Tag Archives: mirror

“Dads can teach us so many artisan crafts!” says craft goods website ahead of Father’s Day, via OnePoll

Father’s Day proved a reliable a gift for PR companies this year, with plenty of companies building their marketing copy around the theme of dads:

Millennials reviving ‘traditional’ skills like knitting and carpentry – thanks to dads

Millennials are reviving a string of traditional tasks once destined for the history books, according to research.

A study into the traditional skills across generations found young adults are adept at skills such as framing pictures, calligraphy and knitting.

Crafting handwritten letters to keep in touch with loved ones is also among the tasks making a comeback.

Thirteen per cent are even learning woodwork and carpentry – and hand-making items such as tables, chairs, and bookshelves.

Source: Mirror, 9th June 2019

Who felt the need to celebrate dads and their propensity for passing down their crafty skills?

Ella d’Amato, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer for notonthehighstreet, which commissioned the study of 2,000 adults said: “This study is reassurance that practical artisan skills are very much alive – despite a common assumption that young adults don’t have time to be very ‘hands on’.

If the commercial angle isn’t immediately apparent, bear in mind that Notonthehighstreet lists handmade goods by small independent businesses… and according to the company’s marketing hook, many of those business owners learned their craft trade from their dads:

Ella d’Amato for notonthehighstreet added: “We love to see dads of all ages passing their skills onto their sons and daughters.

“In fact, many of the small creative businesses that sell on our platform are using these skills to run successful businesses.

Unsurprisingly, this whole article is a product of 72 Point, from the collation of marketing ‘research’ via OnePoll, to the writing and distributing of the copy – which the Mirror, once again, by-lines to a 72 Point staff member.

“British people like to avoid other Brits while abroad!” says exclusive villa company

National embarrassment news now, with the report in the Mirror that Brits abroad do all they can to avoid standing out:

More than HALF of Brits hide accents when abroad to avoid bad stereotypes

Listen in, mes amis, nearly un in dix of us admit using a fake accent while abroad to avoid idle chit chat with fellow British holidaymakers.

Embarrassed trippers pretend not to speak English and put on cod French, Spanish or German tones.

Source: Mirror, 15th June 2019

While the headline finding is the dubious claim that we Brits try to blend in when we are abroad, it’s actually a secondary stat that carries the main marketing message this PR was designed to convey:

Seven per cent ran off when they heard a fellow Brit and five per cent said they had hidden to avoid UK holidaymakers.

And 69 per cent said they would rather stay in a villa than a hotel, so they didn’t run the risk of meeting another Brit.

Who on earth would benefit from spreading the idea that Brits abroad will be much better off in a villa than in a hotel?

The poll was carried out on behalf of Exclusiveprivatevillas.com.

Of course it was.

“People love classic old pop hits!” says classic pop radio station

Pop news now, with the news that the definitive, official best year in music has been objectively decreed:

Brits reveal their favourite year for music – and the greatest decade

It’s official – 1984 was the best year for music according to Brits.

The year of Prince’s Purple Rain album, The Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s debut and the notable Band Aid record ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ beat all other years from the 70s through to the 90s.

It was also the year George Michael achieved five top 10 singles and Frankie Goes to Hollywood spent five weeks at number one with “Relax”.
Second place went to 1985 with 45 per cent also choosing the colourful eighties as the top decade overall for music.

Source: Mirror, 11th June 2019

It was news that was, unsurprisingly, something of a gift to radio stations, whose running orders for the day could revolve around playing the top hits of 1984, and asking callers which year they felt was the greatest year for pop music.

That the story was so convenient for radio stations is no surprise, given the company who paid for the story to be put together:

The study was commissioned by Greatest Hits Radio.

Presenter Mark Goodier said: “The results prove how defining the 80s were as a decade for music, artists such as Queen, Wham! and Madonna were at their peak and of course the Band Aid release bought together some of the biggest acts.

As for the story itself, the Mirror attributed it to Alice Hughes, a Creative Account Manager for PR company 72 Point, whose marketing copy the Mirror reproduced entirely.

“All sorts of people can find love online!” says dating app

Dating news now, with the apparent revelation that what people find attractive online might not be what might be expected:

The most eligible online daters are ‘big drinkers who live at home with their parents’

People who live at home with their parents and drink heavily have been revealed to be the most eligible daters online.

According to research honesty is also one of the most attractive traits when it comes to online dating, with those boasting polished profiles and sculpted abs most likely to miss out.

Source: Mirror, 7th June 2019

Who can we thank for this fascinating sociological insight?

But ‘Living with parents’ and ‘heavy drinker’ came out as the most right-swiped on Badoo’s new profile badges feature.

Analysing 5,000 users, the dating site found people who reveal niche information, about themselves such as whether they want children someday, were more popular than those who didn’t.

Far be it for me to suggest the integrity of this analysis might be compromised, but it is certainly handy for Badoo to be able tell users that their less desirable traits might actually be date-winners.

There’s also an obvious selection bias at play: Badoo’s information, even if it is honestly presented, can only speak to the behaviours of people who have signed up to Badoo; there’s no reason to believe their ‘findings’ extend beyond their own platform.

Is being a ‘heavy drinker’ genuinely a surprisingly attractive trait, or is it just that heavy drinkers might be more likely to seek love on Badoo than in other places? These are the kind of questions that a genuine study would need to confront; they’re also exactly the kind of questions you wouldn’t ask in a marketing-first piece of PR messaging.

It is at this point that it’s worth highlighting the author of the Mirror’s article: Jack Peat, the Head of Digital at PR company 72 Point.

“It’s important to have a good office environment!” says office space company, TWO years ago

Whenever I give lectures on Bad PR, I always try to explain that the life of a PR story doesn’t end when it hits the newspapers – that’s just the start of its life, and once its published, it’s impossible to predict where the same story will surface again.

Sometimes, those stories surface years later, their headline facts stripped of the original (commercially-compromised) source, and used to justify a position far beyond what it was intended to support. Other times, they just resurface in a weird way – today, I have an example of the odder end of things.

Take this recent story in the Mirror:

How many minutes, hours and days you work for free by cutting your lunch break short

It’s something many of us do, but it all adds up – and could even cost you

Not taking your full, allotted lunch break is something so many of us do.

Maybe it feels as if there are not enough hours in the day to get through your work. It could be ingrained in the culture of your workplace. Or perhaps you just want to brown-nose your boss.

Whatever your reasons, that lacklustre, rushed desk “picnic” is doing you no favours.

Source: Mirror, 6th June 2019

In looking, as I always do, for the commercial entity who placed this story in the newspaper, I was slightly surprised to see the Mirror attribute the story to Refinery 29:

If you’re not paid through your lunch, then, according to Refinery 29 , that equates to working 6,032 minutes for free each year.

It seemed odd to me that a lifestyle blog like Refinery 29 would pay for PR to appear in the Mirror, so I followed the story through to find it had been posted on Refinery 29’s website… in July 2017!

From there, we can see the originator of the piece was Workthere.com – an office space company. Except, they claim to have posted their PR ‘research’ in September 2018… one year AFTER it appeared in Refinery 29, and a year BEFORE that appeared in the Mirror.

So, when was it? Was this story from 2017 as Refinery 29 say, 2018 as Workthere claim to have written it, or 2019 as the Mirror reported it? There is one last clue that helps us unravel the mystery – according to Workthere’s original press release, the research was carried out in June 2017:

So it seems like Workthere published this ‘research’ in 2017, at which point it was picked up by Refinery 29. Then, a year later, Workthere updated the publication date of their blog, to make the information seem more current. And then, slightly inexplicably, a further year later the Mirror published the story, attributing it to the middlemen, Refinery 29.

In any case, at the heart of all of this is a commercial message to justify the outlay on a marketing survey, and a spokesperson to drive that message home:

Cal Lee, the founder of Workthere says it’s important for offices to instil a lunch hour culture in order to increase wellness at work. Employers are, he says, “increasingly recognising the benefits of ensuring staff are content, happy, and most importantly in good health.”

He continued: “Part of this is creating a productive office environment where employees feel comfortable taking a longer lunch break and engaging with colleagues.”

“People should buy food that lasts longer!” says long-life milk company

What’s the oldest foodstuff in your fridge right now? And how long will you leave it before you consider it officially “off”? According to the latest PR ‘research’, for the average Brit it might be longer than ideal:

Millions of Brits tucking into food that is past its sell-by date – some by months

Researchers who polled 2,000 adults found we will comfortably consume cheese 10 days after its ‘best before’ date, devour bread five days past its best and feast on fish three days after its freshest

It also emerged Brits will cook raw meat three days past its use by date and consume butter as many as 10 days later. 

Source: Mirror, 6th June 2019

It’s no coincidence that the photo example of food that might be past it’s use-by date shows several pints of milk, nor is it a coincidence to see milk feature prominently in the article:

It also emerged milk and bread are being wasted more than any other products, in line with figures from sustainability charity WRAP which found 490 million pints of milk are wasted every year in the home. 

That’s because the company who put this story together are Cravendale, the long-life milk people:

Despite this, the research commissioned by Arla Cravendale found more than half of UK households still wish fresh food lasted longer, as fears about food waste continue to rise.

And to really put the long-life cream on top, we get a quote from the company spokesperson to drive the commercial message home:

Emma Stanbury from Arla Cravendale said: “It’s always a shame when things go to waste, especially when it comes to fresh foods such as milk, that haven’t lasted as long as we hoped. 

“We are often told by consumers that they feel guilty when have to pour milk away. 

“However, making small changes at home means we can all help to play a part, such as switching to products that stay fresher for longer.”

Company who makes long-life product commissions survey that finds people want a long-life product, and therefore advises people to buy the long-life product. National news, clearly.

“You should care about knights!” says TV channel running show about knights

Few things are as effective at grabbing PR headlines as running a story with some celebrity names in the headline:

Brits calling for JK Rowling and Stephen Fry to be knighted

One in five Brits think JK Rowling should be KNIGHTED, according to a study.

The Harry Potter author, who is set to release four new eBooks next month giving fans a chance to read more about the ‘wizarding world’, topped the poll.

A further one in six Brits would like to see Stephen Fry pick up the title, while Joanna Lumley was another popular choice.

Source: Mirror, 6th June 2019

Who is that wants us to care who has and has not been knighted?

The research was commissioned by TV channel HISTORY, to launch series two of historical fiction drama Knightfall, starting Tuesday 2nd July at 9pm.

“You should show your dad you love him!” says shaving company ahead of Father’s Day

A few weeks ago, it was perhaps no surprise to see companies gearing up for Father’s Day in the UK, with PR stories like this:

Barack Obama and Muhammad Ali beaten by dad in poll of UK male role models

A string of sporting heroes, Hollywood actors and high-profile figures have all taken a backseat in a study of male role models – which was topped by dear old dad.

A poll of 2,000 UK men found one in four named their father as their top role model, ahead of Barack Obama , Muhammad Ali and Bobby Moore.

Men also voted their grandad into third place, with Winston Churchill the only famous figure to rank higher.

Source: Mirror, 5th June 2019

Who were the company who wanted to remind you that dads are the best a man can get?

The study was commissioned by Gillette to launch #MyRoleModel, a campaign which celebrates fathers and recognises other important role models who help shape and make men be the best they can be.

To drive the brand message home, we can see that the accompanying photo shows Ian Wright, ambassador of Gillette’s new campaign, putting his Gillette razer to use.

To be fair to Ian Wright, the quote he provides (or at least puts his name to) in the press release expresses some commendable sentiments:

Ian Wright, who worked with Gillette, said: “This Father’s Day I’m grateful to the men who helped me become who I am today.

“These men encouraged me to be the best I can be and I enjoy the responsibility that comes with being a role model and passing on what I’ve learned to the next generation, whether that’s my children, my community or some of the footballers I speak to who are now experiencing what I did in my professional career.

“I always encourage them to be the best version of themselves, no matter what that may be.”

It’s encouraging to see sensitivity and responsibility as prominent messages to men today, and this isn’t the first time Gillette has taken a stand against toxic masculinity – they notably ran an advert earlier this year which encouraged men to eschew sexist and predatory behaviour, and to be better versions of themselves.

The backlash the advert received is in itself a demonstration of how vital that message is… however, it’s hard for an experienced critic of the PR world to see this as an entirely altruistic campaign. It’s equally likely that Gillette’s PR team have realised there’s money to be made in being on the right side of history, and their new-found sensitivity is more of a marketing look than a genuine core value of their brand.

Time will tell whether Gillette keep pursuing a progressive and positive message in the long term, or whether they revert to old, reliable tropes of commercialised masculinity.

“All the cool kids are going on diets these days!” says diet plan

Here’s another great example of a PR story that neatly tucks the commercial angle into a secondary stat, behind the attention-grabbing headline stat:

One in three adults have lied about being on a diet due to shame, study finds

A third of adults who have dieted told NO ONE about it because they were ‘ashamed’, according to a study.

Researchers found many of those who have changed their diet were worried about failing publicly, while others were embarrassed to be dieting in the first place.

Similarly, a third would rather diet alone than do it jointly with someone else.

Source: Mirror, 3rd June 2019

Who placed this PR?

Commissioned by The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan, the new stats show Brits are embarrassed to admit they are eating healthy to try cut a few pounds.

You might think it strange that a diet plan would run with a headline suggesting a diet might be something to feel ashamed about – however, it all makes sense when you notice their real commercial angle, in the next paragraph:

Commissioned by The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan , the research of 2,000 adults found 69 per cent of the population have been on a diet at one time or another.

The ‘shame’ of dieting combined with a lack of support are the reasons healthy eating plans often don’t work out.

So while they might lead with the notion that diets are shameful, they reverse that impression with their main hook, claiming that almost 7 in 10 people have been on a diet, and that it is only stigma and shame that stops people owning up to it in public. Stigma and shame that headlines such as this arguably serve to add to, incidentally.

Mark Gilbert, nutritionist at The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan, said: “Diet shouldn’t be a dirty word – no one should feel ashamed of changing their food intake to achieve their desired goals as long as the diet contains proper nutrition and their goals are appropriate for them.

“Music can be quite calming” says herbal calming remedy with no evidence of effectiveness

How do you like to wind down when you’re stressed? One particular product wants you to think about how you like to relax.

Songs which help Brits ‘keep calm and carry on’ revealed

Louis Armstrong’s ‘It’s A Wonderful World’ is the song busy Brits are most likely to play to help them make it through the day, a study has found.

The soulful 1967 ballad beat The Beatles classic ‘Let it Be’ and Elton John’s ‘Your Song’.

Other popular go-to artists for taking time out include Aretha Franklin, Adele and Ed Sheeran.

A study of 2,000 adults found pop and classical are the favoured choice to help us relax.

Almost half admitted music helps them cope with their hectic lifestyle.

Source: Mirror, 29th May 2019

Which company might have a vested interest in positioning themselves as a brand that cares about your relaxation needs?

The research was commissioned by Rescue Remedy to encourage Brits to tune into inner positive playlists during overwhelming times.

Rescue Remedy’s brand manager, Sandra Niland, said: “It’s clear from the research that our moods and music are closely linked.

“Today’s hectic and ‘always on’ lifestyle can quickly get on top of us and everyday things from the commute to managing a balance of work, family and social life can seem overwhelming.

“We’re encouraging Brits to tune into their inner positive playlist and relate music to feelings of calm and relaxation.”

Rescue Remedy, for the uninitiated, is a brand of Bach Flower remedies – a form of alternative medicine in which ludicrously small amounts of flower extract is diluted into large amounts of water or brandy, and then sold as a cure for what ails you.

It’s also worth pointing out that the marketing and PR budget for companies like Rescue Remedy invariably dwarf the money those companies spend on research and development. Whether their product works or not seems to matter much less to the company than whether they can persuade people to spend their money on it.