Tag Archives: ruth styles

“Keeping a to-do list is vital!” says office productivity software

Cast aside your Monday morning blues – it seems this is the time when you’re actually most productive, and able to really get into the working week. The best way to measure your productiveness is to tackle that ever-expanding to-do list:

Speaking in both a personal and professional capacity, if my to-do list ever contained as few as three items, I’d be worried I was doing something wrong. My ‘outstanding write-ups of PR in the Daily Mail’ to-do list is currently at over 450 stories for 2013…

Ah, bugger, it looks like that backlog of Mail stories may never get exposed and lampooned.

Fortunately, the company behind this survey have exactly the products you need to get your working week on track:

The research, which was conducted by Microsoft Office, also found that despite the pressures of the working day, 56 per cent of people will keep a to-do list at home compared to only 49 per cent at work

I wonder if Microsoft have any productivity tools to help expose how often their nonsense PR stories get presented as real news.

“Finding new people to date can be hard for someone who works hard!” says dating site

With more and more people spending more and more of their lives, it stands to reason that busy people looking for romance may find it hard to look beyond the water-cooler. If only there were ways of meeting new people quickly and risk-free?

The reasons for this, according to the Flirt.com survey, included the amount of alcohol consumed during the office festive bash and because eagle-eyed colleagues will be watching your progress.

Speaking about the results, a spokesman for the dating site said: ‘We spend such a large proportion of our lives at work so we wanted to find out what our singles actually thought about getting together with a colleague.

‘What we found is that most people have thought about someone at work at some point, and many more have acted upon it.’

So, it’s a straight choice: get into a messy office romance, or check out this particular dating site.

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“Vouchers make for the perfect shopping trip!” says voucher website

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“Women look haggard and past it once they get past 30!” says skin cream manufacturer

“People all around the country have sex!” says erotic publisher

Straight out of the draw marked ‘in a discrete dataset, someone has to be top’, we had the recent revelations that people from one part of the country have more sex than people from other parts of the country:

People in the West Midlands have the busiest bedrooms! Britain’s sex secrets revealed

They might be famous for their buttoned-up approach to romance and reluctance to express their true feelings but it seems that British women are naughtier than previously thought.

A new survey has found that almost 70 per cent of British women like to experiment in the bedroom, with popular diversions including sex toys, doing the deed in public and using food to make time between the sheets more memorable.

Sexual behaviour was also found to vary across the UK, with those living in the south-east most open to experimenting while women based in the East Midlands were most likely to keep details of their exploits under wraps.

Source: Daily Mail, 28th October 2013

While mild kudos has to be given to the picture desk of the Daily Mail for eschewing an image of a 20-something model for a story about the sex people around the country are having, it’s still a total non-story to report that one group of people is having more sex, or more of a specific type of sex, or more of a particular type of experience than other groups. That’s just how maths, averages and population distribution works – someone has to come out as ‘top’, without implication of the existence of a causative relationship.

Still, these geographical distribution tropes are mightily powerful PR tools, with a reach far beyond the nationals – ask enough questions, and you’ll scattergun enough findings to gain coverage in a host of regional news outlets – in this case, including:

Who was it this time employing this scattergun approach to enticing local journalists into the PR nest?

A spokesperson for Totally Bound, the erotic publisher which conducted the survey, said: ‘We’ve conducted extensive research to thoroughly understand what UK women want when it comes to real and imagined sex. 

‘We discovered that there’s a real appetite for provocative and well-written stories about sex, love, empowerment and relationships.

I don’t know about you, but I always prefer my mucky stories to come with rigorous geographical and statistical analysis.

“A good mobile phone will get you laid!” says mobile phone retailer

There are many things twitter can do – from instigating uprisings in Iran to pitchforking the latest transgressor of some unspoken rule of social media etiquette. But did you know twitter could get you laid?

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Who said romance is dead? Study reveals 140-character tweets are now the UK’s favourite way to woo a new partner

The perfect recipe for love used to be eyes meeting across a crowded room followed by hours of scintillating conversation but now it seems that stimulating chats have been replaced by 140-character tweets.

According to a new study, Twitter is now the most common way of winning over a potential new partner and has even overtaken texting and phone calls.

On average, it now takes 224 tweets, 163 text messages, 70 Facebook messages, 37 emails and 30 phone calls to seal the deal.

Source: Daily Mail, 12th September 2013

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Such is the power of social media, it seems. Of course, to get on board the Twitter Love-Train, you’ll need a nice new smartphone – fortunately, I hear there are some good deals on that kind of thing these days:

The study, which was conducted by electronics retailer PIXmania, found that within the space of a single generation, the amount of time taken for love to blossom has more than halved…

Ghadi Hobeika, marketing director of PIXmania.com, said: ‘With the nation obsessed with constantly communicating with one another, modern technology is putting the speed into speed dating and encouraging more contact between budding lovers.

‘The days of penning a simple love letter to woo your new beau are over. From flirting on Facebook to teasing on Twitter modern day lovers are increasingly embracing technology to help snare their catch.’

Oh, hey, maybe you can buy social-media-ready smartphones at PIXmania.com! Wouldn’t that be a coincidence!

“How relationships start is interesting!” says makers of ‘How I Met Your Mother’

Have you ever wondered how people tend to meet their partners? 

Office love more likely to lead to marriage

Relationships that begin in the workplace are more likely to lead to marriage than those which start elsewhere, research revealed yesterday.

A study found that – despite many companies now discouraging liaisons – the stresses and strains of the workplace help forge a bond which leads to long-term relationships.

The researchers said: “We spend so much time at work it’s inevitable you will form close friendships that may go on to become a relationship further on. Being in a relationship where you work in the same place as your partner also means you have something in common before you even get to know each other.”

Source: Daily Express, 30th September 2013

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Looking for love? Try the office! Relationships that begin in the workplace most likely to result in marriage

Those who meet after locking eyes over the water cooler are more likely to enjoy long lasting love, new research has revealed.

Despite discouragement from companies and colleagues, office romances are more likely end in marriage than relationships that start in any other way – even meeting through friends.

By contrast, relationships begun in a nightclub or pub almost always end in either a fling or a one-night stand.

Source: Daily Mail, 29th September 2013

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Who was inspired to conduct this sociological research? 

The research was commissioned for the DVD release of the eighth series of TV comedy How I Met Your Mother.

UPDATE: For those who are interested, and hadn’t already assumed it to be the case, this ‘research’ was conducted by Bad PR regulars OnePoll, with Daily Mail journalist Ruth Styles using 81% of the original press release.

Valentine’s Day retailers say it with flawed surveys

It’s February 14th, and in accordance with tradition the nation will be heaving tonight with the sounds of relationships the country over being consumated. Specifically, the relationships between PR agencies and their satisfied clients, as retailers and businesses cash in on the Valentine’s Day media free-for-all.

While the exploitation of the most commercial of the Hallmark Holidays is nothing new, 2013 certainly hasn’t let the side down – the first rains of the Valentine’s PR monsoon falling as early as January, with pioneering research into the evolution of the pet name (Daily Mail, January 28th) published in the Daily Mail:

Move over darling! Old-fashioned favourite beaten into third place as babe and baby become Britain’s top terms of endearment

The research found that terms of affection such as ‘darling’ and ‘sweetheart’ have been superseded by more modern and streamline pet-names like ‘baby’ and ‘love’ (both of which were actually only invented in the year 2000 as part of Britain’s preparations for the Millennium Bug). These findings have far-reaching implications, according to the researchers – who coincidentally are a sex toy retailer named after two common pet names:

Lovehoney co-founder Neal Slateford said: ‘The ways pet names have changed over the years show we are getting even more affectionate towards each other and a little less formal.

‘As a nation, we are learning to lighten up when it comes to love and sex. That has to be a good thing.’

If I were an online sex toy retailer, I’m sure I’d find ample reason to agree. Still, that the survey produced media-friendly results of potential benefit to the company carrying out the research should in no way undermine the credibility of this online, self-reported and entirely-subjective poll, even as further findings from this PR exercise are explained:

And while the British might have a reputation for being unromantic, the poll found that the opposite is true, with 72 per cent saying that Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to show a partner how much they appreciate them.

If anybody is still unsure how to show a partner how much they’re appreciated, a Mr Slateford at Lovehoney.co.uk has a number of expensive suggestions for you. Or perhaps you could always turn to vibrator vendors ‘Desire and Pleasure’, whose own online self-promotional pseudo-research was featured in The Sun (The Sun, February 7th):

CASH-strapped Brits are shunning expensive romantic nights out this Valentine’s Day — and stocking up on SEX TOYS instead, a survey claims.

The unromantic reputation of Britons was similarly noted by British tourist board ‘Visit Britain’, who pointed out (Daily Mail, February 10th):

Britain ‘too stuffy’ to host romantic visit as Italy and France is preferred by tourists

While we may be too stuffy to be romantic, we’re not too stupid to recognise reverse psychology. The lack of romance in modern-day Britain is clearly an area fraught with controversy, with a study published by Interflora insisting that Britons are a nation of romantics who fall in love at first sight (Daily Mail, February 6th), with one in five Brits positive the best way to declare new-found love is with a nice bunch of flowers. If only they could find a suitable florist.

While there’s clearly some rigorous academic dispute over the romance levels of the average Brit, at least one thing is certain – somewhere in Britain can be arbitrarily declared as more romantic than everywhere else. After all, in any closed set with random variance, there has to be an upper and lower limit – and what better way to highlight normal statistical distribution than by letting people know you sell perfume (Daily Mail, February 1st)?

When it comes to Valentine’s gifts, we’ve an abundance of research – each piece diligently compiled by online survey companies using questions written very carefully by PR companies on behalf of businesses aiming to use Valentine’s Day to secure column inches. Voucher website Groupon, for example, revealed flowers and chocolates just don’t cut it (The Sun, February 12th), and instead a gifts need to be memorable – rather like one of the experiences you can buy inexpensively on voucher websites like Groupon. And heaven help you if you get last-minute flowers from a petrol station – voucher website NetVoucherCodes.co.uk have research proving such an idea is a no-no (Daily Mail, February 11th).

On the other hand, as retailer Debenham’s helpfully researched, it’d be a good idea to buy the lady in your life some ‘posh knickers’ (Daily Mail, February 6th). Or perhaps you should take part in the British Heart Foundation’s charity initiative to write your partner a love note – after all, the BHF’s own research proves women prefer a simple, thoughtful gesture to an expensive gift anyway (Daily Mail, February 12th). But remember to buy your mistress something nice, too (Daily Mail, February 12th) – an extramarital dating website has research which says this is wise.

For those in long-term relationships, Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily all department-store knickers and online vouchers – there are innumerable pitfalls into which the unsuspecting lover could fall. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of PR-led research with commercially-valuable conclusions to guide an impressionable couple – with advice from MSN to avoid relationship-killing public display of affection (Daily Mail, February 12th) and data produced by internet security experts McAfee (Daily Mail, February 5th) proving that not only are your exes cyber-stalking you, but that those explicit photos on your smartphone are vulnerable to being hacked unless you can find an expert willing to sell you internet security. Even married couples aren’t safe from the relationship curse, with research proving that excitement, romance, sex and affection are dead in the water after three and a half years of marriage (The Telegraph, February 9th) – that the data was gathered by Co-op Foods probably has nothing at all to do with their Valentine’s Meal Deal and associated ad campaign.

Of course, if all else fails, you could always opt for the free Valentine’s Day Divorce (Daily Mail, February 12th). After all, there’s only 365 days left until Valentine’s Day – and there’s a hell of a lot of spurious, commercially-driven and scientifically-worthless online surveys to fill in before then.

Originally published in The Guardian, 14 February 2013

“Women find geeks sexy!” says computer website

Geek is in – look around you, there’s no denying it. Wherever you look you’ll see people who want you to think they’re cool pretending that because they once went into an Apple store or wear large-framed glasses, they’re a geek. Evidently, geek is big news. Take, for example, this from the Daily Mail:

The rise of the ‘techno-sexual’: Why women are saying goodbye to David Gandy and hello to the geeky likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg 

For centuries, muscly macho men have ruled the roost – and dominated the dating world.

But it seems all that is set to change, thanks to a new man on the scene: the ‘techno-sexual’.

In news that will bring hope to geeky men everywhere, a new survey has revealed that nearly two thirds of women would happily swap the likes of hunky David Gandy for the dorkier charms of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

Source: Daily Mail, 24 January 2013

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There we have it, then – girls would rather have a guy who knows his way around a computer than a guy who spends his life in the gym. In fact:

According to the research, 59 per cent of women say that they ‘most admire’ men who really know about technology, including how to fix and upgrade it.

It’s not simply enough to own a computer, but it’s also vital to have the wherewithal to upgrade and fix computers. Which is interesting, given that the research was commissioned by a company called Crucial.com:

‘Heroes today are becoming more Mark Zuckerberg than Jeremy Clarkson, as our busy lives become increasingly dominated by our use of technology,’ said Roddy McLean, a computer expert from Crucial.com, which carried out the survey.

‘Technology impacts everyone’s lives, so it’s not surprising that people wish they had a better understanding of it and how to fix or upgrade it when it doesn’t perform. 

‘The truth is it’s not as hard, or as confusing, as people think.’

And exactly who might crucial.com be? Why, they’re a tech support company, of course

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“Grandparents work hard!” says building society pandering to grandparents

Grandparents are brilliant, aren’t they? All woolen blankets, Werther’s Originals, purple rinse, old-timey wisdom, spirit of the blitz and all of those other warm, fuzzy clichés. Where would we be without them? You can’t put a price on the love and support a good, solid grandparent can give you. 

Or, rather, you absolutely can put a price on it, provided that you’re making that price up in order to get press coverage.

The £21,000 grandma: Grandparents who take on babysitting duties reduce the cost of childcare by a whopping £4,300 EVERY YEAR

They’re the unpaid babysitters that many parents couldn’t manage without. And now, their true value can be revealed as a new report has calculated exactly what grandparents are worth.

Thanks to long hours spent watching the grandchildren while their parents are at work, kindhearted grandparents can save families up to £4,300 annually – money that would otherwise have to have spent on professional childcare.

By the time the average youngster reaches school age, they will have been babysat by their grandparents for more than 5,610 hours, meaning their parents will have saved a whopping £21,654.60.

Source: Daily Mail, 18 January 2013

There we have it – your dear old grandma is worth about the same as a brand new Vauxhall Zafira, give or take. It’s not clear whether gran will depreciate in value quite as quickly, but then again that wasn’t really the point of the article.

The actual point of the article can be found when taking a quick peek at the originators of the survey:

Stacey Stothard, of Skipton Building Society, said: ‘As this study clearly indicates, modern day grandparents are an absolute god-send for working mums and dads…

‘Grandparents who look after their grandchildren in the family home are even on hand to help with the running of the home – helping to do household chores, as well as being in to sign for parcel deliveries and pay the window cleaner or milkman.

‘But with this flexibility and financial benefit for parents sometimes comes a feeling of obligation for grandparents.

The ‘research’ was paid for by Skipton Building Society, in order to promote their ‘Granny Economy’ campaign:

The campaign was created by their PR agency Band & Brown Communications, who commissioned the research through OnePoll (picked up by the Daily Mail with 71% of the copy used verbatim):

So what’s the real underlying point behind this story, other than pandering to the grey pound?

Jennifer Holloway, head of media relations at Skipton Building Society, added, “”But while the goodwill of grandparents can help control childcare costs, there are other areas where expenses are hard to avoid, such as paying for a child’s extra curricular activities or, in the longer-term, further education. It’s therefore critical that parents plan for their family’s future and make their money work for them, for example, by finding the best savings or mortgage rates, so that the pressure is relieved as much as possible, for both them and the grandparents.”

That would be a building society, reminding people that having the best available mortgage is a good idea.