Tag Archives: Richard Jenkins

“Keeping a teenager amused during summer is expensive!” says teenage summer club, via OnePoll

Parenting news now, with the revelation that having a teenager during the summer holidays is ruinously expensive:

Parents spend more than £1,200 keeping their teens amused over summer holidays

Parents face a bill of more than £1,260 keeping their teens amused during the summer holidays, a study has found.

Researchers discovered taking children on day trips, buying video games and magazines, and the extra cost of childcare will set mum and dad back £502 over the six-week break.

And they’ll shell out more than £335 per child just on food and drinks, including meals out, lunches during trips, as well as snacks and treats.

Source: Mirror, 24th June 2019

With the now certain knowledge that keeping a teen busy in a productive and stimulating manner over summer is a terribly expensive affair, it’s worth understanding which organisation is behind this particular headline:

Chris Brown, director of sales programme recruitment at National Citizen Service (NCS) – a three to four week summer programme which helps 16-17-year-olds gain confidence, build life skills and become more active citizens in their communities, said: “Our research has highlighted an issue for many parents across the country who are unsurprisingly worried about the cost of the summer holidays.

“With the long break fast approaching, parents want to ensure that their teens are spending their time productively, without breaking the bank.”

Wait a second, I’m getting an idea here: what if – and hear me out on this one – what if you were to enroll your teenager in the NCS scheme this summer? That might be cheaper then entertaining them yourself, AND it could be good for their development!

Oh, what a fortunate and entirely coincidental thing it is that the news story that made you worry about how to amuse your teen this summer also sold you a solution to the same problem!

Well done, Bad PR regulars and constant PR sluice 72 Point, for putting this in front of parents at exactly the right time. For money.

“People want to see photos of you on holiday!” says holiday company, via OnePoll

One commonly used PR trope could be termed the “Stat reversal”: where a headline-grabbing stat runs contrary to the perceived aims of the company behind it, but that stat is immediately recontextualised or reversed in the copy, to suit the commercial needs of the client.

For example, take the following story that 72 Point published in the Mirror:

Posting more than EIGHT holiday photos on Instagram is seen as ‘spamming’

It’s official – posting more than EIGHT holiday photos on social media is seen as ‘spamming’, a study has found.

A poll of 2,000 Instagram users found that rather than enjoying their friend’s travel snaps, followers are more likely to be annoyed by a deluge of pictures.

And two thirds think seeing too many of someone else’s holiday snaps leaves them feeling like they are missing out.

Source: Mirror, 13th June 2019

The client here is a holiday company, and on first glance it might seem like the message “people get annoyed by seeing too many holiday photos on social media” would run contrary to their business aims. However, fear not, because the fourth paragraph of the story turns the original stat on its head:

Despite this, the research, by MSC Cruises, revealed 54 per cent do like to see friends’ holiday photos, with these getting the most engagement on Instagram.

They prove to be more popular than pictures of pets and group shots with friends, although 28 per cent of Insta-fans claim their carefully-crafted shots don’t get as many likes as they deserve.

So barely three sentences into the story, and the original line “people get annoyed by your holiday photos” has been morphed into “people really like seeing your holiday photos, and they get great engagement”. We’ve done a full about face! And now we’ve turned the stat on its head, we can go even further:

It also emerged beautiful landscapes, iconic locations and images of the sea are the most loved types of holiday imagery.

Now, not only are holiday photos more desirable and engaging, but images of the sea in particular are most loved – a handy message to send when you’re a cruise company.

Finally, here’s the original press release on the SWNS website, which was naturally reproduced verbatim by the Mirror.

“People take photos of important events!” says bread company asking for people’s photos, via OnePoll

Tenuous PR news now, starting with ‘research’ that suggest big moments in our lives tend to happen at specific ages:

Average ages for life’s biggest milestones – how many have you ticked off?

The average age to tie the knot is 26, while buying your first home happens a year later, according to research.

A detailed study of 2,000 adults found the ages at which life’s special moments are most likely to happen, with your first kiss at 15 and getting your first real boyfriend or girlfriend at 17.

Sadly, this is followed by a first heartbreak at the age of 18.

Music fans will attend their first gig at the age of 16, while thrill-seekers will experience their first rollercoaster ride when they are just 12.

Source: Mirror, 17th June 2019

We have to go on a little bit of a journey to spot the PR angle on this one, as this research was paid for and the copy commissioned by a bread manufacturer, who first spin the story from “things happen at certain ages” to “we can remember big events that happen in our lives”:

Melissa Bentley, marketing manager for French bakery brand, Brioche Pasquier, which commissioned the research, said: “Many of us can still remember big life events, even if they happened decades ago.

“But even though memory is a great way of capturing these times, having them in photos and videos is really great to relive some of the key moments of our lives.”

The quote from the marketing spokesperson nudges the angle from “we can remember things” to “we all take photos of big events in order to remember them”, which brings us to the real purpose of this story:

Melissa Bentley added: “Whatever the special moment and whenever a person experiences it, it seems that a lot of us choose to honour the occasion in the form of a photograph.

“And it’s now even easier with most of us people able to reach into our pockets and capture it on our smartphones.

“This summer, that is exactly what we’re asking members of the public to do.

”Share your images of your special moment with us and our favourites will have the chance of winning amazing prizes”.

So from our starting point of “milestone events happen in our lives at certain ages”, we’ve now got to “a bread company wants to see your family snaps”. Convoluted stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree… and not, by any stretch of the imagination, journalism.

Unsurprisingly, this story was written in full by a PR company, and the copy published by the Mirror without any editing:

If it wasn’t poor enough of the Mirror to print the advertising copy verbatim, they once again even end with a hyperlinked call to action, to really please the marketing team:

To enter the Brioche Pasquier #shareaspecialmoment competition and be in with a chance of winning a family holiday worth £2000, visit here and upload a photograph of your family special moment.