Tag Archives: mirror

“The attractive celebs pictured here wear fake tan!” says cosmetics retailer

Which UK city beat Essex to be fake tan capital of the United Kingdom?

A survey has found people in this city buy more bottles of fake tan each year than any other city with girls taking their lead from perma-tanned celebs

Liverpool has been unveiled as the tan-gerine capital of the UK.

A survey has found Scousers buy more bottles of fake tan each year than any other city.

Source: Mirror, 23rd August 2015


Fake tan mitts at the ready! Liverpool is crowned the most bronzed city in Britain knocking the tangoed residents of Essex into second place

Essex has long been considered the tanning capital of the UK, but it appears the home of Amy Childs, Lauren Goodger and co has been out-bronzed – by the tangerine ladies of Liverpool.

Beauty giant Superdrug has released its 2015 Tanning Map Of Britain, which shows the areas that hit the (fake tan) bottle the most. The research found that scousers fake it best while Essex’s Basildon came in second place.

Girls in the north of England are clearly taking the lead from sun-kissed celebrities like former Strictly Come Dancing champion Abbey Clancy, WAG Coleen Rooney and model Danielle Lloyd.

Source: Daily Mail, 26th August 2015


While it’s undoubtedly true that one location in the country must inevitably spend more than others on buying a commonly-bought product, it’s fair to say that’s more of a hook for the story than a piece of groundbreaking research. It’s fairer still to say it’s primarily an excuse to pack the paper with photos of well-known celebrities to draw a little attention to the company behind the story:

The survey found Superdrug stores sell one million bottles of fake tan in the UK each year with 25-34 year olds spending the most on it.

Megan Potter, Head of Beauty at Superdrug said, “It’s fascinating to see a dramatic difference in sales across various cities in the UK.

“Liverpool ladies are renowned for their glam style and always look red carpet ready wherever they go.

“We’ve also seen a significant growth in sales of bronzing in the Essex area with programmes such as The Only Way is Essex fuelling the appetite for a perma-tan.”

Interestingly, if not predictably, this glorified advert made quite a splash in the local papers – not just in Liverpool as it was crowned top of the pile, but also in third-placed Manchester and fourth-placed Birmingham, too. Which just goes to show that while fake tans might be popular, fake news stories are even more so.

“Safe drivers are totally sexy!” says safe driving course

Road rage is a turn off for women but men find bad drivers funny

Speeding and texting while driving can also reduce attractiveness to women by 50 per cent, says scientific study

Bad driving is far from sexy … road rage, illegal overtaking and tailgating are the ultimate turn-offs for women.

Speeding and texting at the wheel can reduce your attractiveness to women by 50%, the first ever scientific study into the link between driving skills and desirability has found.

Source: Mirror, 27th August 2015


Boy racers beware! Aggressive drivers lose out to competent male motorists when it comes to impressing women

Men behaving badly behind the wheel are a physical turn off for more than four out of five women, a new report reveals.

Boy racers who display road-rage, make rude or aggressive gestures, show off by driving too fast or revving hard to impress passengers really do set female pulses racing – but for all the wrong reasons.

And because their performance leave much to be desired, they are more likely to be overtaken in the romance stakes by more competent male drivers who can demonstrate smooth clutch control and good lane discipline.

Source: Daily Mail, 27th August 2015


We’ve seen the maxim ‘sex sells’ hold true consistently in the PR industry on this blog in the past, but who could possibly be trying to use the lure of sexual attraction to encourage safer driving?

Men showed a less mature emotional reaction, finding bad drivers to be amusing rather than repulsive, according to the study conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

The IAM teamed up with prominent behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings for the study using videos of both good and bad driving.

That’s right – taking an advanced safety course is actually the way to a woman’s heart.

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive, said: “The results from the survey piqued our interest, so we enlisted Jo and a team of scientists to put the science behind the theory.”

By ‘putting the science behind the theory’ Sarah actually means ‘paying a PR company to find a scientist willing to pretend this is more than an advert’.

“Bad driving not only has an impact on the safety of our roads, but can also affect your relationships. Being able to manoeuvre properly and drive carefully should be much higher up on people’s priorities.”

While I couldn’t possibly disagree with the safe-driving sentiment, I do wish the IAM put accuracy and standards somewhat higher up their priorities.


“Most women want breast augmentation surgery!” says cosmetic surgeon

Big boobed Britain: Soaring numbers of women in the UK still want bigger breasts – despite reductions leading the way in nearly other country

  • Research claims 69% of internet searches in UK were for enlargements
  • In July 16.5k women searched for breast enhancements in Britain
  • Eight in 10 women in America who are looking online want reductions
  • Only other country listed favouring bigger breasts was India

They may be objects of desire to men the world over, but it is UK women who are leading the way at looking into boob-enhancing surgery.

New research has found that the vast majority of women considering breast surgery in the UK are after enlargements, rather than going down in size.

The data, collected from internet searches by women all over the world throughout July 2015, discovered women in most countries seeking breast surgery online were actually looking at reductions.

Source: Daily Mail, 20th August 2015

Can you guess which country has the most boob jobs in the world?

In some countries the majority of women are seeking to increase their bust – while in others, most want a breast reduction

It might sound like a weird joke, but the UK are the only country where women are regularly seeking breast ENLARGEMENTS.

In research which goes against the grain, the vast majority of women looking into breast surgery in the rest of the world are seeking smaller cup sizes, as opposed to bigger.

Despite this, breast reductions did grow in popularity in the UK from 2,900 in 2013 to 4,400 in 2015.

Source: Mirror, 21st August 2015

Let’s pause for a moment and ask: what is this story actually telling us? Is it telling us that most women in the UK want breast augmentation surgery? Or that 69% of all internet searches in the UK was to look into that surgery? Of course not. What we’re actually being presented here, as if it were news, is the ‘finding’ that of the people who search for breast-related cosmetic surgery, more were looking to go up a size than down. Given that there are, broadly speaking, only those two options, it’s not surprising that one of them came out on top.

Equally unsurprising is the source of the ‘research’, and the company who paid for this story to make the news:

The data, which comes from research conducted by ClinicCompare.co.uk, has discovered that the vast majority of those seeking breast surgery online were looking for reductions in countries other than the UK.

In case you were in any doubt, ClinicCompare are a cosmetic surgery company.

Here to hammer home the point is their spokesperson:

Agnese Geka from Clinic Compare comments: “For the first time the majority of women globally feel that their busts are too large rather than too small, and their motive for surgery isn’t cosmetic – it’s practical.

“The enduring popularity of breast enlargement in the UK is a stark reminder that, for now at least, vanity still trumps quality of life.”

What’s particularly interesting is the handy double-edged sword in the story – on the one hand, you can embed the notion that women around the country are clamouring for breast augmentation surgery, normalising the procedure in the eyes of your target market and inevitably making them question their own physique; on the other hand you can highlight the practicality of breast reduction, and it’s boost to ‘quality of life’. That way, you engage both sides of the fence, and look like a socially-responsible and magnanimous company to boot.

Until someone comes along and highlights the fact that this whole story – data, lead and spin – is nothing but an advert for your cosmetic surgery business, that is.

“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.

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


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.


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


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?


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.

“You should be more adventurous, you coward!” says hotel chain promoting adventure holidays

A nation of scaredy-cats: Two-thirds of Britons think they are adventurous, but just 29% have tried adrenaline sports (with Londoners and the North East the bravest)

Two-thirds of Britons believe they are adventurous,but actually we are a nation of scaredy-cats, according to new research.

While 64 per cent of adults believe they are daring and fearless, just 29 per cent of us have actually been brave enough to try extreme sports like abseiling, rock climbing and bungee jumping.

And our bravery depends on where we live, with Londoners and those from the North East and West Midlands named as the most adventurous in the country.

Source: Daily Mail, 4th June 2014


The most interesting thing about this particular PR-derived article is that the same story appeared almost a fortnight earlier in the Mirror, with a notably higher degree of transparency:

Two thirds of British adults think they’re adventurous, but we’re a nation of scaredy cats

Nearly two thirds (64%) of British adults perceive themselves to be a fearless adventurous type of person.

However, a new study by Travelodge has revealed we’re actually a nation of scaredy cats, as only 29% of Britons has actually had the courage to take on an adventurous activity.

In response to this misconception and to celebrate it’s new ‘Get Up & Go’ campaign, Travelodge has commissioned the UK’s first series of interactive 3D adventure postcards.

Source: Mirror, 23rd May 2014


As the Mirror makes abundantly clear three times in the first four paragraphs, this story is nothing more than an overt piece of promotion for a hotel chain, and their new campaign to encourage people to take holidays around the UK, and do adventurous things.

Particularly interesting in the Mirror’s surprisingly-transparent coverage is the open tagging of Travelodge at the foot of the article:


Which then leads the reader into a filter of all recent Mirror stories taken directly from Travelodge press releases:


It’s hard to know what to make of this from the Mirror – are they at the vanguard of a new push for transparency in journalism? Or is this the accidental side-effect of an over-eager web index? Either way, it makes my job a hell of a lot easier, and for that I thank them.

“Biscuits are better than beer, sex, sexy beer and beery sex!” says biscuit maker

May 29th was ‘National Biscuit Day’, If you’re wondering why that’s even a thing – don’t worry, it isn’t. As is almost always the case we these national day/week/month/millenia tales, the whole exercise is nothing more than an excuse to peg product-laden stories into the press under the auspices of topicality. Take this effort, featured in the Daily Express:

Fancy a beer? We’d prefer a biscuit! McVitie’s survey reveals Britain’s love for treats

THE great British biscuit is a vital part of our national lifestyle, a survey reveals.

Most people eat an average of two a day.

And nearly every British household – 99.2 per cent – buys biscuits during the course of a year.

Even young people love a rich tea or a digestive with a cuppa so much that the study of 2,000 people reveals 30 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds prefer a biscuit to a glass of wine or a pint of beer.

Source: Express, 30 May 2014


Preferring a biscuit over a beer might sound an unlikely choice – although, that said, a real ale doesn’t dunk quite as well as a digestive. Fortunately, the Express’s Nathan Rao (who likely contributed barely a word to this pr-driven story) has the weight of academia behind the claims in his article:

Food scientist Dr Stuart Farrimond said eating biscuits with a cup of tea makes them taste better.

He said: “The science shows us that hot drinks enhance the natural ­flavours of the biscuit because more flavour molecules are released in the mouth when the biscuit is warmed and moistened.

“In Britain, biscuits have a particular cultural significance and are a customary part of the mid-morning tea break.

“Research has shown that of all foods, biscuits and chocolate are among those that trigger the most pleasure and excitement.”

Of course, the bought-in academic isn’t the only talking head in the article – we also hear from the spokesperson for the company who paid for the spurious survey behind this story, and behind National Biscuit Day:

The research by maker McVitie’s found our choice of biscuit changes depending on our mood.

McVitie’s spokesman Sarah Heynen said: “There’s no doubt that we’re a nation of biscuit lovers.

“We know that our biscuits have a surprisingly important place in people’s lives – people relate to them in a very emotional way.”

That said, toppling a tipple wasn’t the most audacious claim McVities made for their fare during National Biscuit Day – that honour goes to the following, in the Mirror:

No sex please – we prefer biscuits! One in six Britons choose a Hobnob over nookie

Research to mark National Biscuit Day on Thursday also found that a quarter of us would give up booze instead of going without a Chocolate Digestive or two

Biscuit-mad Brits would give up sex for a packet of their favourite dunking snacks, a study has revealed.

One in six would rather have a Hobnob than nookie and a quarter would give up booze instead of going without a Chocolate Digestive or two.

Source: Mirror, 28 May 2014


Perhaps fittingly, the Mirror ran their own in-page poll on what their readers would rather do – ‘Have loads of sex’ or ‘Eat loads of biscuits’, with results somewhat crumbling the McVities PR claims:

Poll - Q: What would YOU rather do?  A1: Have loads of sex = 64%; A2: Eat loads of biscuits = 36%.

Still, given the unequivocal nature of the question and the lack of pretence of being representative and bias-free, we can probably place more stock in the Mirror’s straw poll than in McVities’ original opinion survey and ensuing PR campaign.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to dunk a HobNob in a Hobgoblin.

“We are obsessed with tablets and smartphones!” says online retailer, ahead of Christmas

“We are obsessed with tablets and smartphones!” says online retailer, ahead of Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, and with it comes the chance to relax in front of some festive classics on the telly, and enjoy a little traditional TV. However, while the programs may be classics, the way we’re viewing them is ultra-modern – what with our inability to put away the smartphones and tablets for even a moment.

Don’t just take the word of the Mirror journalist who says this is the case – the story has even been backed up by facts! That Danny Walker of the Mirror believes it rare and impressive that a story is supported by facts presumably speaks volumes about the veracity of the average output of the publication once owned by Robert Maxwell.

Still, this story does have facts – facts provided by the company behind the story: eBay.

eBay spokesman, Steven Heywood, says; “Smartphones and tablets have shaped the way we shop and the rise of ‘dual-screening’ has created a direct correlation between what we are watching on TV and the purchases we are making.

“The phenomenon means these shows are not only dominating our TV screens but also our shopping baskets”

So, just because you’re watching Eric and Ernie skip away from the camera for the umpteenth time, there’s no excuse not to be following those last minute auctions just as closely, according to eBay.

“iPads are an important part of parenting!” says iPad insurers

“iPads are an important part of parenting!” says iPad insurers

The humble bedtime book is a thing of the past, with new, exciting and futuristic technologies taking their place. It’s a brave new world, and one fraught with dangers, which is perhaps why the article was brought to us by an insurance company:

LifeProof, which carried out the poll, said: “Bedtime stories are an important part of a child’s routine, and it’s good to see that tablets are bringing these stories to life even further by encouraging creative interaction between parents and their children.

Lifeproof – who hired Bad PR regulars One Poll to create the ‘data’ behind this story – want you to remember that with great power comes great responsibility, which is why your humble iPad ought to be fully insured.

“You’re a god-damn filthy liar!” says restaurant running excuse-based promotion

That’s right – you’re all no-good liars, every one of you! Or at least so says the company behind this particular tale:

But most of us lie to make other people feel better, a survey for Beefeater restaurants claims.

Why would Beefeater#s restaurant chain wish to insinuate you’re a liar? Well, they have a good excuse:

Whatever your excuse… There’s always time for a Beefeater!

The grill’s been on since 1974 and our passion for great British cooking is still going strong.

Every day should be a celebration and we’re on a mission to help you to find those little excuses in life to indulge in a treat and beef up your week!

So, what’s your #AnyExcuse ?

Source: http://anyexcuse.beefeatergrill.co.uk/

Because the beefeater chain of restaurants is running an advertising campaign based around excuses, we get a press release suggesting we’re a nation of liars.

I’d like to know what Jonathan Symcos of the Mirror has as his excuse for running a nonsense story like this. I wonder if there’s a hashtag for that one.

HT: @PencilBloke for the spot