Tag Archives: Anna Hodgekiss

“Christmas food will make you fat!” says diet firm

“Christmas food will make you fat!” says diet firm

Christmas is just around the corner, and with it the health holocaust that a week of eating, drinking and couch-potatoing will guarantee to wreak on every one of us. It’ll be a miracle if any man, woman or child survives un-porkified. If only there were some kind of company out there we could turn to in order to shed that festive fat…

The results were revealed in a survey of 1,000 people for the diet company Forza Supplements which looked at excessive consumption over the Christmas and New Year holiday.

Oh, thank god for that, then!

Forza Supplements Managing Director Lee Smith said: “We all want to let our hair down at Christmas and enjoy ourselves. “But it can take months to repair the damage if you really let yourself go.

‘Easter Sunday is on April 20 next year and a lot of people will still be feeling the effects of Christmas even then.

‘The key to limiting your weight gain is to do simple things like eat slowly and avoid over-filling and make sure you take some exercise.’

And, presumably, putting our faith in dodgy diet pills. Happy Christmas, from everyone at Forza Supplements!

“It’s important to watch what you eat!” says food supplement retailer

“It’s important to watch what you eat!” says food supplement retailer

“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.

“Men want and need plastic surgery!” says plastic surgeon

A great rule of thumb for getting your nonsense PR pushed into the media as if it had any value is to run with whatever’s likely to be on people’s minds at any given time (even if it’s only on people’s minds because of the actions of other PR types). In the run up to Christmas PR focuses on who needs to buy who what, whereas in January, it’s all about the self-improvement.

Which is why it’s no great surprise that the Daily Mail and The Sun told us of the scores of men aiming to fix the flaws with their physique in January:

Moob operations up 28% in a year as men are spurred on by buff bodies of Olympic athletes 
– Number of man boob operations has doubled in the last five years

The number of men going under the knife to get rid of their so-called man boobs has increased by 28 per cent in the last year, new statistics show.

Man boobs – or moobs – as they are known, are the bane of many men’s lives, with high-profile sufferers including Ricky Gervais and Simon Cowell.

Excessive development of male breasts – also known as gynaecomastia – is thought to affect 40 per cent of men and it seems the proportion is rising.

Source: Daily Mail, 7 January 2013


Mooby blues see ops soar

THE number of men seeking a moob reduction surged 28 per cent in the last 12 months, figures reveal.

Requests for the £2,670 operation soared as blokes try to ditch their man boobs like TV’s James Corden for tidy pecs like David Beckham.

And surgeons say demand rocketed further after the Olympics with Brits keen to copy the bodies of Team GB heroes including Tom Daley and Louis Smith.

Source: The Sun, 7 January 2013


We’re helpfully told how large and widespread a problem the issue is – with ‘sufferers’ of the ‘condition’ numbering as many as four in ten men. Also, helpfully, we’re given the names of celebrity figures who aren’t sufferers, including Olympic sportsmen and film stars, complete with pictures so that afflicted men can see what they ought to look like. Which is very helpful.

These tactics are not new, of course – they’re staple feed for women’s magazines – but the comparable negative effect on the body image of the male population is often overlooked.

Of course, this is nothing but a piece of advertising, so who might have an interest in making 40% of men feel bad about their bodies (not to mention those men who are perfectly happy with their ‘moobs’ but conscious about one of the other cosmetic complaints listed)?

Pat Dunion, boss of surgery group Transform, said: “Man boobs can be difficult to shift using exercise alone.

“More and more men who are feeling self conscious about the size of their chest area are turning to chest reduction surgery — also known as gynaecomastia — to overcome their problem and boost their confidence.”

With articles such as these – simple adverts for a cosmetic surgery touting for business – it’s little wonder that many men will be feeling self conscious. And just in any female readers women are feeling unvictimised by the group, never fear, we have a story for you, too:

Popular? You nose it: Duchess of Cambridge’s nose is the most requested plastic surgery procedure

What did you wish for this Christmas? Socks, a new DVD player – or perhaps even a new nose?!

The Duchess of Cambridge has the most sought-after nose, with women requesting rhinoplasty in the shape of her nose, more than any other celebrity facial part. It was popular last year, but this year, the number of women requesting her nose has trebled.

Source: The Independent, 28 December 2012


As it happens, the appearance of Transform in the news in January was no surprise: not only is it the perfect time to capitalise on people’s increased focus on physique in the post-new-year gym rush, it’s also the time of the year Transform traditionally strike. Take, for example, this from the Daily Express in 2011:


TODAY is officially the UK’s “Fat Day” – the one Britons will feel at their heaviest and make the life-changing decision to take drastic measures to shed the pounds.

It comes as research reveals that the average woman piled on a massive 11lbs over the festive season, which is almost a stone – and an entire dress size.

Source: Daily Express, 17 January 2011


Are the stories true? Possibly, possibly not – all we can say is that they’re placed into the media by a cosmetic surgery firm who want to tell you how bad you feel about how you look, in ways which their services can happily fix for you.