Tag Archives: ruki sayid

“You’re probably going to be too poor to be buried!” says insurance company

The not-so-great leveller: dramatic differences in cost of dying just miles apart

Bereaved cutting back on flowers and opting for cheaper coffins to curb impact of funeral inflation

It is meant to be the great leveller but in Britain even death comes with a dramatically different price tag depending on where you live.

New research has exposed wide variations – as extreme as differences in house price – between the cost of funerals and burials in different postcodes.

Source: Telegraph, 5th October 2015

royallondon-05102015-telegraph

Average cost of a basic funeral has leapt by £140 in one year, says new report

‘Vulnerable bereaved people are taking on increased debt; and we predict this problem will worsen’

The average cost of a basic funeral has leapt by £140 in the space of a year, a report has found.

Across the UK, the typical cost is now £3,702, a 3.9 per cent increase compared with 2014, when the average cost was £3,562, the insurer Royal London said.

Source: Independent, 5th Ocotber 2015

royallondon-05102015-independent

This story garnered a lot of coverage recently, not just in the Telegraph and Independent, but also in the BBC, the Guardian, the Mirror and a host of local sources. Which would be fine, if all of those outlets made it absolutely clear that this story was sourced by an insurance company:

Simon Cox, a funeral cost expert at Royal London, said: “Our study shows people are striving to meet funeral price hikes, which they have little control over.

“Given the stressful situation, shopping around for a funeral is often not an option.

“Instead people are coping by cutting back on non-essentials if possible, and reconsidering how loved ones are buried.

While it’s undoubtedly true that funerals are costly affairs, it’s equally true that there’s a clear financial incentive for an insurance company to ensure people are afraid that their loved ones won’t have enough money to pay for their burial once they’re gone. I’m sure it won’t be a surprise to Royal London if they see an increase in interest in their life insurance policies as a result of stories like this. As ever with PR, it’s hard to distinguish the genuine message from the sales hook.

“Students love beer!” says price comparison website, with one eye on the University calendar

Universities with the cheapest and most expensive pints of beer revealed in MoneySupermarket research

Accommodation: check. Car insurance: check. Home insurance: check. Cost of the average pint of beer: let’s have a look.

New research from the UK’s leading price comparison website, MoneySupermarket, has revealed the best and worst value universities in the UK for students, coming just at the time while hundreds of thousands are preparing to head to their chosen institution.

Source: Independent, 14th September 2015

moneysavingexpert-14092015-independent

Durham crowned best value UK university thanks to cheap pints and low rent

These universities may reek of tweed and Hunter wellies, but they are better value than some of their more down-to-earth rivals and this is why

Hard-up students heading to Durham University will find their cash goes further as it has been named the best value for money uni in Britain.

Source: Mirror, 8th September 2015

moneysupermarket-14092015-mirror

Who’d have thought that a price comparison website would compare the price of beer? Well, anyone who realises that the MoneySupermarket PR team will be trying to use the start of the university term to convince students to use their price comparison tool to buy contents insurance for their new university residences… and students love beer, right?

“Kids today carry expensive gadgets!” says insurance comparison site

Go go gadget children: Our technology-mad kids reliant on expensive gismos for education at school

By the time the school gates open in just over a week’s time, half of parents will have bought their under-16s new smartphones, tablets or laptops

Technology-mad children will be returning to school with £3.2 billion worth of gadgets in their backpacks.

While the average value of hi-tech gear has doubled in a year to £270, one in five kids will be carrying big brands like Apple and Samsung totalling £400.

Source: Mirror, 26th August 2015

uswitch-26082015-mirror

Back to school 2.0: A fifth of pupils will be carrying gadgets worth more than £400 in their bags when they return to classes

The start of the school year used to see children kitted out with a larger uniform and if they were lucky a new pencil case.

But this year pupils returning to school will be carrying an average of £270 worth of technology in their bags, while over a fifth will have more than £400 of gadgets.

It suggests most pupils under the age of 16 are now carrying smartphones, tablets, iPods and laptops.

Source: Daily Mail, 26th August 2015

uswitch-26082015-mail

The state of kids today, eh? It’s all take take take – not one of them can survive without the latest tech. At least, that’s according to the company who paid for this piece of PR:

A survey by uSwitch.com, the price comparison site, found that the amount of technology expected in pupil’s bags when schools go back in September has more than doubled compared to last year.

That would be uSwitch.com, the insurance comparison website, naturally:

uswitch-26082015-site

What would uSwitch have to gain by talking about how gadget-laden our kids are? Well…

The spread of expensive smartphones tablets like the iPad among school pupils has also raised concerns over safety as teenagers are commonly targeted by muggers looking to steal smartphones.

Alarming almost one in ten parents said their children have been bullied over technology while 13 per cent said they had lost gadgets or had them stolen at school.

Presumably parents worried about their teens being mugged ought to take out extra insurance, just in case…

“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.

“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

mcvities-30052014-express

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

mcvities-30052014-mirror

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.

Link

“People are fond of toys!” says TV channel using ‘Toy Story’ characters in adverts

“Loads of girls keep diaries nowadays!” says TV channel promoting show about diaries

The youth of today may not be as internet-obsessed as you might expect, and are surprisingly fond of the pen and paper, according to The Mirror recently:

Young girls use a diary not Facebook to log their most intimate thoughts

More 16-19-year-olds are turning to the private world of pen and paper to jot down what they really think

Teenage girls may use social network Facebook for cosy chats with friends but they keep their most intimate thoughts in an old fashioned diary, a survey has revealed.

In the age of social network sites which are awash with gossip, banter and everyday problems, more 16-19-year-olds are turning to the private world of pen and paper to jot down what they really think.

Research by broadcaster E4 found 83% of today’s teenage girls keep a diary compared with 69% in the 1990s when the internet was a sci-fi dream.

Source: Mirror, 14 January 2013

image

This would tell us something interesting and revealing about the appeal of a good, old-fashioned paper diary… were it not a press release for a new E4 TV show about diaries in a pre-internet age:

Dear Facebook, to know the REAL truth, read my diary

Research by E4 reveals personal pen-and-paper diaries more popular than ever as teens take comfort in private journals over social networking sites

Research conducted by E4 to tie in with brand new British 90’s-set series My Mad Fat Diary, based on the real-life teenage diaries of Rae Earl – starting Monday 14th January, 10pm

It’s a statistic Adrian Mole would be proud of: personal pen-and-paper diaries are more popular now than pre social-media days, as today’s teens take comfort in private journals as an outlet for their innermost thoughts and feelings, a survey by E4 has revealed.

The survey – undertaken to coincide with the launch of My Mad Fat Diary, a new 90s-set British series based on the real-life teenage diaries of Rae Earl – reveals that 83% of today’s teenage girls keep a diary, compared with 69% in the 1990s.

Source: Channel 4 press release, 14 January 2013

image