Tag Archives: metro

“Come to our town, impregnate an attractive French girl!” says holiday board via viral marketer

Did you hear the story of the pregnant woman who fell pregnant after a one-night stand, and appealed on Youtube to track down the father? It was all over the news at the start of September:

‘I just want to see him again… if he says no then OK’; Young French tourist who posted a video looking for the Australian man she says she fell pregnant to in a one-night stand tearfully defends herself against online skeptics

The young French woman, who appealed for help online to find the man she says got her pregnant on the last night of a three month trip to Australia, has defended herself against online skeptics.

Natalie Amyot, from Paris, has returned to the Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast where she said she spent ‘a beautiful night’ with a ‘really cute’ man she fell instantly in love with.

Source: Daily Mail, 1st September 2015

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Are YOU her one-night stand? French beauty seeks Australian boy to tell him she’s PREGNANT

A STUNNING young french girl has started a viral search for a man whom she spent the night with in Australia – to tell him she’s pregnant.

Natalie Amyot, from Paris, is fast becoming a viral sensation after posting a video on Facebook about her search for a handsome young man with whom she spent the night earlier this year.

Natalie’s last night of a three month trip to Australia was spent frolicking with this mystery man, and then the pair went home together.

Source: Express, 2nd September 2015

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Just who was this girl who had an ‘amazing’ time in an ‘amazing’ place, looking for the guy she lost? Funny story…

‘Natalie Amyot’: Video of French woman appealing to find holiday romance in Australia revealed as hoax

A French woman who released a YouTube video to apparently find her Australian holiday romance after falling pregnant has confirmed it was a hoax.

The video of “Natalie Amyot” making a plea to viewers to help her find the man was met with a combination of support, derision and a hefty dose of scepticism

Source: Independent, 2nd September 2015

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As the Independent, Daily Mail, Mirror and Metro eventually concluded, rather than a true modern tale of a lady seeking out the prince charming who impregnated her on her final night of a fantastic holiday, the story is actually nothing more than a PR stunt designed to advertise holidays in the Mooloolaba area. As the culprit behind the video revealed the next day:

‘This has been a viral video for Holiday Mooloolaba. My name is Andy Sellar and I own a company called Sunny Coast social media,’ he said.

‘We do viral videos for businesses. Now I know there is going to be a lot of you that are upset by this… maybe not too happy.

‘We just wanted to put Mooloolaba on the map because it’s a wonderful place. So thank you for watching and we are going to do many, many more videos like this,’ he explained.

There’s a deeply interesting element to this story for those who follow PR, journalism and viral marketing. First, it exposes the credibility of the major news sources in the digital age, where neatly packaged stories routinely land on journalists’ laps and are passed uncritically into the news, especially where a quirky-and-slightly-sexy angle and a highly photogenic young lady are concerned. It was a perfect story for so many outlets, and as such was too good to really fact check – after all, why put in the legwork that will discover that the story is bogus, and therefore have to kill a perfectly serviceable piece of clickbait?

Secondly, of particular note is the extent of the second wave of coverage, based on the big reveal: highlighting that the story was a hoax had an even greater impact in the press, as newspapers who failed to publish the original got to gloat over their taken-in rivals, and those who did publish it get to add a coda to an quirky story and get to run the same photogenic young lady again. Newspapers like the Mail, who ran the first story with notes about skeptics who doubted the veracity – yet the paper still ran the story – added notes into the follow up to suggest they’d been the ones to break the big reveal:

A former friend of the fictional Ms Amyot confirmed to Daily Mail Australia she was in fact Alizee Michel who is believed to have studied marketing and tourism.

Jordan Foster said Ms Michel had attended the University of the Sunshine Coast – north of Brisbane – for ‘a few years’.

Which would have been a great angle, had the story not also included the video produced by Andy Sellars coming clean – something the Mail certainly did not dig up.

Finally, there’s the note from Andy about his future plans:

So thank you for watching and we are going to do many, many more videos like this,’ he explained.

Given that we can show that fooling the papers is easy when they are very willing to be fooled, and that revealing your hoax gains you a second and even greater wave of publicity, I can certainly see why Andy might be looking to score the next viral hit.

It would be easy to mistake the analysis by this blog as humourless, po-faced parade-pissing around issues that are often just a harmless bit of fun, and to an extent there are elements of the criticism that ring true. However, it’s undeniable that the newspapers are not so hard to fool, and that’s an incentive to other PR agencies to produce more falsehood-laden PR fodder, to create more spurious studies and nonsensical formulae, and to continue using the mainstream news as their own private advertising channel, at the extent of the newspaper’s reputation and the trust of its readership. It’s hard to celebrate that as a particularly good thing.

“People don’t think enough about growing old!” says life insurance provider

Young do not feel grown up until 29, survey shows

Living at home longer, playing computer games and watching children’s films among most common reasons for young people not feeling like adults

Britons do not believe they have become a “grown-up” until they reach the age of 29, it has been revealed.

Despite becoming an adult at the age of 18, the average young person believes it is another 11 years until they are actually an adult.

Source: Telegraph, 3rd September 2015

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The average Brit doesn’t feel like a grown-up until they’re 29, study finds

Ever still feel like you’re an 8-year-old with each passing birthday? Well new research has revealed that despite technically becoming an adult at 18, the average Brit does not feel like they have become a ‘grown-up’ until they reach the age of 29.

The study cites ‘living at home longer, playing computer games, watching children’s movies and a reluctance to settle for a “real job”’ as some of the most common reasons for not feeling like an adult, though speculatively I would add to that increasing life spans and the general death of adulthood in culture.

Source: Independent, 2nd September 2015

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Apparently we don’t feel like proper adults until the age of 29

You might be allowed to drink, drive, vote and all that jazz at 18, but a new study says Brits don’t really feel like proper grown-ups until we hit 29.

The research carried out by Beagle Street life insurance shows that we’re all basically big kids at heart, still watching cartoons and children’s films.

Well, let’s be honest, Frozen is amazing.

Other factors that are preventing us from letting go of our adolescence include refusing to settle for ‘a real job’, whatever that is, and living at home longer.

Source: Metro, 3rd September 2015

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Today’s generation is late to grow up, reluctant to look ahead to the future, incapable of planning – according to a survey by a life insurance company:

Matthew Gledhill, managing director of Beagle Street, said: “The research shows that growing up is less about years and more about reaching milestones in life like getting married, becoming a parent or buying a home.

“With each of these life events there is a need to take responsibility and a need to become an adult as you have people depending on you to do so.”

He added: “Whether it’s before or after the age of 29, when people do get on the property ladder or start a family it is important that they are protected and we have used technology to remove unnecessary complication and unnecessary cost so it is really easy to get great value life insurance to do just that.”

So while the article looks like a report on what age we truly grow up, it’s actually an attempt to highlight to people that they should take more responsibility – by which we mean buy whatever Beagle Street insurance is selling.

“Aren’t burgers scientifically great?” says supermarket chain’s burger promotion

 

The news was ablaze last week with talk of the scientifically-perfect burger, although what else can you expect on ‘National Burger Day’?

How to make the perfect burger: Oxford food scientist claims to have answer

Oxford University chef says perfect burger is 7cm tall, should be eaten to music, given a name and should feel as good as it tastes.

A leading food scientist claims to have created the perfect burger – and says that its smell and feel are more important than the taste.

The best burgers are 7cm tall, 5cm wide and boast nine layers, according to Oxford University chef and food perception expert Charles Michel.

Source: Telegraph, 26th August 2015

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A 7cm wide patty, crunchy lettuce and a warm bun… eaten with your hands: Chef reveals formula for the perfect burger (and how it SOUNDS is as important as the taste)

Making a delicious burger may seem as simple as whacking a beef patty between two sesame seed buns and finishing adding a slice of iceberg lettuce – but scientists are now begging to disagree.

According to new research commissioned by Asda, a great hamburger should stimulate all the senses including sound and feel.

Chef and flavour researcher, Charles Michel, said that the sensation of the burger in our hands and the crunch of the lettuce all add to the overall experience.

Source: Daily Mail, 26th August 2015

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National Burger Day 2015: What does your perfect burger look like?

In a now annual tradition, today we gather together, slap meat into a sliced piece of bread, and stick it in our mouths. Here are the burgers we dreamt of waking up to, on National Burger Day morning — and our pick of our favourite real ones.

Source: Independent, 27th August 2015

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This is how to make the ‘perfect’ burger for National Burger Day

It’s National Burger Day tomorrow and we’re already salivating in anticipation of perhaps the greatest food day of the year.

But where to go for the perfect burger?

According to chef Charles Michel, your best bet is to stay at home – and cook up his ‘perfect’ burger.

Michel is the chef in residence at Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, where they analyse how our senses work.

He has conducted some Very Important research in labs for Asda to prove scientifically what makes the perfect burger, from the individual ingredients to the entire eating experience.

Source: Metro, 26th August 2015

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Who’d have thought there was a scientist out there independently undertaking such important research as figuring out what the perfect burger consists of? And at Oxford University, no less! What a time to be alive… except, of course, that this was not legitimate research, and was by no means independently-derived:

Mr Michel’s work was commissioned by supermarket Asda to celebrate National Burger Day on Thursday.

No, indeed, this was merely a case of Charles Michel being employed to lend his name to a promotion by a supermarket chain. We can even see the full press release on the Asda website, including the infographic featured in the Telegraph and Daily Mail.

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In case you’re wondering what Asda’s angle is in this, the obligatory spokesperson quote makes everything clear:

Asda’s beef buyer Neil Moorcroft said: “Burgers have come a long way from a humble beef patty in a bun to a great British favourite and gastronomic dish.

“Wagyu burgers are full of flavour, texture and have a decent amount of fat to carry burger smells to our nostrils. It’s important to us to support food innovation and offer customers something new.

“We want people to listen to the sounds and appreciate all of their senses when biting into their perfect burgers this National Burger Day.”

As for the scientist, I’m not sure Oxford University would relish their name being bandied around quite so cheaply. Yes, relish.

“Kids have unrealistic salary expectations!” says group of bankers

Another from the ‘kids are stupid’ file now, with the finding that pupils who have just gotten their GCSE’s aren’t fully acquainted with the realities of payscales:

GCSE results 2015: Average school-leaver expects to earn almost £90,000, Santander survey reveals

Bank says only 7% would consider becoming an apprentice which shows ‘there is still a lack of awareness’

The average school-leaver expects to earn an annual salary of almost £90,000 at the height of their career – despite the UK average being £26,500, according to new Santander research.

The bank, which is one of the UK’s biggest personal financial service providers, spoke with almost 500 Year 11 students to gain an insight into their career attitudes to discover they think they’ll be taking home £89,000.

Source: Independent, 21st August 2015

GCSE results day: School leavers reckon they’re going to be on £90k a year

If you know anyone getting their GCSE results today you may want to sit them down and have a word.

The average 16-year-old reckons they will be on £89,000 a year at the peak of their career with one in five expecting to hit £100,000.

The average salary, remind them, is currently £26,500 and while some of them undoubtedly will make a decent amount of money, their expectations are pretty unrealistic.

The findings are from a Santander survey aimed at gauging young people’s career attitudes and expectations, released the day students discover their GCSE results.

Source: Metro, 20th August 2015

First off, it’s worth highlighting that the story in both papers is merely a trimmed down version of a press release by Santander – meaning no original journalism, or likely even fact-checking, was done by either the Metro or the Independent in this case:

This is particularly telling, as the press release wasn’t overly interested in kids’ earnings over their career as it was advertising Santander’s apprenticeships, as we can see from the quote in the Independent coverage:

The results also showed how apprenticeships are being perceived among the group: only seven per cent would consider becoming an apprentice which, Santander said, shows there is still a lack of awareness amongst young people of the career benefits and opportunities available through becoming one.

HR director at Santander, Vicky Wallis, described how there is the perception amongst young people that apprenticeships are only for ‘hands on’, manual professions.

While young people have a good understanding of the value of college and university, she said, there is a significant number who are unaware of the benefits of apprenticeships.

She added: “We need to encourage young people to look into the vast number of opportunities available to them through apprenticeships and the multitude of sectors involved, such as banking.”

As for the kids and their sky-high salary expectations, while what they want to earn might not be too closely aligned to reality, to have this pointed out by workers in the banking industry is something of a pot and kettle scenario.

“Kids need to know more about natural foods!” says natural food company

We’ve seen before, the ignorance of children is always a reliable hook for a Bad PR story, and last week was no difference, with one particular tale getting coverage in the Metro, the Express and twice in the Mirror:

Shocking figures reveal one in ten children don’t know APPLES grow on trees

WOULD you believe one in ten children don’t know apples grow on trees? It’s a scary reality.

New research released today has revealed far too many children aren’t aware of the origin of fruit and vegetables grown in England.

Source: Express, 19th August 2015

Fears for children’s food knowledge with one in 10 thinking bananas are made in factories

Kids also told the survey honey came from cows and chocolate bars grew on trees – and worryingly, some of the grown-ups were just as bad

Almost half of children who took part in a food poll failed to identify how 10 types of fruit were grown, with some believing bananas were made in factories.

One in 10 of the youngsters, who were aged six to 10, had no idea that apples grow on trees.

Source: Mirror, 19th August 2015

As with many Bad PR stories, these findings would be shocking if true – but as ever, that’s quite a significant ‘if’. Can it really be true that 10% of kids genuinely don’t know that apples come from trees? Can it be the case that ‘some’ kids really do think that strawberries “just popped up in the fridge”, as the Mirror’s version of the story points out? Call me highly skeptical, not least given the source of the claims:

Research conducted this week by The Fabulous Bakers, UK’s only mainstream bakery using all natural ingredients, showed some surprising results…

The Fabulous Bakers conducted its research to mark the launch of its new online film, which aims to educate and entertain children about just how fascinating and fabulous the natural world and its natural ingredients are.

Somewhat convenient, then, that ‘research’ commissioned by a company which markets itself on natural ingredients ‘proves’ that kids know nothing about natural ingredients. Of course, given that the ‘research’ consisted of an online opinion poll, it’s not hard to start to postulate as to how it might not be fully rigorous. How do you ensure the kids are answering about what they really think, rather than what they think would be fun to say? Do the kids even care about their answers? Probably not.

More importantly, can you be absolutely sure the questions were answered only by children? Here, for me, is the crux of it: parents have to sign their kids up for online surveys, and are paid a very tiny amount for each one that’s completed. If your kid isn’t there, you either ignore the survey and miss out on the micropayment… or you pretend your kid is there and bank the cash, clicking your way through the multiple-choice questions at will. Suddenly that ‘some’ people say strawberries simply appear in the fridge doesn’t seem quite so hard to explain now…

Still, at least the Fabulous Bakers got their time in the sun – or, at least, twice in the Mirror:

Victoria Willis of The Fabulous Bakers said: “It is really important that people know exactly where the food we put into our bodies comes from.

“When you look closely at how natural ingredients grow, you really do appreciate just how fabulous the natural world is.”

And it’s only when you look closely at how unnatural PR stories come about, you really do appreciate how fabulously shitty the effect of commercial PR on journalism is.

“You should sleep naked, it’ll make you happy!” says bedsheet company

Sleeping naked could be the secret to a happy relationship, survey finds.

Sleeping naked and keeping food out of the bedroom are two of the secrets to a happy relationship, according to a survey.

A poll of 1,000 people across Britain showed that those who sleep together in the nude are most content in their marriage or relationship.

Less than half of people who wear pyjamas or nighties said they were “extremely happy”, compared to 57 per cent of those who went without.

Source: Independent, 30th June 2014

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Study reveals that couples who sleep naked have a happier relationship

Good news guys, a new survey has revealed that those who sleep naked have a happier relationship *burns all fleece pyjama sets*.

The study from Cotton USA asked couples what they slept in at bedtime and then asked them to rate how happy they were in their relationship.

Source: Metro, 30th June 2014

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In a blow for the PJ-wearers among us, it appears that the more you wear to bed, the more your relationship is doomed to failure. The word ‘appears’ being key, given the source of the survey:

The research, by Cotton USA, found that sleeping habits can have an impact on relationships as arguments break out or people avoid staying at their partner’s home overnight.

Cotton USA, the makers of cotton sheets, really do want you to believe that the feel of cotton against your skin at night is enough to keep your relationship from hitting the rocks.

Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, from Cotton USA, said: “There are many factors which can affect the success of a relationship, but one factor which is often overlooked is the bedroom environment.“

There’s a good reason why the impact of nightwear is overlooked when assessing relationship success, Stephanie. See if you can guess it.

Wholesale Clearance’s PR stunt makes mugs of the nation’s media

Did you hear the one about the intern who mistook US president Barack Obama for England defender Chris Smalling? I bet you have – it’s been everywhere. Here’s the story from the Daily Express:

You MUGS! Manufacturers mistake England’s Chris Smalling for BARACK OBAMA

AFTER the team’s timid capitulation against Uruguay and subsequent exit from the World Cup England are less world leaders at football, more like a bunch of mugs.

Two successive defeats at the World Cup in Brazil has left the hopes of a nation in ruins.

Right now, there are few more important jobs than shoring up Roy Hodgson’s leaky defence…with the possible exception of leading the free world, that is.

The Three Lions might be heading home soon but do we really think the team can one day win something? Yes We Can.

If you are wondering why the chap on this souvenir mug looks a little familiar, well, it’s Barack Obama.

Source: Daily Express, 22nd June 2014

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The Daily Express weren’t the only ones to run the story – in fact it also found coverage at:

Mixing Barack Obama and Chris Smalling – what an embarrassing mistake to make! I imagine there’s an intern out there who is pretty red-faced! But, of course, it’s an easy mistake to make, isn’t it? After all, all it takes is for an intern to do a Google search for Chris Smalling but accidentally type the words ‘Barack Obama’ by mistake, then find that very famous photo that definitely exists of Barack Obama wearing this season’s England shirt, and then fail to recognise one of the most famous men in the world and use that photo in place of Chris Smalling.

After that, it’s a simple case of nobody at his company stopping to question why the President of the USA is on a mug, wearing an England shirt (we all remember when Obama posed for that photo in an England shirt, right?), and for no printer to notice the error either (and I’ve worked extensively in print design and can confirm, when it comes to printing merchandise like this, that there’s typically at least half a dozen conversations around design specs, plus the need to sign off a proof of every product before a full print run).

Clearly it’s a mistake that absolutely anybody could make… well, primarily anybody who wanted to get the name of their online surplus stock wholesale company into as many media outlets as possible:

Andy White of Wholesale Clearance UK, which specialises in buying end-of-line stock and factory seconds, said it had knowingly bought the mugs when they were offloaded by a merchandising company.

If we stop for even a moment to think about the validity of the official story behind these mugs, it’s clear it simply doesn’t hold up. Even now, more than 24 hours since the story broke, a Google image search for Chris Smalling shows hundreds of photos of the Manchester United player… and zero photos of Barack Obama.

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What’s more, a photo of Obama in an England shirt simply does not exist – so it had to be photoshopped. Are we to believe the ‘bleary-eyed intern’ accidentally photoshopped a photo of the world leader into an England shirt ‘by mistake’?

There simply is no route by which this story could have happened as told in the media. This is, in my opinion, the clearest of PR stunts from Wholesale Clearance UK.

What’s more, it’s not the first story of this nature to involve Wholesale Clearance UK. Remember when William and Kate were still pregnant, and we didn’t know if Baby George was actually going to be a Georgina? Remember the tale of the memorabilia firm who jumped the gun and printed a job lot of ‘Royal Princess’ plates? Here’s the Daily Mail’s version of events:

‘To celebrate the birth of the Royal PRINCESS’: Firm left with 5,000 unsold plates after wrongly assuming Kate would have a girl

The birth of Prince George has been a massive boon for many manufacturers, but one company lost out after it produced 5,000 commemorative plates celebrating the arrival of a ‘Royal Princess’.

Other objects produced to mark the historic birth this week include Lego, dolls and an official porcelain collection – but most had the wisdom to wait and find out the baby’s sex before launching their memorabilia.

However, one unnamed firm supposedly had a tip-off from a royal insider that the Duchess of Cambridge was set to give birth to a girl, and designed plates with the message: ‘To celebrate the birth of the Royal Princess’.

Source: Daily Mail, 25th July 2013

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Once again we have an un-named memorabilia firm making an unfortunate-but-comic screw up, and once again who bought up their useless stock?

The useless memorabilia was snapped up by online retailer Wholesale Clearance UK, which is selling the plates in lots of 50, with each set costing £149 – or £2.98 per item.

As with the Obama England mugs, this story simply doesn’t pass the sniff test: the firm created 5,000 plates assuming the baby would be a girl. Did they also release a range of plates based on the Royal baby being male? If they did, I can’t find them. There absolutely are such plates available, but none with a remotely similar design to the Royal Princess range (which are, incidentally, still on sale on Wholesale Clearance’s website). Did the unnamed company really only make Royal Princess plates? Or did they also make Royal Prince plates, but inexplicably chose to create a whole new design for them, knowing only one of the two designs would ever be on general sale?

What’s more, take a look at that Royal Princess plate – who the hell is that baby in the middle of it?

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Why would a firm commemorate the birth of a child who wasn’t yet born, at a time when they didn’t know the gender, using a photo of a baby who wasn’t the actual baby? When the more sensible alternative would be to have no photo of a baby at all? Even if the royal baby actually was female, the plate would have been worthless, given that the photo wasn’t of the correct baby. Are we really meant to believe that any memorabilia firm in the world would make such a decision, rather than running without a baby photo at all? Do we really think, even for a moment, that there is any truth to this story?

It seems clear that both the Obama mug story and the Royal Princess plate story are nothing more than paper-thin attention-grabbing PR stunts from Wholesale Clearance Ltd – and given the huge impact and universally-credulous coverage the stunt has received from the mainstream media, it seems like it was a successful stunt at that.

Hat tip to @FieldProducer and @TheMediaTweets, where I first spotted this story.

“Buy a new television, you’ll have better sex!” says voucher company offering discount TVs

Does having a TV in your bedroom lead to more sex?

Those of you that spend your precious post-work hours in bed watching Game Of Thrones, give yourself a pat on the back, because it’s you lucky chaps that are getting more sex. Hurrah!

According to a new survey, couples who have a television set in their bedroom have sex twice a week, compared to those who don’t, who only engage in love-making *snigger* once a week.

Well, it’s hard to have spontaneous sex while you’re sitting in separate armchairs, balancing a cup of tea and some HobNobs isn’t it?

Source: Metro, 29th May 2014

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Want to spice up your love life? Get a TV in your bedroom! People with a telly in the boudoir have TWICE as much sex (what ARE they watching?)

Having a TV in your bedroom may damage your sleep cycle – but it could also spice up your sex life, if the latest research is to be believed.
Those with a TV in their bedroom have sex, on average, twice as much as those who don’t, according to a new poll.

Initially all respondents were asked ‘Do you have a TV in your bedroom?’ to which three quarters, 74 per cent, of the people taking part said ‘yes’.

Source: Daily Mail, 3rd June 2014

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In the world of tabloids and cheap PR, there’s no shortage of companies and products promising you a better sex live. There are plenty of examples listed on this very website, no less.

Who is it this time pressing the big red button labelled SEX?

A spokesperson for VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, who commissioned the research, said: ‘We’re a little surprised that Britons who have a TV in their bedroom have a more active sex life than those who don’t, but it makes more sense when you look at the possible reasons why.

Oh really, discount voucher website? You believe this is genuine research, then? And definitely not about convincing people to take advantage of your discount deals on televisions?

‘However, we’d suggest that if they were wondering how to improve their sex lives, they could do so simply by purchasing a TV for their bedroom.

‘Technology is becoming such a pivotal part of everyday life and it’s becoming much more common to have a TV in your bedroom than to not.

Whilst it’s much better for your health to use your bedroom as a place to sleep and your living room as a place to watch TV, it seems that the addition of a plasma could spice things up between the sheets!’

I thought as much.

“Your partner is probably cheating on you… and you’ll never know it!” says voucher company

A third of Brits cheat on their stag and hen dos, and 88 per cent keep it from their partner

A survey has today revealed that a staggering 31 per cent of brides and grooms-to be cheat on their partners on their stag and hen dos.

Source: Metro, 3rd June 2014

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A third of Brits cheat on their stag or hen do…but you’ll probably never find out because 92% keep it from their partner

A stag or hen do is known as the last night of freedom before committing to someone for the rest of your life – and it seems that some Brits really take advantage of that.

New research reveals that a third of stags and hens cheat on their betrothed during their final night of freedom.

Worse still, you’ll probably never find out because 92 per cent of those who cheated said that they’d kept this from their partner.

Source: Daily Mail, 4th June 2014 

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Not only is your beloved definitely, definitely cheating on you, but the fact that you don’t think they are only goes to show just how good they are at keeping it a secret – it’s a perfect, watertight argument.

Of course, just as equally, it might be that your partner isn’t actually cheating on you, and that this story is merely a headline-making, eye-catching episode designed to capitalise on spreading fear and paranoia amongst relationships simply to promote a product or service in the mainstream news. But who would do a thing like that?

A spokesperson for vouchercloud, who commissioned the survey, said: ‘I think it’s no secret that when full of alcohol and banter, things can get out of hand on these events and one of these things is the issue of cheating.

‘Many people see this as their chance for a final fling before finally settling down. We were surprised to see that a good two thirds of the country remain faithful even in the excitement of their celebration.

Vouchercloud: the online discount website that says, “Your spouse slept with a stranger!”

“Britain’s Horniest students sleep around!” says website looking to help students sleep around

Did you hear the one about Britain’s Horniest Student? The Mail, Metro, Star and Huffington Post have all told the tale today of Elina Desaine, recently awarded the controversial title:

Girl who bedded three men a week named ‘Britain’s horniest student’ in revolting online competition where young women are encouraged to have sex at university for cash prize

A computer science student who boasts of sleeping with up to three men every week has been named Britain’s Horniest Student after entering a degrading online competition.

Elina Desaine, 20, doesn’t even know the names of all her sexual partners, but tries to keep track with handwritten list using descriptions such as ‘French guy’ and ‘third year’ to recall her trysts.

Source: Daily Mail, 14th November 2013

If you’re thinking to yourself “I didn’t know that was a real award”, give yourself five points for memory, but minus five points for skepticism – it’s not a real award. Instead, it’s a publicity stunt competition by the website ShagAtUni:

The University of Exeter student received £500 and a year’s supply of condoms after winning the competition run by controversial ‘no strings attached fun’ website, Shagatuni.com.

This is literally therefore nothing more than an overt advert for a sleazy hook-up site, disguised as news. In fact, here’s the full press release up on their website – demonstrating just how much the media lifted and churned the PR copy they were given.

This isn’t the first time ShagAtUni – a site whose motivation and business model is near-cryptic in its opaqueness, given the name they’ve elected to call themselves – has made the news with this competition. In fact, launching the competition itself made just the same splash in the Daily Mail, back in early October.

Given the reward in the competition – almost £1000 in total – and the nature of the site promoting it, it’s fair to say the exact details of the winner’s story are open to questioning.

Of course, that this is nothing but an advert for a sleazy website won’t stop the endless stream of slut-shaming on Twitter – demonstrating neatly the damaging and detrimental effect this level of Bad PR can have on the perceptions of women, of the young, and of the newspapers.

Here’s an ongoing selection of the public reaction to this non-story – see if you can spot a common trend:

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Ultimately, as ever, the only message of this article is this: ShagAtUni is a thing, and they want you to go there and use their service. Everything else is just a wrapper.