Friday, 9 October 2009

Don't hold the front page

One of the amusing aspects of my job is the number of e-mails we get at work telling us how to enlarge our penises or where to buy cheap viagra. Given that both me and my fellow journalist at arms are female, it usually gives us a chuckle or two, especially when the author appears to be only semi-literate in English.

Take this example, the subject line was "Never bone-off!"
Swallow one doze and tell your girl to get down on all fours! Tonight your bedroom will be a hotter place than sun surface! Enter the universe of amorous might and endurance! Try this mix! You will make love like you only did in fantasies! Try today! Continue taking her until the night will be over! This mix will burn you from inside, creating mighty wave of desire! More than 100000 of men worldwide trust their carnal well-being to our products! Easy method to make you a Super Man with ladies! Your lovegun can't be feeble with our supplements! Arousal is fast and mighty with our vigor-pilules.

What's a pilule? A cross between a pill and pustule? Call me crazy, but I don't want to be burned from the inside by a small capsule of pus that can be taken internally. Although entering the universe of amorous might and endurance doesn't sound too bad.

Then there's the press releases masquerading as news. They're often surveys carried out by private companies with some sort of angle to push, and hey, in the instance, it's going to have worked -at least in publicity terms - because here I am writing about it.

According to a survey for more people in Britain are confused as to why Cheryl Cole stays with Ashley Cole than they are by credit card interest rates. What the hell does this have to do with Confused, which is after all a comparison site? Bugger all as far as I can see, but if anyone prints it, it helps insert them into people's consciousness. Because anyone writing it would have to say where the information came from, otherwise the story would be somewhat thin.

Apparently they surveyed 4,979 people between the ages of 16 and 65 living the length and breadth of the country. But they don't tell you which country, they refer to "Brits" but nothing specific is said. Does this mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? Were the population of Eire canvassed as to what they were confused about? We don't know.

This press release tells us precisely nothing of use, except maybe for a lazy generalisation that those who answered the survey should perhaps start worrying about more important things.

For your information, the top 50 most confusing things according to this survey were:
1. Foreign call centres - are they actually confusing? It's fairly obvious why we have them, it's cheaper. Don't people just find them inconvenient?
2. Algebra - Without current maths lessons, I am with them on this one.
3. What women see in Russell Brand - it's the androgyny, and it's a generally accepted urban myth women are more likely to be bisexual than men.
4. Why Cheryl Cole is still with Ashley - because she's an idiot/has low self-esteem/doesn't care that he's a cheating scumbag? None of the above? Why do you even care?
5. Credit card interest rates
6. Buying a house
7. Politics
8. The laws of cricket - "Laws of cricket" What? Is cricket some sort of universal physical maxim now?
9. Insurance policies
10. Loan interest rates
11. Football's offside rule - It's perfectly simple, all it says is that there must be at least one player of the opposing team between a striker and the goalie when the striker has entered the scoring area. Or when I knew what it meant, that's what it meant, Unless it's changed recently? But you see, I'm not confused, I'm just potentially ignorant.
12. Religion
13. Converting currency
14. Languages
15. Filling out insurance forms
16. Setting up wireless networks
17. Men
18. Stephen Hawking's theories
19. Figuring out nutritional information on food labels
20. Kerry Katona - I'm confused, why is she on this list?
21. All the different lottery draws
22. Fixing printers
23. Predictive text
24. Poker
25. Twitter
26. Small print - Well d'uh. That's the whole POINT of small print.
27. Automated phone systems
28. Why and how Stonehenge was built - This isn't confusing, it's just unknown.
29. Women
30. Donnie Darko - Fair point.
31. Filling out passport forms
32. Reverse parallel parking - I don't get confused by this, I know exactly where I go wrong, I'm just not very good at it.
33. Clocks going back / forward - Really? Really really?
34. Packaging on kids toys - You're shitting me, aren't you?
35. Crop Circles - Urm, it's a circular pattern, in some crops. Which bit of this is confusing you?
36. Computers
37. Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction
38. Train fares
39. Fruit machines
40. People who crack their knuckles - How is that confusing? They're just people who like making freaky noises with their hands.
41. Reading a map
42. Re-tuning the TV
43. The M25
44. Train timetables
45. Setting an alarm on a cooker/oven
46. In the Night Garden
47. Reading a train timetable
48. Magic Roundabout in Swindon
49. The tube - Hah, lies.
50. Fax machines

And lastly, in our round-up of not news, we have: The BRUGO mug.

"Are you looking for that perfect gift that looks cool and has a real wow factor? Look no further that the Innovative and unique BRUGO Travel Mug.
The BRUGO travel mug is an innovative solution designed with tea and coffee-lovers in mind. Spero Pavlos reached the end of his tether one morning while trying to drink a fresh cup of coffee. Sitting in his car, he removed the lid to cool it slightly... the cup slipped. Coffee spilled and spattered all over his clothes and his new car. Spero then embarked on a mission to find a solution that plagued every tea and coffee drinker on the go. BRUGO was born."

So he set out to invent a product that made it easier for you to drive dangerously? Ok, I'll admit this press release doesn't explicitly mention the car being driven, but it was the first thing that came to mind when I read it. Anyone driving and drinking coffee and being upset when they spill it over themselves just seems a little stupid to me.

It continues: "Until now, tea and coffee lovers faced a compromise - either by blowing on it, adding ice, waiting patiently or burning your mouths but no more. With Brugo you can drink your tea or coffee immediately, yes! no more waiting 20 minutes! It's so simple to use, just Tip & Cool or Sip."

Ok, so I know I don't drink tea or coffee, but I've never known anyone who did put ice in it to cool it down...

"Brugo is the evolution of thermal travel mugs and is the only one to have the Innovative Perfect Temperature Zone technology.
The Brugo Travel Mug has 3 lid settings:
Tip & Cool: Tip your 450ml BRUGO away from you and then swill in a circular motion, this reduces the temperature of one mouthful whilst the remaining beverage stays hot.
Lock: the Mug is locked and spill proof.
Sip: Drink directly from the central chamber."

If it works, it's neat, but it still seems an awful lot of effort to go to. And what are you going to do in a coffee house? Hand it over and say "What ho barista! I demand you furnish me with hot beverage of choice in my own receptacle!"?

"With BRUGO by your side, you will never again have to wait before you can drink your tea and coffee! And in its own gift box it is the perfect cool present this Christmas especially in the current fiscal climate."

Yes, in these straitened times, this delightful coffee-drinking contraption will set you back a mere £14.99. From

Snort. Yes. Well. Laters.


TheTelf said...

lol @ "Never bone-off!" and "Your lovegun can't be feeble with our supplements". :D

"I don't want to be burned from the inside by a small capsule of pus that can be taken internally" - but then you're not the target market. All men know what he's talking about and it sounds AWESOME!

That survey is bizarre - are the full results/methodology up anywhere?

The fact that algebra is higher than "Stephen Hawking's theories" is just silly, and I'd be interested to see how they ranked them.

And that mug seems like a slightly over-complicated but ultimately-quite-clever idea. :)

Hanspan said...

Whatevs :P

I haven't searched to see what the methodolgy was, the details I provide in the post came from the e-mail we were sent.

And yup. I would agree with you on that. Though one could argue that more intelligent people would be aware of that and as they're in a minority, their answer would crop up correspondingly less. Though given the size of the sample, I don't think it's wise to read ANYTHING into this survey.

Visit the mug's website, it has a graph of when the best time to drink your hot beverage is...