Tag Archives: the sun

“Having the wrong interior decor can stop your house selling!” says interior decor company

Property news now, with the revelation in the Sun and the Express that people might be lowering their chances of selling their homes:

WOOD YOU BELIEVE IT? Do you have THIS design feature in your home? It’s probably why your property WON’T sell

Wood panelling could seriously devalue your house, as nearly half of people would be put off buying it if it contains the interior design trend

THE ten least favourite interior design trends that put prospective homeowners off buying a property have been revealed… and top of the list is wood-panelling.

Location, size of rooms and kerbside appeal are all important, but a recent study found buyers are also VERY picky about the superficial.

Source: The Sun, 9th March 2017

REVEALED: Do you have THIS in your home? It’s why your property WON’T sell

SELLING a house can be a difficult task, and having certain interior design features in your home could be affecting your property sale.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, it’s important to think about which of your property’s features might be considered attractive or not.

When preparing your home for sale, replacing something outdated or universally unloved could help you to secure a buyer or could go some way towards you achieving your desired asking price.

So what are the interior design trends that could knock value off your property?

Source: Express, 9th March 2017

Clearly having precisely the right kind of interior decor is important – making a poor decision, like opting for wood panelling, could lumber you with a property you simply can’t sell. So who can we thank for this important advice?

According to Bathrooms.com’s survey of 2,000 Brits, wood panelling is the design trend most likely to knock value off a property.

More specifically, 46 per cent of those taking part said they wouldn’t buy a property if it still had old fashioned wood panelling.

You might think it strange that Bathrooms.com would complain about wood panelling, which you’re unlikely to have in your bathroom. But putting a bathroom-related issue at number one would be a little too on-the-nose – however, at number two:

Avocado bathroom suites come next. The study calculated that an outdated avocado suite knock almost £5,000 off a property’s value.

Bathrooms estimates that approximately 1.2 per cent of the population still have an avocado bathroom suite – almost 325,000 across the country.

So when you’re done dealing with your wood panelling – which you probably don’t actually have – you know what to work on next, and who to turn to for help.

“People have sex!” says voucher company looking for cheap headlines

Sex news now, with the Sun reporting on the most popular sexual positions around the country:

The North East loves it doggy style and East Anglians prefer the reverse cowgirl… but what’s the favourite sexual position in YOUR area?

In some cases, it seems that our favoured positions for bonking come down to the region we live in

WHEN it comes to sex, we all have our preferences.

But, in some cases, it seems that our favoured positions for bonking come down to the region we live in.

Source: The Sun, 9th February 2017

While there is doubtlessly some value to genuine researchers studying how different populations go about their sexual relations, it’s fair to say this isn’t that – this is PR-based market research to deliver an advert for a promotional voucher website:

The research, which was conducted by VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, was part of an ongoing study into Britons’s intimate lives.

“Sport is better than sex!” says sport betting company

Nearly 1/4 of Premier League fans skip sex sessions with partners to watch the footy

PREMIER League footy fans would rather watch a match than score with their partners in bed, a survey has revealed.

A total of 23% of Premier League fans in a committed relationship would pass up sex to watch the likes of Rooney, Costa and Sterling do the biz on the pitch.

Source: Daily Star, 12th August 2015

Cometh the return of the football season, cometh the trotting out of the age-old stereotypes around men putting their team before their partner. If we were in any doubt that the story is nothing more than an advert for a sports betting company, we have a helpful spokesperson to clarify things for us:

A spokesman for sportsBettingOnline.net, which commissioned the survey, said: “When Match of the Day comes on the telly on a Saturday night it’s a real battleground in the households of football supporters across the UK.

“Often one partner wants to end their Saturday by getting close to their other half while for many it’s a time to get close to Gary Lineker and catch up on the latest from the Premier League.

“It must be hard when you love one woman but adore 11 men.”

The Daily Star weren’t the only paper to pick up on the story, with The Sun and the Southern Daily Echo running it too. Indeed, a moment on Google turns up the original press release, which includes text of all three articles, practically verbatim.

Fortunately, things aren’t as bad as they once were for the women of the UK – merely a year ago, coincidentally around the start of the new football season, The Metro reported the number of men turning down sex ‘sessions’ for the ‘footy’ was catastrophically higher:

Finally there’s some proof that men would rather watch football than have sex

For every woman that has tried to unbutton her boyfriend’s jeans while whispering dirty thoughts in his ear only to be ignored while he fixates on the football – you are not alone.

A new survey has revealed that 40 per cent of men would rather get stuck into watching a Saturday afternoon match on the screen rather than have sex.

It’s a sad time for civilisation isn’t it?

Source: The Metro, 14th August 2014

So the news is good – in just under a year, men are turning their back on football in their droves, in order to focus on their partners! Rejoice!

Or, both of these polls are unreliable, being as they are simple opportunistic adverts for a sports betting company (2015) and a sex toy company (2014). I can’t wait to see who will be hiring OnePoll to help patronise football fans this time next year!

“Some words are annoying” says polling company looking for headlines

“Some words are annoying” says polling company looking for headlines

Breaking ‘research’ reveals that there are some words most people in the country hate – ‘research’ broken exclusively in The Sun, who themselves are experts in things most people in the country hate. Although, technically, since the addition of a paywall I should refer to it as The SUN+ (which basically means you get all the semi-literate irritation of The Sun, ‘plus’ you have to pay to view it).

This particular research was conducted by and for Bad PR regulars OnePoll, this time aiming to hit the headlines themselves rather than on behalf of a client – an aim that they’d have missed, were it not for The Sun “+” and a feature on This Morning:

A spokesman for paid survey site, OnePoll, which commissioned the study, said:

”We never imagined the nation would find such mainstream words so frustrating.

”Quite often we find ourselves using these words automatically in sentences every day without realising we could be frustrating our friends, family or colleagues.

Personally, some of my least favourite words in the English language include ‘according to a survey by OnePoll’.

“Smartphones are bad for your back!” says back specialist, launching new app

As I sit here, hunched over my laptop, churning out blog after blog exposing the sheer volume of PR nonsense in the UK press, one thought strikes me often: “Thank god I’m not attempting this on a tablet or iPad”. That’s because I know just how bad flat touchscreens can be for your spinal health:

iPosture backache rockets among the young

A BACKACHE epidemic hitting young adults who hunch over their smartphones and tablet computers has sparked a new medical term — “iPosture”.

Workers aged 18 to 24 risk agony. They already take 1½ days more off sick with back.

Source: The Sun “+”, 1st October 2013

Do you suffer from iPosture? Tablets and smartphones are causing an epidemic of back pain as people hunch over devices

It sounds like the latest gadget from Apple. But ‘iPosture’ is being blamed for an alarming level of back pain among 18 to 24-year-olds.

The term is being used to describe the stooped body shape adopted by those texting, emailing or playing games on their iPad or smartphone.

Source: Daily Mail, 1st October 2013

Christ, an epidemic? And all related unequivocally to smartphone and tablet use? How did we not find out about this sooner? Why didn’t our parents warn us about it? How could we be so blind?!

Or, alternatively, is this definitely, definitely true? 

Some 84 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 admitted to having suffered back pain in the past year, in a survey by the healthcare provider Simplyhealth. 

So, it’s self-reported outcomes rather than clinical data or patient data? Hardly the most reliable way to track and diagnose an ‘epidemic’.Still, a healthcare provider wouldn’t have any motivation to make anything like this up, targeting smartphone and tablet users specifically, surely? Well, that’s something that becomes clearer upon examining the original press release:

The results were published in association with the newly launched Simplyhealth BackCare App, following a study carried out among 3,000 adults.

Taking note of the fact that the survey was carried out by Bad PR regulars OnePoll – hardly the most credible source of health information for the general public – it transpires that SimplyHealth are launching their own app to help promote better back care when using smartphones. 

A final footnote: putting the original press release through Churnalism.com, it appears rather than being the work of prolific writer ‘Daily Mail Journalist’, it may well have been Sarah Griffiths who penned this piece. And by ‘penned this piece’ I mean ‘took 89% of a press release and added 11% of house style in the edit process’.

On the plus side, at least Sarah can’t have spent long hunched over her keyboard putting this piece together.

“Old age is stalking you like a hungry wolf!” says life insurance provider

Old age is slowly but surely, not to mention inescapably, coming for us all – trust me, I know, with my 30th birthday only a few months away. Don’t worry, I’m not panicking, by the time I’m 30 we’ll have cured the ageing process and we’ll all be happily flying round in our jetpacks and double-ties. So I’m fine. But what about the rest of you – just how old are you all feeling?

New ‘research’ published literally everywhere – such as the Express, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Sun, the Metro and even BBC 4’s The Now Show – reveals just how old and decrepit we all are:

Don’t spill sherry, it’s one of 40 signs you’re getting old

DO you groan when bending down, use the phrase “in my day” or have switched from Radio 1 to Radio 2? Then you’ve got to face it, you’re getting old.

Falling asleep in front of the TV is a sure sign of getting old

Although most people agree there is no set figure that defines old age, certain habits and opinions identify a person as getting on in years.

In a survey of 2,000 people, the 40 most common pointers included taking your slippers to visit a friend’s house and using phrases such as: “It wasn’t like that when I was young.”

Other tell-tale signs were developing a love of sherry, taking a flask of tea on days out and falling asleep in front of the television.

Source: The Express, 18th June 2013

It seems, then, that an awful lot of things we would stereotypically attribute to ‘old people’ – such as drinking sherry, watching the Archers and driving slowly – really genuinely are signs that the shadowy hand of the reaper grows ever nearer. This would be quite a sobering thought, if it weren’t equally plausible that the research instead picked up on what we assume ‘old’ people do, based on the very stereotypes that are reinforced by articles such as these.

Other entries in the list were particularly obvious examples of this effect:

15. Discovering you have no idea what young people are talking about.

This is a textbook example of ‘begging the question’: of course someone who has no idea what ‘young’ people are talking about must be ‘old’ – if they weren’t old, they wouldn’t be able to label the former group as young.

Equally, it’s worth bearing in mind that this list was almost certainly given to participants in the survey who then had to rank which ones they felt were real signs of old age – rather than being a representative sample of responses freely offered by participants. It’s essentially a case of stacking the deck – by asking people to choose from a discrete list you yourself have chosen, with no real opportunity to offer their own suggestions in any meaningful way, you can easily produce exactly the kind of stereotype-friendly and media-pleasing list you need to support your client… who, in this case, is life insurance firm Engage Mutual:

Kathryn McLaughlin, of life insurance specialists Engage Mutual, which conducted the survey, said: “What is interesting is the general expectation across age groups that someone in the ‘older’ bracket will look and behave in a particular way. But with an ageing population, and working beyond retirement age becoming the norm, the reality is that many older people are challenging the ‘pipe and slippers’ stereotype.”

Eight out of 10 people in the survey believed you are only as old as you feel while 76 per cent intend to enjoy their youth for as long as possible. However, more than half were worried about getting old, losing memory, becoming ill and deteriorating physically.

Which, if you ask me, sounds like the kind of thing you should take out life insurance to protect yourself from… wait a minute! Sneaky, Kathryn McLaughlin of Engage Mutual life insurance, sneaky!

Odder still is the fact that Engage Mutual published the exact same story back in 2011 (as featured in the Daily Mail and the Mirror, amongst others), with almost identical entries in their top 50 list, many of which expressed in identical terms – further confirming that these reflect not the open responses of the survey takers, but the desired answers of the survey makers.

Perhaps they didn’t realise that constantly repeating yourself is a sign of old age…

“Women spend a long time putting on make-up!” says cosmetic surgeon selling semi-permanent make-up

Coming straight out of the ‘small numbers add up to large numbers’ file, the Sun and Daily Mail both noticed how much time women like to spend making themselves look pretty:

Women take a year to get ready

WOMEN spend a year and three months of their lives putting on make-up.

A survey into female beauty regimes shows they spend an average of 474 days putting on cosmetics.

Most time — a quarter — is spent on the eyes.

Source: The Sun, 21 February 2013

That’s a LOT of slap! Women spend a year and three months of their lives applying make-up

It’s been said women take a lifetime getting ready and it has now been revealed the average British woman will spend over a year of her life putting on her make-up.

A new survey into women’s daily beauty regimes shows UK women spend a colossal 474 days – one year and three months – in their lifetime putting on cosmetics, the equivalent of over a whole week every year.

Source: Daily Mail, 20 February 2013

Quite a startling statistic indeed – that women spending some time on their make up adds up to a lot of time over a long period of time. If this proves true, which is no guarantee – this is an online opinion poll, after all. Specifically, it’s an online opinion poll created by…

The Specialist Make-up Services poll found 93 per cent ALWAYS used slap on a night out and half had to have it on for work.

Specialist Make-up Services are the leading practitioners in semi-permanent micro-pigmentation treatments that add depth and definition to the eyebrows, eyes and lips.

Which almost makes it sound like this make-up company commissioned a poll designed to find that women waste a huge amount of their lives putting on make-up, with the expressed intention to convince people that semi-permanent make-up is a perfect time-saving solution. Or, as explained by The Sun:

The firm’s Debra Robson said: “Semi-permanent make-up saves time.”

“Women simply aren’t funny!” says cheese company promoting cheesy jokes for Red Nose Day

Chalking another victory for the ‘confirm an existing stereotype’ PR tactic, The Sun recently declared men to be the most rib-tickling of genders:

Men really are funnier than women say 98 per cent of new poll

MEN really are funnier than women according to a new survey – which also confirmed Billy Connolly as the nation’s favourite comedian.

An overwhelming 98 per cent of the nation think men are better at telling jokes.

The hugely one-sided outcome may surprise some given the recent upsurge in the popularity of comediennes such as Miranda Hart, Sarah Millican and Jo Brand.

Source: The Sun, 21 February 2013

While this poll soemwhat debunks itself in announcing the king of comedy to be a 70 year old Scotsman whose heydays were 30 years ago, it’s worth highlighting that the panel of comedy experts who decreed that a penis instantly bestows upon its owner the gift of comedy were quizzed by… cheese company Babybel:

Katherine Flannery, of Mini Babybel, said: “As a nation, we’re well-known for our sense of humour. With the success of Miranda Hart and Sarah Millican, we were surprised to see just 2 per cent of Brits believe women to be funnier than men.”

That’s the same Babybel who are prominently trading off their support for Red Nose Day, with their website proudly challenging  readers:

Tell us a cheesy joke and you could be on TV!

Here’s one for you: did you hear the one about the cheese company who thought selling outdated sexual stereotypes was a good way to support charity?

“Penises can be different sizes!” says condom manufacturer

Penis size matters a lot… if you’re aiming to get your company featured in the news, that is – as recent headlines in The Sun and The Daily Mail confirm:

Men in Stoke-on-Trent have the longest willies in Britain

FELLAS from Stoke-on-Trent are blessed with the biggest manhoods in Britain, according to a new survey.

The claim will no doubt please Robbie Williams, guitarist Slash and Claire Danes’s husband Hugh Dancy, who all hail from the town, along with darts champ Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor.

Source: The Sun, 14 February 2013

This is a perfect story for the tabloids – released around Valentine’s Day, it has the feel of research, it comes with a cheeky headline, it plays into the double-sided stereotype of penis size being both important and unimportant, it gets to label entire sections of the country as being physically inadequate while throwing in a tokenistic ‘but we know it’s not a big deal’, and it fits perfectly into the water-cooler zone of news.

The mail even goes as far as to press home the intrinsic value of a large penis:

But when it comes to girth, it’s Bristol chaps who claim the top prize, followed by those in Oxford, Leeds and Newcastle. (My emphasis)

What’s more, the newspaper has an excuse to run all manner of photos of celebrities as illustrations – including the headline image of Robbie Williams, illustrating neatly what a massive penis looks like.

Of course, behind the juicy and saucy and cheeky and other-adjectives-used-to-justify—unhelpful-nonsense headlines lies a company looking to flog product and gain publicity. Step forward, condom manufacturer Theyfit:

However the survey, from condom makers TheyFit, does suggest the average man on the street may be deluded when it comes to his size. 

We even get a mealy-mouthed quote from company founder Joe Nelson, explaining exactly why this meaningless PR exercise is actually not a meaningless PR exercise at all, but serious and important research:

Joe Nelson, founder of the website, said: ‘Our anonymised data represents the most accurate survey of penis sizes ever collected.

‘Previous studies have relied on self-reported measurements from men, leading to an issue of “size exaggeration”. 

‘But men buying our condoms are much less likely to do this for two reasons – firstly because they are parting with money for a custom fit condom and secondly because of our size code system (rather than labels like small, medium and large), there’s simply less focus on whether someone is bigger or smaller – it’s all about getting a custom fit.

Even if this were true – and, given that this entire story is just a way of telling people that Theyfit produce condoms, that’s no guarantee – the methodology is woefully flawed by the simple fact that the sample population is entirely self-selected, and thus non-representative.

While avoiding a show of hands (I’m not interested in where you buy your johnnies, dear readers), I’d imagine very few male readers of this article had heard of this particular company. In fact, the only people likely to be customers are those who have had issues with condoms in the past and have actually heard of this niche company. I’d imagine the overlap in that Venn diagram won’t win any ‘prizes’ for girth. 

It’s certainly fair to say that customers of a customised condom company are not the best group of people to quiz in order to find out the penis size of every other male in the country.

Still, that said, who are we to deny the tabloids the chance to mock up a map of UK cocks, headed up (quite rightly) by King Cock in the form of Robbie Williams.

And if there’s anyone out there who already feels uncomfortable with their body – driven, no doubt in part, by news articles such as this one – then never fear, I’m sure there’ll be another company along soon enough to sell you the solution to your fears.

“Some homes are better than others!” says housing company

Have you ever noticed that some houses are quite nice, whereas others are less so? You might think this obvious, but this was startling enough to make The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Daily Express recently.

The ideal house

THE perfect home is two miles from a supermarket, ten from the sea and in walking distance of a pub whose landlord knows your name, research shows.

It would also have good neighbours on both sides, be near the countryside and a newsagent — and contain at least two TVs.

Additionally it needs off-road parking, a spare room, an en-suite bathroom, a neat lawn — with trees around it — and fast web access.

Source: The Sun, 4 February 2013

image

So what makes the perfect home? Having a garden, a nice lawn, a nice dinner table, a nice bathroom, nice local conveniences… remarkable stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. It’s so generic a list you expect to see ‘has windows’ and ‘neighbours who don’t regularly throw their excrement at our children’ on the list too.

Who has presented us with this revolutionary way of telling a nice house from a not-nice house?

An open fire, comfortable sofa and ‘privacy’ were also deemed important, the study by Banner Homes.

Yesterday Spokesman Piers Banfield said: ‘Community spirit and a close bond between neighbours is arguably a little harder to come by these days, but the study proves it’s something we still view as integral to being happy with where we live.

That would be Banner Homes, ‘one of the UK’s leading independent retailers of fine new homes’, telling the world that they understand what makes a nice new home.

The research which made the media was commissioned by Banner Homes’ PR agency You, and carried out by regular PR pollsters OnePoll.