NB: Clarification from Ash Communications follows this post (comment number 3)
Gah! Time for an anti-PR rant. I've already blathered about it... but I have to do it again. Today I received 2 press releases from Ash communications (take your place in my hall of shame - the PR Waffle catergory) splattered with useless percentages.
Take this fine piece or meaningless waffle created for their client Skiingholidays.com
Confidence is returning to the ski industry with 80 per cent of skiers who did not
ski last year planning to return to the slopes this season. Skiers are
becoming savvier in finding ways to cut costs to stay on the slopes, with
40 per cent of holidaymakers looking to book late, a third choosing to
build their own skiing holidays using low cost flights, and 75 per cent
of independent skiers investigating car hire as a cheaper alternative
to often expensive transfers.
How many was your sample size? Who were you asking? How did you conduct your survey? Was there any sort of control group?
There was no detail whatsoever about where these percentages came from. RIDICULOUS.
What do you think we are? Stupid?? For goodness sake people... you
are communicating with journalists here. Most of us have an obligation
to check the veracity of facts before we publish things.
Is the one remaining difference between PR and journalism that
journalists have a true obligation to their audience - not to some client
that they commit to pump out meaningless tripe for once a week in
return for cash?
And then there was this story on Travelmole (it's password protected - so here's an extract too)
The use of micro blogging site Twitter is gaining rapid penetration within the travel industry, according to a new study. It
revealed that more than half of users (52%) tweeted between four and 10
times a day, with over a quarter sending more than 10 Twitter updates
The survey of 90 Twitter users who tweet
on travel matters was conducted by Andy Jarosz, writer and owner of
travel blog 501 Places.
I am sure this piece was lifted straight from a press release - it certainly feels like it.
We actually got a sample size here. It was 90 people. 90 people for heaven's sake! That's about as statistically valid as asking my mum and the postman!
So... there you go... PR people writing tosh backed up by pseudo science and journalists who should know better printing it verbatim. No wonder the media industry is in crisis!
Shall we go for comments/examples of the stupidest press release you ever received? Feel free - if you can be bothered...