Tag Archives: Emma Elsworthy

“Don’t listen to online nutritionists, berries are great!” says registered nutritionist, correctly… but working for berry company, via OnePoll

Good information from a commercially-compromised source now, with the news that many folk-wisdom and social-media-promoted notions of the nutritional value of fruit and veg may not be true:

Does eating carrots really help you see in the dark? Myths about food debunked

Carrots help you to see in the dark, oranges are the best source of vitamin C and avoiding fruit in the evening are food ‘facts’ we get completely wrong, according to experts.

A study of 2,000 adults has revealed many are mistakenly believing commonly-held beliefs when it comes to the food and drinks they consume.

But now, nutritionists have shed some light on the truth.

Source: Mirror, 21st June 2019

This is one of the more complicated variety of PR stories: on the one hand, we have a registered nutrition busting some common misconceptions about fruit, and sharing some evidence-based advice. But on the other hand, that advice comes courtesy of a press release from a company with skin in the game:

While more than a fifth of adults think juicing your fruit is as nutritious as eating it whole, registered public health nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire, who is working with Love Fresh Berries, said vital fibres and nutrients are removed in the juicing process.

She said: “We are in the information era yet it seems that ‘over’ information could be confusing the lay public.

“We must remember to utilise information that is evidence-based rather than trusting ‘popular’ followers.

While it is great to see some sensible information being shared about fresh fruit and veg, it’s a shame for that information to be used primarily as a delivery mechanism for the marketing message of a company with a commercial interest:

Nicholas Marston added: “There’s so much information online, it’s often hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t.

“With the growth of social media we have seen a huge rise in unqualified influencers giving nutritional advice to followers, even telling them not to eat fruit or berries because of high sugar content, or because they’ll rot your teeth when in fact, berries are nutritional powerhouses which have many health benefits.”

This might be one of the often-overlooked drawbacks of the PR game: nobody would deny that there’s general news (or at the very least comment) value in having someone debunk common misconceptions and share genuine information… but the news media is currently so set up and incentivised to churn pre-packaged press releases into ‘news’ articles, even good information often comes with a commercial angle and a company looking for return on investment.

What, do we think, is the main factor that motivated Love Fresh Berries to hire 72 Point to generate survey data via OnePoll (which may therefore be of dubious and commercially-compromised accuracy) in order to place this story (by-lined to a 72 Point employee) into a national newspaper? Was it an altruistic desire to correct dietary inaccuracies, or a commercial desire to encourage more people to buy the berries they sell?

That we can’t say one way or another – or, more likely, what the blend was of both motivations – may not matter in this case, when the outcome is something desirable: less dietary misinformation. But this story does not exist in a vacuum, it is part of an ecosystem of bullshit-data-and-a-hook-as-news, and while this is certainly the respectable end of that spectrum, it helps legitimise the much murkier end.

Ultimately, it is often the same companies involved in both ends of that spectrum – bear this story in mind the next time a news article with a nutritionally-dicey message can be traced back to 72 Point, or any other PR company.

“It’s actually cheaper to run an electric car these days, guys!” says electricity company, via OnePoll

Mobility news now, with the revelation that petrol is – get this, right – expensive:

Average driver will spend £56,000 on petrol in their lifetime, survey claims

The average driver will spend more than £56,000 on petrol during their lifetime, a survey claims. 

The poll of 2,000 motorists found that 84 per cent believe petrol and diesel is “too expensive”.

Source: Independent, 21st June 2019

TAKEN FOR A FUEL: Drivers spend a whopping £56,000 on fuel during their lifetime – as 40 per cent of Brits consider switching to electric

MOTORISTS fork out almost double the average annual salary on fuel over the course of their lifetime.

Shocking figures reveal drivers spend in excess of £56,000 just to fill their tank – on top of insurance, tax, and maintenance fees.

Source: The Sun, 21st June 2019

Motorists spend more than £56,000 on petrol during their lifetimes, study says

Motorists will spend more than £56,000 on petrol during their lifetime, according to a study.

The shocking figure emerged amid fears over ever-increasing fuel prices and insurance premiums, along with clean air zone fees.

Researchers found the cost of petrol and diesel is a ‘serious concern’ for drivers with 84 per cent arguing it is ‘too expensive.’

Source: Mirror, 21st June 2019

Who might be inclined, commercially and financially speaking, to draw attention to the high cost of petrol?

Commissioned by EDF Energy, the research of 2,000 motorists found 40 per cent of drivers are currently considering making the switch to an electric vehicle – a move which some experts believe could save them £41,000 over their lifetime.

This non-news story, as are so many others, was brought to you by 72 Point.

“If you think your job is bad, try being a working animal!” says working animal charity, via OnePoll

Another entry for the bylined-to-a-PR-company files here, with the finding that office workers feel they have it hard now compared to how things used to be in the past:

Brits complain that work ‘used to be easier’ and they ‘miss working 9 to 5’

One-hour lunch breaks, working nine to five and a simple tea round are among the things office workers miss about the past, according to a study.

The research of 2,000 office workers aged 40 and over revealed the extent to which things have changed over the years, with six in 10 saying work was ‘easier’ in previous decades.

Being able to leave work on time without feeling guilty, wearing a suit or set uniform and shutting emails down at the end of the day also feature in the list.

Source: Mirror, 13th June 2019

On this particular occasion, PR firm 72 Point were paid to publish this in the Mirror (with a by-line to their PR account manager, naturally) by… well…

Animal charity SPANA carried out the research ahead of International Working Animal Day (15 June) to raise awareness of working animals worldwide, which face a lifetime of work, with no retirement, in appalling conditions that never change.

You almost have to take your hats off to 72 Point for this one, to get from office workers upset about the loss of the good old days, to a line about the life of working animals. But I’ll let the SPANA spokesperson explain their hook:

Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of animal charity SPANA, which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals in developing countries, said: “They say things were ‘better in my day’ and it’s clear that older workers are nostalgic about the past and a time when work felt less stressful.

“But while it can be difficult to get to grips with longer working hours, new technology and higher demands, these problems pale in comparison with the gruelling conditions endured by working animals overseas.”

And in case there was any doubt that this article was written in full by a PR company with zero editing or fact checking from the news organisation that published it, we only have to look to the SWNS news feed to see the full copy.

“Women should be more connected natural things!” says cosmetics company, via OnePoll

With Summer around the corner, it might be time to start questioning how much time you spend immersed in Mother Nature:

Half of women suffering as they ‘don’t have time to enjoy nature’, study finds

Almost half of British women don’t have enough time to enjoy nature, it has emerged.

Researchers who carried out a detailed study found hectic workloads and busy family lives mean many go for long spells without taking time to enjoy Mother Nature’s creations.

Source: Mirror, 10th June 2019

Unless, of course, this story is just an excuse for a company to emphasise the importance of connecting with nature, in order to tie in to a spurious marketing hook:

The study was commissioned by naturally inspired skincare brand Liz Earle, who have partnered with Go Jauntly, an app designed to help city dwellers connect with the nature around them.

In classic Bad PR style, this story in the Mirror is taken word-for-word from the copy provided by news agency SWNS:

SWNS is a news agency which is owned by PR company 72 Point… who also own perennial Bad PR pollsters OnePoll. This story is the clearest possible demonstration of the way in which commercial quasi-advertising copy is laundered into the media unchecked:

  1. Lize Earle skincare hires PR company to incorporate the marketing/advertising hook into some content marketing copy
  2. PR company uses OnePoll to create data that backs up the PR angle they’ve already decided on
  3. PR company creates page-ready copy and publishes it via news agency SWNS, where it is disseminated for pick-up by media organisations (who might not have the time or inclination to check the source or verify any of the findings)
  4. Newspaper looking for something to fill its pages publishes the ad-driven copy as if it were a real story.

That said, there’s one aspect of this story that demonstrates the evolving face of PR content marketing: the by-lined author of the Mirror’s piece, Emma Elsworthy, is not a Mirror journalist. She isn’t a freelance journalist either… she is the “Creative Manager at content and news generation experts 72 Point“.

Gone are the days when newspapers even bothered having their junior desk reporters sift through PR copy to find stories ‘worth’ churning into the news – nowadays, they by-line the PRs who are being paid by their clients to secure space in newspapers.

In my opinion, the only reason this kind of practice doesn’t receive any outcry is because the Mirror don’t signpost which of their stories are written and by-lined entirely by PR companies. They pretend these stories are real journalists, and rely on their readers not to question it.

“Workers spend way too long on boring, menial tasks!” says expense-tracking software, via OnePoll

Office news now, with the revelation that much of our time in the office is wasted on small admin tasks:

Average employee wastes three months carrying out ‘pointless’ tasks

The average employee reckons they waste almost 15 weeks a year – carrying out “pointless” tasks at work, according to research.

The study of 2,000 workers found typically 142 minutes a day – more than two hours – are spent doing admin, paperwork and attending meetings when they could be getting on with more important jobs. 

That equates to a staggering 76 working days across a 48 week year, assuming workers take four weeks annual leave. 

Source: Mirror, 12th June 2019

Who has a commercial incentive to send the message that having office workers spend their time on admin tasks is inefficient?

Adam Reynolds, CEO and spokesman for expense management company Webexpenses, which carried out the study, said: “Activities such as claiming expenses, processing invoices and auditing shouldn’t take much time at all, and yet for many businesses stuck in the dark ages, they are.

Here’s the original copy on the SWNS website, which is owned by the PR company 72 Point, who the by-lined ‘journalist’ works for:

“Dads can teach us so many artisan crafts!” says craft goods website ahead of Father’s Day, via OnePoll

Father’s Day proved a reliable a gift for PR companies this year, with plenty of companies building their marketing copy around the theme of dads:

Millennials reviving ‘traditional’ skills like knitting and carpentry – thanks to dads

Millennials are reviving a string of traditional tasks once destined for the history books, according to research.

A study into the traditional skills across generations found young adults are adept at skills such as framing pictures, calligraphy and knitting.

Crafting handwritten letters to keep in touch with loved ones is also among the tasks making a comeback.

Thirteen per cent are even learning woodwork and carpentry – and hand-making items such as tables, chairs, and bookshelves.

Source: Mirror, 9th June 2019

Who felt the need to celebrate dads and their propensity for passing down their crafty skills?

Ella d’Amato, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer for notonthehighstreet, which commissioned the study of 2,000 adults said: “This study is reassurance that practical artisan skills are very much alive – despite a common assumption that young adults don’t have time to be very ‘hands on’.

If the commercial angle isn’t immediately apparent, bear in mind that Notonthehighstreet lists handmade goods by small independent businesses… and according to the company’s marketing hook, many of those business owners learned their craft trade from their dads:

Ella d’Amato for notonthehighstreet added: “We love to see dads of all ages passing their skills onto their sons and daughters.

“In fact, many of the small creative businesses that sell on our platform are using these skills to run successful businesses.

Unsurprisingly, this whole article is a product of 72 Point, from the collation of marketing ‘research’ via OnePoll, to the writing and distributing of the copy – which the Mirror, once again, by-lines to a 72 Point staff member.

“You should care about knights!” says TV channel running show about knights

Few things are as effective at grabbing PR headlines as running a story with some celebrity names in the headline:

Brits calling for JK Rowling and Stephen Fry to be knighted

One in five Brits think JK Rowling should be KNIGHTED, according to a study.

The Harry Potter author, who is set to release four new eBooks next month giving fans a chance to read more about the ‘wizarding world’, topped the poll.

A further one in six Brits would like to see Stephen Fry pick up the title, while Joanna Lumley was another popular choice.

Source: Mirror, 6th June 2019

Who is that wants us to care who has and has not been knighted?

The research was commissioned by TV channel HISTORY, to launch series two of historical fiction drama Knightfall, starting Tuesday 2nd July at 9pm.