Tag Archives: martha de lacey

“Men are useless and lazy at buying gifts!” says catalogue company

“Men are useless and lazy at buying gifts!” says catalogue company

Christmas is just around the corner, and with it comes the opportunity to shower your special someone with affection, attention, and (most importantly) gifts. However, some of us are better at buying gifts than others – with men bringing up the rear, present-wise, due to their naturally lazy and unthoughtful nature.

It’s actually quite a shame that men are so unequivocally useless, given how much effort women put into Christmas. Men ought to be ashamed of themselves, and ought to find some kind of way to raise their game when it comes to shopping for gifts…

Even more depressingly, one in ten women will be expected to wrap all of the presents that go under the tree… even their own, according to a survey of 1,000 mums and dads by Littlewoods…

To help men out, Littlewoods have compiled a list of what mothers really want, and it’s topped with jewellery, perfume and handbags.

Oh, thank god for that then! Thank you, Littlewoods, for coming up with the perfect solution to the problem your own research convinced us exists.

“Men should seek suggestions when buying presents!” says present suggestions website

Christmas is just around the corner, but no amount of festive cheer will bring a smile to the faces of the nation’s ladies – not while their men are all so utterly and verifiably useless!

“What are men useless at this time?” I hear you ask, in that exasperated tone you use when you’re buying into yet another lazy-stereotype-laden article produced by a cheap PR company looking to grab a few headlines. Well, this time around it’s the act of buying a gift that those useless men and their silly brains are just unable to grasp – we know this is true, because the survey says so:

And a further 40 per cent admit they buy their other half their gift while they’re out shopping together, according to research from buyagift.com, who polled 2000 adults on their Christmas shopping habits.

After all, if anyone ought to be experts in buying a gift, it has to be those reliable and trustworthy people at buyagift.com – though they may be happy to propogate irritating genderist stereotypes, they’re real experts when it comes to purchasing a thing. Even their ludicrously-named CEO says so:

Dan Mountain, CEO of buyagift.com, said: ‘There is a lot to organise at Christmas and it can be a busy and stressful time of year, but that’s no excuse to be a scrooge this December.

‘Though it looks like the nation’s men are letting the side down, many of us have no faith in our other half’s gifting abilities.

So, thank you, buyagift! Next time I’m I need someone to belittle and patronise my gender while offering gift suggestions, you’ll be the first place I call!

Too much cuddling is WORSE than breaking wind in bed with new partner

Too much cuddling is WORSE than breaking wind in bed with new partner

Bedroom bugbears now, with an exhaustive and extensive list of what turns us on and turns us off in bed. High on the list of what we love is ‘a big bed’ – which makes sense, given the source of this ‘data’:

According to research from memory foam mattress specialist Ergoflex, 41 per cent of respondents said excessive cuddling was the biggest turn-off for a first-time sheet-sharer.

If you’re looking to please your partner in bed, an Ergoflex mattress should be high on your list, according to Ergoflex mattresses.

“Some marriages end in divorce!” says divorce law firm

“Some marriages end in divorce!” says divorce law firm

It’s nice to know that people particularly enjoy the third year of their marriage – and to see so positive a story appearing in the often self-serving and cynical PR world. Thank goodness there’s nothing negative to temper this happy buzz…

By contrast, the study found the fifth year to be the hardest to overcome due to factors such as tiredness or even exhaustion amid increasing workloads – and children…

The study also found familiarity with each other, regular bickers over the sharing of chores and the stress caused by financial worries also takes its toll.

Bringing a child into the marriage around this point can also put strain on the relationship.

The report also found seven years to be ‘the wall’, which if scaled successfully paves the way for a long, happy and lasting liaison for matrimony.

Ah, spoke to soon – it’s almost as if this sugar-coated story actually hides within it a cynical piece of advertising for a company which would profit from being first in mind when marriages turn to divorce:

The in-depth study, commissioned by family law specialists Slater & Gordon, examined the dynamics of modern married life.

Family lawyer at Slater & Gordon Amanda McAlister said: ‘It’s not very often we see clients in those first few years of marriage but by the five year mark or a couple of years after they have children we often have married couples asking us for advice.

‘The buzz of the first few years where everything is new is hard to maintain and often people find that married life hasn’t lived up to their expectations.

‘We encourage anyone having doubts at this point in their marriage to really think about whether it’s a crisis that can’t be overcome.’

Little surprise then to see a divorce lawyer at the heart of this story suggesting that marriages get tough around years five and seven – a story which also picked up coverage in The Herald.

Little surprise, either, to find that this survey was conducted via Bad PR regulars OnePoll – with 87% of the resulting press release making it into the article by Martha De Lacey in the Daily Mail.

If only there was some easy way to bring to an end the cosy marriage of the PR industry and newspaper industry.

“Men worry about their weight!” says clothing retailer specialising in larger sizes

“Men worry about their weight!” says clothing retailer specialising in larger sizes

Who conducted the research highlighting and reinforcing the insecurity men feel about their bodies?

The average man is spending out £112 on training and treatments, according to the survey by menswear retailer, Jacamo, with 12 per cent spending £300 and starting preparations two months before they jet off.

Jacamo – the menswear retailers who specialise in clothes for larger men.

“We waste too much time counting calories!” says low-calorie soft drink company

There was bad news last week for anyone out there counting the calories, with the shock revelation that people spend a lot of time concerned about their weight:

Women spend YEAR of lives worrying about what they eat

A study has found the average female thinks about or talks about dieting for around 21 minutes each day.

That means they fret about their weight for 127 hours a year, which over 67 years of an adult lifetime equates to 355 days.

But surprisingly, British men are not that far behind in obsessing over their diet.

Source: Mirror, 27 June 2013

Time spent worrying about what we’re eating seriously adds up, then – almost a full year over the course of our lifetime! Of course, exactly what constitutes a thought about food, or how long such a thought can be said to have lasted, is a remarkably tricky thing to pin down… unless you don’t bother trying to pin it down, that is.

If, instead, you simply ask people to guess how much time each day is spent ‘worrying about food’, without clarifying what’s meant by the term, you can tot it all up into a neat lifetime figure to slap into the middle of your press release and publish into the Mirror and the Daily MailWhich is almost certainly what happened in this case:

Fiona Hope, of soft drinks specialists SodaStream which commissioned the study, said “Counting calories is a part of modern day life.

“Research shows Brits are obsessed with watching their weight.”

Sodastream know all about how obsessed people are with watching their weight, given that they market themselves as a low-calorie alternative to mainstream soft drinks:

If you’re counting carbs or calories, Sodastream® is the clear winner when compared to many national, store-bought brands.

So, don’t waste your life counting calories – buy a Sodastream instead!

Still, I do have to wonder how many years of my life I’ll have spent tracking and exposing PR puff pieces…

“Cleaning can be such a bore!” says cleaning company

With Spring theoretically approaching, it was nice of the Daily Mail to highlight exactly how all of the stereotypes around spring cleaning are actually entirely accurate:

What a filthy waste of time! Women spend a YEAR AND A HALF of their lives cleaning the house (but men only put in half as long)  

The women of Britain are waging a never-ending war with dirty floors, dust mites, grubby walls and unplumped pillows.

Female folk spend a staggering 12,896 hours during their lifetime tidying up and scrubbing the house, equating to a year and a half, according to new research.

But while the girls are spending, on average, four hours each week ensuring homes are spick and span, the boys admit to spending only half as long – just 6,448 hours in a lifetime.

Source: Daily Mail, 7 March 2013

Poor women, forever tidying up after we sloppy, slobbish men! If this is true, of course, as is ever the PR caveat. Especially given the source of the non-research:

The research by Rug Doctor also found that a third (32 per cent) of the population does the minimum cleaning required at home, with one in six (17 per cent) admitting to hating it altogether cleaning.

Rug Doctor, unsurprisingly, manufacture carpet cleaning machines – so while we all hate doing the little chores around the house, at least we know where to go to get a labour-saving device to help us out, now.

Still, of all of the chores we men (and, apparently, primarily women) do, carpet cleaning is pretty low in importance, right? Wrong!

Paul Fildes, marketing manager at Rug Doctor, said: ‘The survey uncovered some interesting findings about peoples’ perceptions when it comes to cleaning. 

‘While people spend a lot of time scrubbing their toilets and kitchen work surfaces, they may be missing areas that commonly harbour germs, such as door handles, and indeed their carpets which are breeding grounds for dust mites and bacteria if not deep cleaned regularly.’

Alas, it seems the most overlooked part of the cleaning regime – the carpet – is actually one of the most important… and we all owe a great debt to Rug Doctor for the research they carried out to convince us of this very fact.

What’s more, a quick glance at the watermark in the infographics reveals just who Rug Doctor paid to have this survey featured:

That would be PR firm Bright PR, putting paid to any doubt that this is anything more than a cheap PR survey masquerading as news.

“The people you work with are disgusting!” says bathroom furniture company

I work in an office, and I’m guessing many of you do too. While there are many challenges to a lifetime shackled to a desk surrounded by your fellow adminmates (point one: my colleague’s Spotify playlist), the threat to your health and sanity extends far beyond the visible spectrum:

Anyone for hot-desking? One third of office workers don’t wash hands after using the loo (and only a third of washers use soap)

With more and more people doing office shift work, job shares and flexible hours, it’s likely most of us have hot-desked at some point in our careers.

In which case the following news will send you straight to Boots for a bumper-pack of anti-bacterial computer wipes.

One third of office workers don’t wash their hands after using the loo, and only a third of people who do wash them actually use soap, according to new research.

Source: Daily Mail, 28 February 2013

Who would have thought that the mouth-breathing moron who sits behind you in Accounts Receivable showering crisp crumbs over their grimy keyboard had poor hygiene? It’s a newsworthy discovery – and one from a highly reputable source, no less:

When asked whether they wash their hands every time they visit the toilet at work, 68 per cent of people polled by ukbathrooms.com said they did, while 32 per cent said no. A very self-controlled four per cent of respondents said they never used the bathrooms in their workplace.

Unsurprisingly, the company explaining to us the importance of good hygiene and a good bathroom regime is… a bathroom furniture sales company. Because, you know, bathrooms are important.

Still, at least ukbathrooms.com are under no illusion as to the importance of their research:

While we don’t attach too much importance to the survey…

That makes two of us, ukbathrooms.com. Now, we only need to convince Daily Mail copy/paste expert Martha De Lacey…

“Men aren’t giving women the sex they need!” says erectile dysfunction treatment sellers

How’s you sex life, lately? Let me guess… underwhelming, frustrating and almost certainly far less exciting than literally every other human being on the planet’s sex life, right?

How did I know? Simple – I read it in a newspaper, near constantly, in a million different ways. You see, we’re all having less sex than everybody else, and that sex is less fulfilling and far more frustrating than the sex that everybody else is having. And this is true for everyone, obviously.

Take, as a useful example, a recent headline from the Daily Mail (I feature the Daily Mail on this site so often I really ought to assign a keyboard shortcut to those words, to cut down on keyboard wear and tear):

‘Not tonight, darling,’ say MEN: Women now more likely to want sex than their male partners (and his top ‘sexcuses’ are being tired, stressed or too full after dinner!)

It’s no longer women bailing out of late night intimacy with cries of headaches, stomach cramps and baby-related exhaustion.

These days men are actually more likely to be the ones saying ‘not tonight, darling’, with 62 per cent saying they turn down sex more frequently than their female partner, according to research.

New research from an online pharmacy in the UK has revealed that, despite common stereotypes, men are more likely to turn down intercourse with their partner than women – with ‘tiredness’ and ‘work stress’ cited as the most common male ‘sexcuses’.

Source: Daily Mail, 24 January 2013

Fancy that! What a turn up for the books, eh? Have you ever heard of anything quite so unlikely, ridiculous, controversial and utterly baffling as a man who doesn’t want and/or need to be sexually gratified every waking moment of his life? Set your flabbers to gasted. Etc.

Of course, what’s going on throughout this whole angle is something we see an awful lot of in the press – the creation of false norms of sexual behaviour which are then used as pejorative judgements, setting up the reader neatly for the discovery that their time between the sheets doesn’t match up to the fictional average, let alone the fantastical heights we ought to all be hitting with our sexual antics.

People far more educated and far more qualified than I have made the point in many ways before: when it comes to sex, there isn’t really a ‘normal’ to aim for, there’s no level to achieve, and there’s no standard we need to be aspiring to. If you, your partner and whoever else happens to be involved in your sex life all happen to be happy, you’re probably doing it right. 

Still, happiness is a hard thing to achieve in the face of media stories such as this one, with shocking bar-setting facts such as:

Only 9% say they have sex every day

The word ‘only’ being entirely load-bearing here – setting up an expectation that we ought to see more than 9% of people at it at least once every 24 hours. Of course, without adequately defining what is meant by ‘sex’ (and definitions vary right across the spectrum, even if the tabloid definition is reasonably reliably Biblical in it’s narrowness), it’s impossible for this nugget of opinion-poll nonsense to really mean anything. 

Similarly, how long would one have had to be engaging in a daily diddle before it was OK to tick the ‘every day, thankyouverymuchmister’ box in an opinion survey? To keep track, must we get our Man Card stamped after every shag, like a coffee shop loyalty card? If you missed a tumble a week ago on Wednesday, does your Man Card get taken off you? Or is that only if you have a good enough ‘sexcuse’ (a made up marketing word forming the peg of this piece)?

What we have here is a self-reported online study, which found that men think they turn down sex more often than their partner does. Presumably we’re only talking about heterosexual couplings, else the data would be bafflingly skewed. But as this is self-reported, how does the results from the men surveyed compare to the reports from female respondents in the poll?

The study, conducted by ukmedix.com, polled 1,922 British men aged over 18 and in a long-term relationship, and was conducted after the site noticed a marked increase in searches for libido enhancing medication throughout the first half of January.

There were no women included in the poll – because the company behind the poll weren’t using this story to sell to women, this time. Instead, what we have is a cynical marketing exercise in taking the often perfectly-healthy gamut of sexual desire and shoehorning it into an unwieldy and often-unachievable set of expectations, in order that an online pharmacy may then provide the chemical solution to the situation they’ve pretended is a problem:

Thomas O’Connell of ukmedix.com, commented on the findings: ‘Common stereotype would have us believe that it’s usually the fairer sex rolling out the not tonight darling’ line, but according to our results this is far from the truth.

‘According to our results, men up and down the UK are most frequently turning down intimacy, and to see the differences in “sexcuses” given and the real reasons for turning down sex was quite revealing.

‘It seems that men aren’t often honest with their partner about their reasons for avoiding intimacy, and it’s not work stress or tiredness getting men down; but confidence and libido issues. 

‘Whatever is getting in the way, we’d always suggest that men seek help to boost their love lives. There is no “normal” and how often couples get intimate is completely up to them, but if problems are affecting your love life, it’s always best to seek help rather than letting your love life suffer.’

While it is a good idea to seek help if you feel you have a genuine problem, it’s not a good idea to seek that help from an online pill-pusher who promotes themselves through (potentially intentionally) badly-conducted online opinion polls created with the expressed goal of convincing you that you have a problem, and that the solution can be bought for a relatively modest price. 

Valentine’s Day retailers say it with flawed surveys

It’s February 14th, and in accordance with tradition the nation will be heaving tonight with the sounds of relationships the country over being consumated. Specifically, the relationships between PR agencies and their satisfied clients, as retailers and businesses cash in on the Valentine’s Day media free-for-all.

While the exploitation of the most commercial of the Hallmark Holidays is nothing new, 2013 certainly hasn’t let the side down – the first rains of the Valentine’s PR monsoon falling as early as January, with pioneering research into the evolution of the pet name (Daily Mail, January 28th) published in the Daily Mail:

Move over darling! Old-fashioned favourite beaten into third place as babe and baby become Britain’s top terms of endearment

The research found that terms of affection such as ‘darling’ and ‘sweetheart’ have been superseded by more modern and streamline pet-names like ‘baby’ and ‘love’ (both of which were actually only invented in the year 2000 as part of Britain’s preparations for the Millennium Bug). These findings have far-reaching implications, according to the researchers – who coincidentally are a sex toy retailer named after two common pet names:

Lovehoney co-founder Neal Slateford said: ‘The ways pet names have changed over the years show we are getting even more affectionate towards each other and a little less formal.

‘As a nation, we are learning to lighten up when it comes to love and sex. That has to be a good thing.’

If I were an online sex toy retailer, I’m sure I’d find ample reason to agree. Still, that the survey produced media-friendly results of potential benefit to the company carrying out the research should in no way undermine the credibility of this online, self-reported and entirely-subjective poll, even as further findings from this PR exercise are explained:

And while the British might have a reputation for being unromantic, the poll found that the opposite is true, with 72 per cent saying that Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to show a partner how much they appreciate them.

If anybody is still unsure how to show a partner how much they’re appreciated, a Mr Slateford at Lovehoney.co.uk has a number of expensive suggestions for you. Or perhaps you could always turn to vibrator vendors ‘Desire and Pleasure’, whose own online self-promotional pseudo-research was featured in The Sun (The Sun, February 7th):

CASH-strapped Brits are shunning expensive romantic nights out this Valentine’s Day — and stocking up on SEX TOYS instead, a survey claims.

The unromantic reputation of Britons was similarly noted by British tourist board ‘Visit Britain’, who pointed out (Daily Mail, February 10th):

Britain ‘too stuffy’ to host romantic visit as Italy and France is preferred by tourists

While we may be too stuffy to be romantic, we’re not too stupid to recognise reverse psychology. The lack of romance in modern-day Britain is clearly an area fraught with controversy, with a study published by Interflora insisting that Britons are a nation of romantics who fall in love at first sight (Daily Mail, February 6th), with one in five Brits positive the best way to declare new-found love is with a nice bunch of flowers. If only they could find a suitable florist.

While there’s clearly some rigorous academic dispute over the romance levels of the average Brit, at least one thing is certain – somewhere in Britain can be arbitrarily declared as more romantic than everywhere else. After all, in any closed set with random variance, there has to be an upper and lower limit – and what better way to highlight normal statistical distribution than by letting people know you sell perfume (Daily Mail, February 1st)?

When it comes to Valentine’s gifts, we’ve an abundance of research – each piece diligently compiled by online survey companies using questions written very carefully by PR companies on behalf of businesses aiming to use Valentine’s Day to secure column inches. Voucher website Groupon, for example, revealed flowers and chocolates just don’t cut it (The Sun, February 12th), and instead a gifts need to be memorable – rather like one of the experiences you can buy inexpensively on voucher websites like Groupon. And heaven help you if you get last-minute flowers from a petrol station – voucher website NetVoucherCodes.co.uk have research proving such an idea is a no-no (Daily Mail, February 11th).

On the other hand, as retailer Debenham’s helpfully researched, it’d be a good idea to buy the lady in your life some ‘posh knickers’ (Daily Mail, February 6th). Or perhaps you should take part in the British Heart Foundation’s charity initiative to write your partner a love note – after all, the BHF’s own research proves women prefer a simple, thoughtful gesture to an expensive gift anyway (Daily Mail, February 12th). But remember to buy your mistress something nice, too (Daily Mail, February 12th) – an extramarital dating website has research which says this is wise.

For those in long-term relationships, Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily all department-store knickers and online vouchers – there are innumerable pitfalls into which the unsuspecting lover could fall. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of PR-led research with commercially-valuable conclusions to guide an impressionable couple – with advice from MSN to avoid relationship-killing public display of affection (Daily Mail, February 12th) and data produced by internet security experts McAfee (Daily Mail, February 5th) proving that not only are your exes cyber-stalking you, but that those explicit photos on your smartphone are vulnerable to being hacked unless you can find an expert willing to sell you internet security. Even married couples aren’t safe from the relationship curse, with research proving that excitement, romance, sex and affection are dead in the water after three and a half years of marriage (The Telegraph, February 9th) – that the data was gathered by Co-op Foods probably has nothing at all to do with their Valentine’s Meal Deal and associated ad campaign.

Of course, if all else fails, you could always opt for the free Valentine’s Day Divorce (Daily Mail, February 12th). After all, there’s only 365 days left until Valentine’s Day – and there’s a hell of a lot of spurious, commercially-driven and scientifically-worthless online surveys to fill in before then.

Originally published in The Guardian, 14 February 2013