Tag Archives: independent

“You should know a lot more about cars!” says car website

Car news now, with the revelation that British people splash their cash on a new motor without first making sure it’s not an old banger:


Millions of first-time car buyers are purchasing a vehicle without checking it over, a study suggests

Cars are traditionally one of the most expensive purchases to make, with motorists typically spending around £3,000 on their first choice.

Choosing the wrong vehicle can be costly as well as dangerous – but 63 per cent of new drivers failed to research their purchase properly or carry out relevant checks.

Source: Independent, 1st July 2019

Millions of us spend up to £3,000 on a car – without even getting it checked

Millions of first-time car buyers are purchasing a vehicle without checking it over, a study has found.

Cars are traditionally one of the most expensive purchases to make, with motorists typically spending around £3,000 on their first set of wheels.

Choosing the wrong vehicle can be costly as well as dangerous – but 63 per cent of new drivers failed to research their purchase properly or carry out relevant checks.

Source: Mirror, 1st July 2019

Which company is so keen to remind us how little we know about cars?

Keith Adams, editor of  Parkers.co.uk , the UK’s largest consumer advice and car review website, said: “Buying your first car can be very much a head vs heart decision, with drivers often excited and overwhelmed by the experience.

“Our study has revealed a lot of people are jumping straight in and buying a car without doing the necessary research or carrying out the relevant checks and this can create problems down the line.

“We recommend new drivers buying their first car do their research by reading buying guides, learning car jargon and speaking to friends and family to ensure they get the right car for their needs.”

It’s obviously no surprise to see that 72 Point were behind this story, but I have to admit to being surprised that their PR manager Adrian Hearn was given not one but TWO by-lines by two different national newspapers for this marketing copy.

“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.

“Dating websites can lead love!” says dating website

Romance news now, with the revelation that people all over the world are falling in love:


Knowing when to say “I love you” is one of the most contentious issues when it comes to dating.

While some people wait six months before saying those three little words to their partner, others may blurt them out within days of matching on Tinder.

According to new research, the average Briton says “I love you” in 108 days, which is just under four months. One in 10 say it within a week.

Source: Independent, 27th June 2019

When should you say ‘I love you’? New survey shows Australian couples say the three words within three months – but those in the UK wait TWICE as long

How soon is too soon to tell your partner you love them?

According to the latest research from online dating website eHarmony, Australians are most likely to say those three little words in the first three months.

One in 10 even jump the gun with a declaration of love within just seven days.

Source: Daily Mail, 27th June 2019

It’s no surprise to see, then, that this story was created by a dating website, to remind you how handy dating websites are at helping people find people:

Online dating website eHarmony surveyed 2,000 Brits and found that out of every region in the UK, people from Scotland are most likely to confess their love fastest, with the average Scot taking just 84 days to say “I love you”.

“Hayfever is really annoying!” says hayfever remedy, semi-transparently

A slight change of pace now, with the news that hayfever symptoms can strike at any time:


Anyone who has hay fever will know all too well that the struggle is real come April and May.

While most people look forward to lunches on the grass, drinks in beautiful pub gardens and picnics on Hampstead Heath, those of us without our antihistamines will be spluttering and streaming miserably in a corner. 

Source: Independent, 14th June 2019

Whose behind this story, and the reason it made it into the Independent? Unsurprisingly, it’s Piri – manufacturers of the hayfever remedy Pirinase.

In fact, the ‘article’ is actually native advertising – in which Piri wrote and produced the content, and paid the Independent directly to publish it. This is clear not only from the “In Association With Piri” below the headline, but also from the clear advertising copy at the end of the piece:

While spring brings warmer weather it also marks the start of the hay fever season. If you’re one of the 18 million people affected in the UK, it makes sense to try to help prevent the symptoms of hay fever.  A single dose of Pirinase Hayfever Relief For Adults 0.05% Nasal Spray in each nostril once a day could help relieve sneezing, a runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. Find out more here,
 or click here to buy online at Waitrose.

Here’s where things get ambiguous for me: on the one hand, I do find native advertising deeply problematic, dressing up advertising copy as if it were editorial, and mimicking the styling of the host publication in what can only be an explicit attempt to disguise the fact that the entire article is an advert. That raises legitimate questions about how trustworthy the media title can be, if they’re happy to publish other people’s content, unchecked and unedited, for money.

Yet, on the other hand, at least with native advertising such as this the Independent are honest about the source of the copy. Sure, they’re doing their best to whisper their admission rather than shout it, but compare this to any other story I’ve covered on this blog – where the copy was provided by a commercially-driven source, but the truth of this is obscured from the reader, and the story is presented as if it were real news.

Native Advertising has a lot of critics, and has drawn a lot of public ire, and rightly so in my opinion. However, Bad PR rarely if ever gets the same level of public attention… and that’s because it lacks the transparency and even the basic level of honest of Native Advertising.

“People love high school movies!” says high school movies channel, via OnePoll

Film news now, with the revelation that people fondly remember films and their starring characters:

Mean Girls’ Regina George is the ‘meanest’ high school film character of all time, according to research

Mean Girls’ Regina George is the “meanest” high school film character of all time, according to research.

Rachel McAdams’ breakout role as the “Queen of the Plastics” in the 2004 cult classic took the top spot thanks to her snappy quips and cunning manipulative tactics.

She was closely followed in second place by the ever-scheming Kathryn Merteuil – played by Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions.

Source: Independent, 14th June 2019

Who put together this story, highlighting the fondness people have for high school movies?

The study of 2,000 UK film fans, commissioned by Sky Q, revealed three quarters have watched their favourite high school movie multiple times. 

Mean Girls is one of a selection of high school movies, from Grease to Pretty in Pink, being shown on Sky Cinema’s School’s Out channel from 20-28 July and On Demand.

Here’s the original press release on the SWNS website:

“Retailers who respond to complaints fare better!” says retail operations software, via OnePoll

Grumbling news now, with the revelation that shoppers complain about things when they’re unhappy, in an article written for the Independent by Grant Bailey:


Britain is a nation of online complainers, a study has revealed.

A survey of 2,000 adults found almost one-third of shoppers have left a negative review online.

Of these, seven in 10 have complained online within the last year.

And 76 per cent of those surveyed will also share a negative retail experience with someone else they know to warn them off a particular brand.

Source: Independent, 13th June 2019

On the same day, a it’s-fair-to-call-similar article appeared in the Mirror, written by Grant Bailey:

Britain is a nation of complainers with 33% leaving a negative review online

Britain is a nation of online complainers, a study has revealed.

A survey of 2,000 adults found almost a third of shoppers have left a negative review online.

Of these, seven in 10 have had a moan online within the last year.

And 76 per cent of those surveyed will also share a negative retail experience with someone else they know to warn them off a particular brand.

Source: Mirror, 13th June 2019

Eagle-eyed readers will spot that these two articles are word-for-word the same, and that the by-lined ‘journalist’ in both cases is Grant Bailey – Senior Creative Account Manager for PR company 72 Point. Here’s the original release on the 72 Point website:

This research was brought to you by, as ever, a company with a financial horse in the race:

Derek O’Carroll, CEO of retail operations platform Brightpearl, which commissioned the study, said: “Brits are famously awkward and averse to confrontation and complaining, but, with the rise of so many avenues for customer feedback, from online forms to social media, those habits appear to be changing.

“Consumers have started exercising their right to have a moan when they receive sub-par service – and brands need to start paying closer attention.”

Brightpearl are a retail operations and management software, who advertise their ability to help retailers respond to customers complaints quickly and improve customer relations – which makes sense, given what the spokesperson goes on to say:

The survey found that just 19 per cent of retailers have invested in technology or solutions to help them address the issues that most commonly cause poor feedback and ratings, such as problems with receiving items on time or overly complicated returns.

Derek O’Carroll added: “To help get the most out of online reviews, businesses need to consider solutions which allow them to fulfil the modern expectations of customers – from same-next day delivery options to real-time shipping, hassle-free returns and incredible response times.”

“With a great strategy – and the right technology – in place, firms can focus on generating the positive reviews and ratings which are more likely to capture the attention of today’s online shopper and lead to increased spend and better business.”

Not content with publishing a company’s advert, word for word as it was written by the PR company that company paid, the Mirror even go as far as to include an explicit ad call to action at the bottom of their article:

Those curious to find out more about the impact of the ‘Rise of the Review Culture’ should visit brightpearl.com/rise-of-the-review-culture.

“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.”