Tag Archives: nick mcdermott

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“People need help to lose weight!” says weight-loss supplement company

“It’s hot out there!” says discount voucher website reminding you they exist

With the change in the weather signalling an end to my self-imposed Bad PR hiatus, it seems fitting to highlight just how the scorching June sun has affected we poor pasty Brits – in fact, according to ‘researchers’, the moment temperatures rise a little, we’re far from pleased:

Apparently we’re happiest when it’s 23.5C (so we probably won’t like that it’s going to reach 25C this weekend)

While millions of us may dream of a few days in the Mediterranean heat, the reality is that we like our weather a little more on the mild side.

Researchers have found that the average Briton’s ideal summer temperature is a moderately warm 23.5C (74F) – so today’s weather should keep most of us happy.

Forecasters say the mercury could hit 24C (75F) in the South, making it the hottest day of the year so far.

And the sunny, dry conditions are predicted to last well into the weekend.

Source: Daily Mail, 6th June 2013

Who commissioned the research, and gave the picture desks at the Daily Mail and Daily Star a bikini-field-day?

According to the poll of 340 adults, Londoners had the highest heat threshold with the average Londoner being content with a temperature of 24.7C.

A spokesman for online discount shopping site PromotionalCodes.org.uk, which commissioned the poll, said: ‘One of our favourite pastimes as a nation is to moan about the weather no matter how hot or cold it is.

‘For many, it is either too wet or too dry so it was interesting to find a temperature which everyone would be happy with.

Not only was this a PR poll for an online voucher company, it featured just 340 participants – which even by Bad PR standards is dismal – yet not so dismal that the Daily Mail and Daily Star turned it down.

It’s enough to leave one cold.

“Gadgets are an important part of childrens’ lives! says gadget retailer

Times have changed since this Bad PR blogger was a wee lad, as was aptly demonstrated in the Telegraph and Daily Mail recently:

Parents punish naughty children by taking away their iPads – survey

Once naughty children would be sent to bed without any supper, but now parents have turned to confiscating their iPads and smartphones to punish them.

Eight out of ten parents with children aged 14 or under say restricting their offspring’s use of gadgets is their preferred form of discipline, a survey found.

Youngsters saw having their tablets and phones taken away as the worst method of punishment because it stopped them from communicating with their friends.

Source: The Telegraph, 12 March 2013

Technology tantrums: Dramatic rise in the number of ‘iPaddys’ when children are sent to bed without their favourite gadgets

It used to be straight to bed without supper for boys and girls who misbehaved.

But with many children now firmly attached to their electronic gadgets, parents are opting to punish them by confiscating their iPads, smartphones and portable games consoles instead.

The only problem is that more than half said their offspring have thrown a tantrum – which some refer to as ‘an iPaddy’ – after their devices are taken away from them.

Source: Daily Mail, 12 March 2013

It’s worth highlighting of course that when the Mail talks of some people referring to a technology-deprived tantrum as an iPaddy, those some people are specifically the PR people who invented this term on behalf of technology retailer Pixmania:

Even toddlers are becoming fans of cutting-edge technology, with one in ten children under four using a tablet…

…Ghadi Hobeika, marketing director of Pixmania, said there had been a “steady rise” in children being bought their own hi-tech devices, leading to new family tensions.

He said: “Gadgets such as tablets and smartphones provide both a method of communication and a form of entertainment, so when parents remove them, this becomes a double whammy.”

Or, in other words, ‘gadgets are really useful and important for children and all the other kids have them’. Rather than being a sobering warning of how children these days are hard to control, these articles are in fact a reminder to parents of the plethora of technological gadgets out there, and where they can get their hands on such a product.

Sent via your baby sister’s iPad.

“Technical jargon can be confusing!” says technology retailer, via marketing scientists

Have you ever noticed how tricky it can be when people use complicated technical jargon? The Daily Mail has:

It’s all geek to me! Even a foreign language is easier to learn than tech talk (but women are better than men at deciphering jargon)

The pangs of anxiety when trying to learn Latin or Greek will be familiar to many from their school days.

But compared to comprehending the latest tech jargon – or technobabble – most adults find understanding foreign languages a relative doddle.

With the advent of the digital age and increased reliance on computers, the use of tech terminology has become commonplace, to the bafflement of many.

Researchers found phrases such as ‘reboot’ [restart digital device], ‘megabyte’ [unit of digital memory] and ‘ISP’ [internet service provider] were much more confusing than words such as ‘boulangerie’ [bakery in French], ‘kalinichta’ [goodnight in Greek] and ‘ostrovia’ [cheers in Russian].

Source: Daily Mail, 23 January 2013

Technical terminology, then, can be opaque and confusing… but, of course, this isn’t just a piece of generic commonsensical knowledge, but an angle pitched to get a company into the press. In this instance, specifically:

Following the research, commissioned by Geek Squad, the technology support partner of Carphone Warehouse, the 10 most confusing technobabble terms will no longer be used.

So, a company which prides itself on translating technical jargon, says technical jargon can be confusing. In fact, let’s hear it in their own words:

Geek Squad member Chris Tufts said: ‘The tech industry is constantly innovating so there will always be some new terminology for consumers to get to grips with. 

‘It can be a real barrier, and prevents some consumers from getting the most out of their gadgets.

‘At Geek Squad, we effectively become tech translators. It’s great when you see customers have that light bulb moment and suddenly they understand a part of the product spec that’s mystified them for years.’

So far, so neat. The only thing left to do is take a look at where the research was carried out:

In a study involving 16 participants, scientists from Mindlab monitored their reaction to different phrases by measuring sweat levels and the brain’s electrical activity.

When challenged with tech terminology, the results showed participants experienced greater confusion and stress than when confronted with a foreign language.

Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis said: ‘Trying to understand a language you are not familiar with can be extremely frustrating for anyone. 

Superficially, this seems like good solid research – conducted by a neuropsychologist, using reasonable methodology, as part of ‘Mindlab’. At the surface, it seems legit – however, on closer inspection, Mindlab is just another marketing company, whose gimmick is to use the word Neuro now and then, given that they’re run by people with science backgrounds.

In fact, we’ve seen David Lewis before – he was the chap who came up with the formula for the perfect beer, and regularly appears in the news as a science voice for hire.

How would I describe the reliability of this article, then? Well, to use a technical term… it’s bollocks.