silly things like being nice to each other. Or so one particular menswear retailer would like you to think:
Martin Roberts of menswear brand Jacamo, which carried out the poll of 1,502 men, said: “The idea of a ‘man code’ is something most blokes would recognise – it takes different forms but having our own language means we can speak freely, wherever we are.”