Tag Archives: independent

“You really need travel insurance!” says travel insurance industry body

Insurance news now, with the revelation that people claim on their travel insurance more often than you might think:


The cost of medical treatment for a British couple hit by a drunk driver in the US was £587,000

British holidaymakers made travel insurance claims at an average rate of almost one a minute in 2018, according to the latest industry figures.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says that 498,000 claims were made on travel insurance policies in 2018.

Source: Independent, 7th June 2019

The Association of British Insurers, the travel insurance industry body, commissioned the research which showed how you never can tell when you might need travel insurance. Unsurprisingly, their spokesperson has advice for would-be travellers on how to avoid a mishap while out of the country:

The ABI’s senior travel policy adviser, Charlie Campbell, said: “The fact that a quarter of Brits travel abroad without the right travel insurance is incredibly worrying.

“Anyone travelling this summer should avoid unnecessary financial and emotional stress by ensuring they have the right cover in place.

“Football kits are popular!” says sports betting company, the day before a major game

The all-British Champions League final, between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, was always destined to be a major opportunity for sports betting companies in the UK, which is why it was no surprise to see their PR teams hard at work. Take, for instance, this pandering effort in the Independent:


The red shirt worn by England’s legendary World Cup winning side has been voted the greatest football kit of all-time in a new poll. 

The simple design, a plain red top featuring the Three Lions emblem on the top left, was produced by Umbro, which manufactured some of England’s most memorable shirts up until 2012.

Source: Independent, 30th May 2019

Which company was responsible for this piece of opportunistically-timed non-news?

“The research suggests sentiment plays a big part when it comes to deciding which shirts are the best,” said a spokesman for football betting website, FootballJunkie, which commissioned the survey.  “Shirts worn by unsuccessful sides are perhaps unfairly forgotten, despite being fantastic designs, which brings to mind the 2009/10 England kit.”

“Buying things to attend a wedding can be expensive” says credit card company

With Summer around the corner, we are heading into wedding season – and the PR companies know it:


Average guest spends £68 on wedding outfit

Attending a wedding may be a joyous occasion to celebrate love, but it is also more expensive than ever, new research has found.

Source: Independent, 29th May 2019 

Who might have an interest in emphasising how expensive it can be to attend weddings, and how tricky it might be to pay for that all in one go?

According to annual wedding research from American Express, British wedding guests will spend an average of £391 each in 2019 – nearly a third more than last year.

I imagine American Express, the credit card company, probably has some ideas about how you could spread the costs of your wedding-related outlay.

“British people know nothing about basic geography!” says online voucher company looking for attention

How good is your geographical knowledge? If you’re British, one company’s PR wants you to believe you know nothing about the wider world:


Four in five Britons couldn’t point to Germany on a map, according to a new study.

More than half of Britons do not know Gibraltar is an Overseas British Territory and more than 70 per cent have never heard of Liechtenstein, the principality sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland.

Source: Independent, 29th May 2019

Who are the company who want to stress the geographical ignorance of the British people?

The study, by voucher code site MoneySavingHeroes, polled more than 2,000 Brits on their geography knowledge…

“It has never been easier to travel the world or learn about it from the comfort of your own home thanks to technology advancements so it’s fascinating to know that so many Britons are still left scratching their heads when given a list of countries,” said George Charles, spokesperson for the site.

“You may not be able to afford to go travelling but everyone has the ability to learn through search engines or books.”

“Time to start planning your Christmas dinner!” says supermarket chain

Favourite Christmas food REVEALED – and it is NOT the turkey

FORGET the reindeer, the mistletoe and even the tree – Christmas just would not be Christmas without ROAST POTATOES.

The humble roast potato beat turkey, stuffing and Christmas pudding as the most popular food on December 25.

Carrots took the second spot ahead of turkey, gravy, stuffing, ‘pigs in blankets’, parsnips, sprouts, Christmas pud and Yorkshire pudding.

Source: Daily Star, 10th November 2016


UK’s favourite food to eat on Christmas Day revealed

What is the most popular food for a festive dinner?

Britain’s favourite Christmas dinner ingredient has been revealed – and it’s not the turkey.

When it comes to the festive meal, most families opt for turkey with all the trimmings, followed by a mountain of Christmas pud and a good old family row.

Source: Independent, 10th November 2016


Christmas is approaching fast, which means the joy of a big Christmas roast – the greatest of all meals in the calendar, and the highlight of the festive period for so many. So it’s little wonder that the Independent dedicated a whole article to the subject of the best food for Christmas dinner, and even less of a wonder that the article was a press release for a supermarket chain:

But, according to a survey of 2,000 Asda customers, the festive bird doesn’t take the top spot.

The survey, which marks the launch of Asda’s Christmas TV advert this week, also highlighted the 10 days of Christmas, and pointing out that December 5 is the day most of us put up our tree, decorations and watch our very first Christmas-themed movie.

It’s bad enough that the PR and advertising industry has insisted the John Lewis Christmas advert is a ‘thing’ so often that it’s started to catch on, but now we have other big companies trying to jump on the brandwagon. Ho ho ho.

“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


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


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.

“Meeting in public can compromise your privacy!” says meeting room hire company

Where you’re most likely to overhear other people’s business secrets

Coffee shops and restaurants were the most common places to eavesdrop on a private conversation

Londoners are incapable of holding their tongues in public, according to a survey. Nearly half of those asked confessed to having discussed their company’s business secrets in a public space.

Source: Independent, 2nd October 2015


it seems that conducting business meetings in public places can pose a serious security risk, according to this survey by a meeting room hire company:

Nearly 50 per cent of all Londoners have overheard at least one private business conversation in a public space, while 47 per cent have started one, according to a study by MeetingRooms.com.

According to Caleb Parker, CEO of MeetingRooms.com careless talk can cost any business a lot of money and embarrassment

“Whether it’s a competitor stealing your new product idea or an investor overhearing sensitive financial information, it’s clear from the study that while companies spend thousands, if not millions, every year protecting their data from hackers, their biggest data security threat is people sharing too much in a public place,” Mr Parker said.

With so much privacy at risk, it’s a good thing MeetingRooms.com are here to remind us, with an entirely civic-minded motivation, that meeting rooms can be hired.

“Everyone’s getting a beard transplant!” says surgeon willing to do ridiculous procedure

Wannabe hipsters can get a beard transplant for £7,000

A check shirt, waistcoat and fixed-gear bike used to be enough to set the aspiring hipster on his way. For the whiskerless wannabe, it seems that something more drastic is now required: a beard transplant.

Rising numbers of men are having facial follicle grafts to achieve the bushy look favoured by trendy urbanites, surgeons say. The cultural link between beards and masculinity is also fuelling demand in some ethnic groups.

Source: The Times, 3rd October 2015


Men are spending thousands on beard transplants

Men said they had spent up to £14,500 on beard transplants.

Men are spending thousands of pounds to fill in their patchy beards, as the number of beard transplant procedures increases dramatically.

Men surveyed by The New York Times said they spent up to £14,500 on beard transplants to achieve a fully groomed look.

Source: Independent, 2nd October 2015


Beard transplants really are all the rage, aren’t they? In fact, is there anyone among us who haven’t had one? I’ve personally had three, because this is definitely a thing and definitely a big trend and definitely not just a PR piece for a private hair clinic to try to pretend that the niche service they offer is secretly the Next Big Thing:

The number of beard transplants performed has risen from being just 1.5 per cent of all hair restoration procedures undertaken internationally in 2012 to 3.7 per cent in 2014, according to the nonprofit medical association, International Society of Hair Restoration.

Vincenzo Gambino, president of the ISHRS said: “While a clean-shaven appearance is still popular, beards are now very trendy among more males than ever before thanks to their resurgence in Hollywood and among professional athletes.”

“For those who prefer a fuller beard or more facial hair, beard hair transplants offer excellent results.”

Well, thank god the ISHRS is here to offer us expensive and clearly-niche surgery to live up to the latest look, while using their PR to make out like this is an entirely normal state of affairs. Otherwise this whole story could have seemed utterly ridiculous.

“Some companies are really cool to work for!” says recruitment firm

These are the top 10 friendliest workplaces in the UK

The fastest growing jobs and recruiting site, Glassdoor identified the places with the friendliest atmosphere

TK Maxx has topped a list of the UK’s friendliest workplaces.

Source: Independent, 23rd September 2015


The 13 UK companies that offer their employees free beer

Work drinks provide a space for employees to let off steam

Most employees can’t wait to get to the pub on a Friday. But some don’t have to – because beer is supplied at the office in fridges packed with unlimited cans, or provided free on tap.

While workers get the advantage of a free tipple or two, employers boost morale on their team and help build trust among colleagues.

Source: Independent, 8th October 2015


Clearly someone at the Independent recently has been very keen to emphasise just how many super-cool workplaces are out there. Specifically, a recruitment company:

Glassdoor, the jobs site, put TK Maxx at the top of a list of the 10 friendliest workplaces as decided by employees.

The good thing about a door made of glass is how easy it is to see that the grass is greener on the other side… and there’s a recruitment company publishing PR in national newspapers who profit from encouraging you to make that step with them.

“You’re probably going to be too poor to be buried!” says insurance company

The not-so-great leveller: dramatic differences in cost of dying just miles apart

Bereaved cutting back on flowers and opting for cheaper coffins to curb impact of funeral inflation

It is meant to be the great leveller but in Britain even death comes with a dramatically different price tag depending on where you live.

New research has exposed wide variations – as extreme as differences in house price – between the cost of funerals and burials in different postcodes.

Source: Telegraph, 5th October 2015


Average cost of a basic funeral has leapt by £140 in one year, says new report

‘Vulnerable bereaved people are taking on increased debt; and we predict this problem will worsen’

The average cost of a basic funeral has leapt by £140 in the space of a year, a report has found.

Across the UK, the typical cost is now £3,702, a 3.9 per cent increase compared with 2014, when the average cost was £3,562, the insurer Royal London said.

Source: Independent, 5th Ocotber 2015


This story garnered a lot of coverage recently, not just in the Telegraph and Independent, but also in the BBC, the Guardian, the Mirror and a host of local sources. Which would be fine, if all of those outlets made it absolutely clear that this story was sourced by an insurance company:

Simon Cox, a funeral cost expert at Royal London, said: “Our study shows people are striving to meet funeral price hikes, which they have little control over.

“Given the stressful situation, shopping around for a funeral is often not an option.

“Instead people are coping by cutting back on non-essentials if possible, and reconsidering how loved ones are buried.

While it’s undoubtedly true that funerals are costly affairs, it’s equally true that there’s a clear financial incentive for an insurance company to ensure people are afraid that their loved ones won’t have enough money to pay for their burial once they’re gone. I’m sure it won’t be a surprise to Royal London if they see an increase in interest in their life insurance policies as a result of stories like this. As ever with PR, it’s hard to distinguish the genuine message from the sales hook.