Certain dates in the calendar provide such reliable touchpoints for PR types that they’re tantamount to open goals – such as Christmas, Valentines Day… and, more recently, Halloween. Here’s a slightly opaque opening gambit from the Guardian:
Are you scared of public speaking?
In a new survey commissioned to uncover our odd phobias, public speaking came out higher than dying. While the number one phobia was the loss of family or friends, fear of public speaking (glossophobia) appeared at number three on the list. Are you scared of addressing a crowd? Is public speaking one of your biggest fears?
So far, not so Halloween. But let’s take a look at the survey referred to in the Guardian’s sober report on our collective fear of public speaking – an article in the Daily Mail:
Is making a speech a fate worse than death? Most women are more scared of public speaking than they are of dying
Most women are more scared of public speaking than they are of death, it was revealed yesterday.
Researchers who polled 2,000 women found many are far more at ease with meeting their maker than they are of standing in a room talking to an audience hanging on their every word.
The study found women loathe the thought of making a spectacle of themselves, and feel more nervous about stuttering, tripping up and looking foolish than going to an early grave.
A little closer, but still not as spooky as we can go. Let’s take a look at exactly the same story in the Daily Star of the same day:
Halloween ghouls not as scary as clowns, beardies, chickens and potato salad
IT IS not just Halloween ghouls that scare us witless, according to a new survey, but a curious selection of clowns, beardies, chickens and even potato salad.
There are a raft of recognised things that give us the screaming abdabs.
Snakes, spiders, ghosts, rats, the boss, creepy crawlies and the bogeyman all give us nightmares.
But top of the strangest phobias – or maybe not so strange –is the fear of being the last living soul on Earth, the theme of chilling movie The Road starring Viggo Mortensen.
That’s a bit more like it – just in time for Halloween, it’s good that we have such cutting-edge research into what we all find creepy and scary. Including:
Other unexpected horrors are the telly breaking down and clowns. Bizarre, but true.
The findings come from a survey commissioned by London visitor attraction Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Ah, true as in ‘meaningless PR intended to advertise a museum dedicated to scary and unusual things’, gotcha.
“There are many common fears that a lot of us share but here at Ripley’s we celebrate all that is unusual across the globe… so delving into our more bizarre phobias was fascinating,” said Natascha Crump, general manager at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London.
“It is interesting to find out about people’s fears of nylon sheets, chickens and being the sole survivor of an apocalypse.
“It is also curious to see the affect that modern life is having on our fears as responses such as losing your laptop, the television breaking and being cut off from social media featured in the list of the UK’s phobias.”
From a sober debate on the pressures of public speaking, to pogonophobia and broken televisions – Ripley’s certainly managed to cut their cloth to suit all takers with this story.
Equally, it’s rare and refreshing for PR stories to come with disbelief built right in as an option – I think I’ll choose not to believe this research, Ripley, thank you very much.