Tag Archives: daily express

“Paper maps are dead!” says communications group; “No they’re not!” says map-makers

End of road for paper maps after 300 years and…10 more things killed by technology

PAPER maps are to be consigned to the dustbin after 300 years, just the latest in a long line of things we once took for granted now made redundant by the march of technology.

Ordnance Survey sales have shrunk by a third from their all-time annual high of around three million a decade ago as hikers and other users rely on sat-navs instead.

Now only maps of popular walking areas, such as the Lake District, will still be available in bookshops.

Other areas will have to be ordered online and downloaded to a computer.

Source: Daily Express, 31 March 2014

The humble map, it seems, has had its day – and online Business communications provider Daisy Group (who paid for this story) doesn’t mourn their passing:

Spokeswoman Kate O’Brien said yesterday: “Technology dominates modern life, so it is no surprise there are a number of acts we no longer do.

“Developments in computing, smartphones, TVs and other gadgets make communicating easier and faster than ever.

“It is quicker to buy something online rather than visit the shops, or talk online instead of picking up the landline.

“Life is getting easier and faster.

“A huge range of jobs and activities are being overtaken by technology.”

That said, try telling that to map-makers Ordnance Survey, who clearly took issue with the negativity of this pro-online press release, causing the Daily Express to issue a correction:

I am writing to correct a point in your news story ‘End of road for paper maps after 300’ where you state “Now only maps of popular walking areas, such as the Lake District, will still be available in bookshops,” This is wholly inaccurate. Ordnance Survey is committed to maintaining a national series of paper maps for both OS Explorer and OS Landranger Maps. We will continue to print and supply paper maps, covering the whole of Great Britain, to wholesalers, retailers and customers. We want to ensure that our paper products are the number one tool for anyone discovering the outdoors. Paper maps are an important and iconic part of the Ordnance Survey brand and we strongly feel that they remain an essential part of the outdoors market, working alongside digital products and apps.

I guess it was just a breakdown in communication online from the online communication providers Daisy Group.

“Two things working together is good!” says makers of two-tone chocolate bars

Fish ‘n’ chips beats tea and biscuits as the nation’s favourite double-act

FISH and chips, tea and biscuits, Morecambe and Wise. Any one without the other is unthinkable.
Now a list has been compiled of Britain’s top 50 favourite pairings ranging from Marks and Spencer to Wallace and Gromit and Posh and Becks.

The survey of 1,000 adults put fish and chips in first place but also recognised that the seaside favourite would be no good without salt and vinegar.

Source: Daily Express, 22 April 2014

Fish and chips, tea and biscuits and Morecambe and Wise are named as Britain’s greatest-ever double acts

It is a British tradition that has brought joy to millions of families for more than 150 years.

Now one of Britain’s favourite dishes, fish and chips, has been voted as the country’s greatest-ever double act.

The meal polled above the likes of Posh and Becks and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in a survey of the top 50 British combinations.

The survey asked 1,000 adults to choose their favourite British pairing, from areas such as comedy, music, food, business or sport.

Source: Daily Mail, 21 April 2014

These type of list-based PR stories crop up from time to time, and are rarely anything other than confusing and vague. What’s better, Morecambe and Wise or Fish and Chips? In what world is that a valid question to ask?

Well, technically, in the world of nonsense PR – specifically in this case for a chocolatier:

The survey was commissioned by chocolate makers Elizabeth Shaw to launch their Flutes chocolate batons range.

This is where the PR-crowbar comes into play – Flutes chocolate batons are a mix of crispy and creamy, which links back to double acts because:

A spokesman said: “We love our double acts in this country, from Posh and Becks to cheese and crackers.

“They all show just how well two different elements can go together to create something magical, whether it is showbusiness, sport, food or business.”

Sometimes the appalling flimsiness of PR amazes even me.

“People are living longer than ever!” says life insurance comparison site

We’re not oldies until we are 80: Poll shows that Britons expect to stay youthful

OLD age does not now start until the age of 80, according to a poll.
The research among people over 40 found that the vast majority of them will not consider themselves to be old until they reach the landmark birthday.

In contrast, previous generations thought of themselves as old at least 20 years earlier.

Healthier and more active lifestyles, staying in work longer and seeing more older people in the spotlight are among reasons for the change in attitude.

Source: Daily Express, 21 May 2014

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You aren’t old until you’re 80! Healthy and active lifestyles mean older people are now staying younger for longer

Old age begins at 80 – almost 20 years later than previous generations believed.

Thanks to healthier and more active lifestyles, working later in life and more public awareness of the elderly and their needs, older people are staying younger longer.

More than one in five Britons even believe you can reach 90 before you are considered old, a study of 2,000 over-40s says.

Source: Daily Mail, 21 May 2014

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Good news for all my septuagenarian readers – you’re not over the hill just yet! It’s official, because an insurance comparison site says so:

A spokesman for PayingTooMuch.com, which commissioned the research, said: “Perceptions of old age have changed a lot over the last few years.

“There was a time when you were considered old or past it as soon as you retired.

“But we are now leading healthier and more active lives well into our 70s. ­

Now, what should you do with that newfound lease of life? Maybe you should make sure you aren’t paying too much for your life insurance, whaddyasay?

“People are also working later in life than ever before. And even if they don’t feel particularly young or fit, it adds to the illusion that they are still young.

‘But while you might not be ‘old’ until much later in life now, it’s important not to put off decisions regarding retirement or later years such as life insurance, wills or pensions.

‘Old age might seem far off for most, but it’s better to be prepared now than regret not doing something later on.’

“Biscuits are better than beer, sex, sexy beer and beery sex!” says biscuit maker

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.

Source: Express, 30 May 2014

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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.

Source: Mirror, 28 May 2014

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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:

Poll - Q: What would YOU rather do?  A1: Have loads of sex = 64%; A2: Eat loads of biscuits = 36%.

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.

“Men turn into their fathers!” says TV channel promoting old comedies

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.

Source: Independent, 17 April 2014

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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 MailDaily 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

Source: Daily Mail, 17 April 2014

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!

“It’s important to get Christmas dinner right!” says supermarket, via marketing scientists

“It’s important to get Christmas dinner right!” says supermarket, via marketing scientists

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:

Really! I’m sure the science community has better things to do than spend time on this!! It’s the one time of the year when your definitely allowed to have a few extra spuds!

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.

“You can get a good Christmas dinner from a supermarket!” says supermarket

“You can get a good Christmas dinner from a supermarket!” says supermarket

“Going for outdoor walks is nice!” says map company

“Going for outdoor walks is nice!” says map company

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’.

“Kids don’t know anything about geography!” says new geography iPad app

“Kids don’t know anything about geography!” says new geography iPad app

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?

“Dressing like your friend is a good way to compliment him!” says men’s clothing retailer

“Dressing like your friend is a good way to compliment him!” says men’s clothing retailer

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.”