Tag Archives: kerry mcdermott

“People today really hate how they look!” says plastic surgery firm

How insecure are you about your looks? If the answer is ‘not very’: congratulations, you’re not the butt of this next Bad PR story. We’re specifically looking at you people for whom self esteem does not come easily, and for whom exploitation by a cynical industry might:

Insecure Britain: A quarter of us NEVER feel good about ourselves … and weight, parenting and bills are the biggest factors bringing us down 

In a disturbing glimpse of the country’s mood, it seems a quarter of Britons never feel good about themselves and are riddled by insecurities.

New research reveals that the country seriously lacks confidence with our appearance, our ability to parent, and basic tasks like paying bills correctly all causing us anxiety.

A survey of 2,033 respondents revealed that for over a quarter, facing themselves in the mirror ranked highest in terms of situations where confidence escaped them, with 33 per cent saying their body is the thing they would most like to change to improve their self-assurance.

Source: Daily Mail, 29th May 2013


It’s a disturbing glimpse indeed – if true. However, if this transpires to be, say, a cosmetic surgery company touting for business by making the nation feel terrible about themselves – well, it’s less a disturbing glimpse, and more a cynical advertising ploy dressed as news.

Speaking of which, here’s an infographic and press release put out by Transform Cosmetic Surgery:


It seems I’m not the only one who spotted the press release and infographic put out by Transform, with the more positive aspects of the release forming a wave of local and national coverage declaring various cities to be among the happiest in the country:

Top 10 happiest cities in the UK revealed

Sheffield residents have something to smile about after their city was crowned the happiest place to live in the UK.

A third of people from the city of steel said they feel good every single day of the week in a new happiness study by Transform Cosmetic Surgery Group (TCSG).

The Scottish capital of Edinburgh came a close second, followed by the Sussex seaside town of Brighton in third.

Source: Metro, 29th May 2013

It’s not so grim up North: Sheffield is the happiest city in Britain (and it’s all because they have more sex there) 

Sheffield has topped a list of Britain’s happiest cities – with a third of the population saying they wake up with a smile on their face every day.

Tellingly, those polled ranked sex highly on the list of factors that keep them feeling upbeat, along with doing good deeds for others, spending time with family and being given a compliment.

The South Yorkshire steel centre beat southern spots including London, Bristol and popular seaside resort Brighton to the number one position.

Source: Daily Mail, 31st May 2013

Of course, even the positive (and needlessly sex-referencing) stories need to carry the brand message, which is why tucked away in the Mail coverage is this necessarily negative nugget:

But the study also revealed a quarter of Britons never feel good about themselves. When asked to state the situation most likely to make them lose their confidence, over 25 per cent said looking at their own reflection.

Because, as we all know, it isn’t happiness and contentment which sends people to a cosmetic surgeon, and Transform don’t want to have wasted their money getting this non-story into the news without seeing a decent return on investment, even if that means painting an unhelpful and inaccurately-negative view of the world in the process.

“Staying with the family at Christmas is REALLY stressful, right?!” says hotel chain

The primary purpose of any press release – particularly a commercial press release – is to gain media coverage for the client; to get the client’s name as far as possible into the public sphere in a way that does not appear to be an advert.

Often there are secondary purposes – perhaps to publicise a new product range, or to inform the public of a new breakthrough in technology, or even as cynically as to plant a subtle hint that the public has a problem which they were previously unaware of, but which the client in question is the solution to.

Running up to Christmas, the hotel chain Travelodge took both of these purposes very seriously indeed, seeding a string of articles into the press to promote the notion that spending Christmas in the bosom of our family is a stressful and friction-filled affair, liable to result in all manner of arguments and issues.

We’ve been told that families argue, on average, as early as 10:13am on Christmas Morning, and that of all the guests expected over Christmas time, it’s the mother-in-law we dread seeing the most.

Pouring fuel on those fires even further, we’ve the following two articles, both in (at least) the Daily Mail:

Half of men think women exaggerate stress of Christmas while a third think they could do a better job

Four in ten women would not trust their partners to carry out essential tasks

A massive 85 per cent also say men don’t understand the effort required for a perfect Christmas

42 per cent of women find hosting Christmas Day their most stressful job of the year

Source: Daily Mail, 16 December 2012


Nightmares about giant turkeys, too many presents to wrap and parties to attend… STRESSMAS has arrived as today marks Britain’s worst week for sleep deprivation

45% of Britons will lose 21 hours of sleep this week in the run up to Christmas Day

Almost half will survive on a mere five hours of sleep a night in order to cram in last minute tasks and preparations as well as festive celebrations

Source: Daily Mail, 17 December 2012


These latter two stories, interestingly enough, deriving from the same Travelodge press release:


Travelodge, then, are so successful at getting their coverage into the press that the Daily Mail will take a single press release of theirs and cut it into two – which, from the newspaper’s perspective, is an effective use of resources at a busy time of the year. And, of course, the client is delighted that they get double the coverage for their business. So who loses out here? As ever, it is the reader.

Throughout all of the Christmas press releases by Travelodge, the angle has always been the same – spending time with your family can be hell, so why not book into a hotel instead?

That Travelodge think it’s acceptable to advertise their rooms by perpetuating all manner of negative stereotypes and pseudo-gender wars is, quite frankly, a huge shame, and a disappointment. That the newspapers uncritically publish this non-research as if it were genuine news, is just as bad.