Did you see the story about mankind’s fear of the impending rise of the robots? Chances are you did, with widespread coverage of the story including appearances in the Guardian, Times, Daily Mail and Daily Star:
MANY Brits do not know that Christmas Day marks the birth of Jesus.
An incredible 16% revealed they did not have a clue of the true significance of December 25, with others thinking he had been born on Christmas Eve.
Others wrongly claim Christ was born on Good Friday, the day he was crucified.
One in 10 even had no idea Jesus died wearing a crown of thorns, instead thinking he had donned sunglasses, a hat or even the crown jewels.
Christmas is just around the corner, and with it the birth of our lord, saviour and definitely-exactly-as-the-bible-describes son-of-god, Jesus Christ.
It seems that, despite having infant schools the length and breadth of the country act out the birth of arguably the world’s most famous carpenter, people just aren’t familiar enough with the minor details of the bronze age mythology of a specific bunch of nice chaps in the Middle East.
Or, at least, so says this particular story in the Daily Star, the veracity of which is in no way undermined by the dual facts that people reportedly believed Jesus wore sunglasses on the cross (which is absolutely definitely not a joke response from anyone involved in the survey), and that this survey was placed into the news via Bad PR regulars One Poll, on behalf of a TV series about the Bible:
The survey, to mark the release of epic series The Bible on DVD and Blu-Ray, also showed many Brits had no idea who Adam and Eve were, or who built the Ark.
It’s hard to know which source has the least chance of accurately reflecting reality: the Bible, or One Poll. In that respect, at least, this story makes perfect sense.
Nearly 70% of parents think tablets are making children more intelligent, and 43% admit using a smartphone or iPad as a “hi-tech baby-sitter”
The rise of the tablet PC is killing off the bedtime book.
In a poll 70% of parents said they use a device such as an iPad and even their iPhone to read to their children at the end of the day.
Nearly 50% admit picking up fewer books nowadays.
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.
CHILDREN are struggling to grasp basic geography – they are all at sea when it comes to oceans and just as lost on land.
Astonishingly one in three does not know Wales is in Great Britain while one in 14 is convinced Australia forms part of our nation.
Many labour under the misapprehension that the English Channel separates us from America and a large number do not know London is the capital city of the UK.
The continent-wide gaps in knowledge were highlighted in a survey of 1,500 children aged from five to 14.
Kids today, not only do they not know they’re born, but clearly they also haven’t a clue where they were born, given their appalling lack of geographical knowledge. If only there were some kind of technological solution to this knowledge gap…
The survey was carried out by Travelzoo, creators of a new iPad app called Map The World. A spokesman for the firm said: “There are a few children who don’t know the most basic geography.
“Children can get a lot out of knowing more about the world they live in. It will stay with them for the rest of their life.”
Of course, given that this story (which by-line author Nathan Rao of the Express contributed less than half of the copy to) was created by Bad PR regulars One Poll, there’s a good reason to be sceptical of these figures – especially where it comes to what children do and don’t know. Isn’t that right, Mr Gove?
MOST men think their other half is better looking than they are, it emerged yesterday.
And they prefer it that way because it boosts their self-esteem.
Sixty per cent of men questioned in a survey said their wife or girlfriend was more attractive than them.
But only 25 per cent of women thought their partner was better looking.
We have something of a mixed bag of genderism to unpack in this story from the Express: firstly, the implication that men are less attractive than women, which comes with a whole host of problematic attendant assumptions around the value of looks in one gender or another, and the related value of that particular gender. It’s flattering and helpful to neither men nor women.
Plus, we have the equally insidious suggestion that having an attractive woman on one’s arm is a boost to the self-esteem of men. Clearly this sets up all manner of implications, from the reduction of women to a mere accessory to male ego, all the way to the definition of masculinity being reflected and represented by the attractiveness of partner a man can attract.
In a few short sentences, we’ve some pretty ugly assumptions and unhelpfully genderist messages sent – and to what purpose?
But how do ugly men end up with a beautiful girl who might usually be out of their league?
Well, being funny, a good listener and having nice manners are the key attributes, according to the survey by lookalikes site Celebalike.com.
All this, simply to advertise an app about celebrity lookalikes? Was it really worth it? Well, if you were the makers of the app surveying the headlines, or if you were Bad PR regulars OnePoll, the company hired to produce the ‘data’ behind this story, you might well think it was worth it.
Selfie may have been voted the word of the year, but a new term is set to challenge it in 2014 – the ‘braggie’.
A ‘braggie’ is an image posted to social networks designed purely to show off or make friends jealous, and according to new research one in ten users do this regularly.
The poll also found that 5.4 million people in the UK post these bragging photos within 10 minutes of arriving on holiday, for example, as well as of hotel rooms, in bars and nightclubs and even of their bed.
It’s no longer enough to post photos of yourself on social media – the new media fad is to post photos of yourself in exotic locations, if this report is to be believed – which, given the company who paid for the story, it may not be:
The research was carried out by Hotels.com.
It found 72 per cent of Britons use smartphones to take and share photos when on holiday, with Facebook being the most popular site for showing off.
Given that a hotel website is stressing the importance of being in an exotic location when taking your (shiver) ‘selfie’, it’s fair to say there’s a clear potential for bias here. Side note: I include ‘selfie’ in inverted comments as a mark of disdain, but I draw the line at giving any credence to ‘braggie’.
As for the data, there’s reason to be skeptical there too:
The data was collected by OnePoll from a sample of 2,000 working adults taken between 1 and 4 November.
The figures were then weighted to represent the whole country.
While it may well be the case that Bad PR regulars OnePoll weighted the data to represent the whole country, it’s worth pointing out that without access to the questions that were asked and the options given for people to choose from, it’s impossible to be sure the results which were weighted to represent the country weren’t already flawed. If that was indeed the case, the weighting merely spreads those flaws over a wider area, like covering a stain in the carpet by smudging it over a larger section. The data can still be dirty.
Forget board games, satsumas and chocolate coins – the average child’s Christmas wish list contains toys and gadgets worth close to £900 this year, a new study has revealed.
Researchers found that the average youngster spends two days compiling their Christmas wish list of the goodies they want receive from Father Christmas – and it doesn’t come cheap.
The long list of toys and games, including dolls’ houses, bikes and tablets, adds up to an average total of £880 per child.
Christmas is coming, and with it the outrageous demands of the nation’s children. £900 for Christmas? I remember when all kids wanted for Christmas was a piece of slate and some chalk, so they could draw hoops and sticks in the days before having a hoop and a stick was commonplace.
OK, admittedly, that isn’t true – but it made the point I was trying to get across, so it doesn’t matter if it’s true. Isn’t that right, company who hired Bad PR regulars OnePoll to create the pseudoresearch behind this Daily Mail article?
A spokesperson for Early Learning Centre, which commissioned the research, said: ‘For many children, putting together their wish list is the start of the Christmas build-up.
‘Many take it very seriously to make sure Father Christmas delivers the exact presents they want.
‘But with the value of children’s gift lists approaching the £1,000 mark, it could mean there are a few disappointed youngsters this year.
I don’t know, journalism was proper journalism when I were a lad. PR types these days, they don’t know they’re born.
The average British adult cannot identify some of the country’s most common trees, a survey has revealed.
The study, which tested our basic knowledge of the UK’s most populous shrubs showed that many adults can’t tell a maple tree from an oak or a fir.
It also revealed that nine out of ten people struggle to identify the pointed leaves and red berries of a holly tree, and large numbers also have no idea where conkers come from.
Now this story is particularly sad – the decline of conker knowledge. What’s more British than conkers? Other than, you know, an aggressively patronising view of foreigners and an intrusive-yet-inefficient press? Oh, and bowler hats? But beside those three things, the next most British thing is definitely mucking about with horse chestnuts, on string, dipped in vinegar.
It gets worse:
More than 10 per cent of Britons admitted to never having heard of a horse chestnut, maple or even an oak tree.
Really? We’re genuinely expected to believe that 1 in 10 people have never heard of an oak tree? Or is it meant to be that if you take those who haven’t heard of a horse chestnut tree, add to that those who haven’t heard of a maple tree, and then add to that those who haven’t heard of an oak tree, then you get 10% combined? It’s hard to say.
What isn’t hard to say is the name of the organisation who hired Bad PR regulars OnePoll to tell us all we’re arborarily ignorant?
A spokesperson for Sky Rainforest Rescue, which commissioned the research, said: ‘Trees are a central part of our history and our culture in Britain.
‘We are surrounded by trees, whether it’s a few dotted along the street outside our home or all around us when we take long walks in the countryside.
‘But while not all of us can be experts when it comes to trees, it seems there are some people who aren’t familiar with even the most common trees.
This story puts me in something of a tricky position: on the one hand, I don’t usually like to criticise a charity – it’s a tough economic world out there, and I’m sure many charities are suffering, so perhaps it’s not the biggest crime if a charity uses an insulting PR line to grab attention.
On the other hand, I do like to criticise Sky, and I adore pointing out just how ubiquitous and pervasive the methodologically-suspect work of One Poll and 72 Point are in the news – in this case not just the Mail, but the print issue of the Telegraph too.
To see a story as suspect this actually make it onto physical paper might actually be the worst kind of waste of a tree.
Christmas is a great excuse to get coverage for your company – a point which was unintentionally made astoundingly clear in the Daily Star last week, in a story with perhaps the most PR-per-inch of any I’ve ever seen.