Tag Archives: Lizzie Parry

“Planes are filthy!” says headline-grabbing travel website

The dirtiest part of plane? It’s right in front of you

Tray trables by far trump toilets in the aeroplane germ league tables, according to a new study

The dirtiest part of a plane is not the toilet but right in front of your seat, according to new research.

An evaluation of germs per square inch on different surfaces in airports and on planes found that the average tray table harbours nearly 20 times more bacteria than the aircraft toilet flush.

Source: Telegraph, 9th September 2015


It seems that planes are so filthy that not only did the Telegraph report on this story, but the Daily Mail reported on it twice (on September 3rd and September 5th) and coverage also appeared on CNN, The Atlantic, the LA Times, ABC News and many, many more outlets beside. Clearly, some company hit PR paydirt with this story – but which company?

Travelmath.com , a travel website, sent a microbiologist to take samples from five different airports and four flights to establish which is the grubbiest part of a plane.

The story came from a travel website, who even created an infographic (now there’s a whole area of PR I’ll get into some time) which featured in both Daily Mail stories.

It might seem counterintuitive for a travel company to seemingly seek to put people off flying, but the sheer volume of column inches and news outlets the story secured demonstrates just how effective even apparently-negative stories can be – getting those headlines is all that matters, especially when both Daily Mail articles and the Telegraph coverage all included links to the companies website. Paying for that kind of advertising reach costs far, far more than it takes to put together a quick piece of badpr.

“People should care more about toothpaste!” says toothpaste manufacturer

HALF of adults fail to brush their teeth at night because they’re too tired… while others admit to only using their FINGER to ‘brush’

Almost half of adults admit to not brushing their teeth in the evening – blaming being too tired or simply forgetting, a new survey today reveals.

Experts warn by doing so people are putting themselves at risk of cavities, gum disease and even tooth loss.

Forty-five per cent of the 10,000 people taking part in the study say they have gone to bed without brushing their teeth.

Source: Daily Mail, 25th August 2015


It seems that the stereotype Americans hold of the British is true, and that we’re a nation of appalling oral hygiene. With such low standards, it’s a wonder any of us have teeth at all. What would be ideal would be for a company to come along to sell us a solution to our dental dilemma and tell us precisely how we should appreciate our smiles…

Experts have warned the survey, commissioned by GSK as part of its Love Your Mouth campaign, implies thousands of people could be at risk of dental health problems.

Ah, there it is – GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Aquafresh, Sensodyne and other toothcare products.


If that weren’t all, there are some other interesting stats in the story:

Almost one in five people surveyed said they just brush their teeth with water, without toothpaste, while 14 per cent brush their teeth using a finger.

Really? 20% of people only use water to brush their teeth? And 14% don’t even use a toothbrush? Can that even be true? Well… no, almost certainly not – at least, not when viewed in the context of what’s actually being said here. Let’s take a look at an earlier claim:

Forty-five per cent of the 10,000 people taking part in the study say they have gone to bed without brushing their teeth.

It’s quite clear here that this statistic covers people who admit to having gone to bed, in the past, without brushing their teeth – not every time, but at least once, or perhaps at least once in the last few months. So with that in mind, those 20% and 14% figures cover people who have brushed without toothpaste or even a brush at least once. Which is to say, that time you unexpectedly stayed overnight with someone, or that time you went to a hotel and forgot to take your toothbrush – you’re in that 14%. Does it mean you don’t love your smile? Of course not. Does it make it much easier for GSK’s PR team to create headline-grabbing claims? Absolutely.

“Insurance covers you for weird things happening!” says insurance company

What’s the strangest thing to ever have caused damage to your home? It’s unlikely your story can compete with those featured in the Daily StarDaily Mailand Telegraph recently:

‘A snail ate my carpet’ See some of the strangest successful insurance claims of all time

IF a badger has bashed your shed or a snail has eaten your carpet, why not try and make an insurance claim – you won’t be the first to.

Or if a deer falls in your swimming pool, you can earn money from that too.

Source: Daily Star, 23 April 2014

‘A badger ate my wall’ among successful insurance claims.

A badger that ate through a wall to escape after being locked in a shed and a dog which jumped into a television screen to find a mate are among a list of successful insurance claims filed by homeowners.

One man received more than £400 when he made a claim for a new laptop after his new baby grandson vomited over his computer as he attempted to show him off on Skype.

And in another incident insurers paid for repairs after a quick thinking squirrel smashed a window to get out of a garage owned by an 86-year-old woman in Exeter, where it had become trapped.

Animals and children were the most common causes in the list of strange claims.

However, nature, and bad luck, also played a part.

Source: Telegraph, 23 April 2014

The message is clear: you never know where the next source of danger is coming from. But don’t just take my word for it – there’s an industry spokesman backing me up:

Peter Corfield, Managing Director at RIAS said: ‘While we go out of our way to ensure that our homes and gardens are safe and secure, sometimes it’s the most unlikely events that can end up causing real damage.

Who are RIAS, you might be wondering?

The list of bizarre insurance claims was compiled by specialist insurance provider RIAS from the almost 400,000 successful cases in 2012-13.

RIAS are the people telling you to ensure your house (with them) lest a rampaging army of badgers, deer and snails descend upon you and your territory. It’s real, they’re coming, and RIAS are apparently your only hope.