Another meaningless public relations survey

Quite a clever headline in this press release: BREAK DOWN OF COMMUNICATION but otherwise, it is pure promotion for M&S car insurance and of little news value.

As per my recent post on the use of statistics by British Car Auction, fear is the chosen public relations strategy.  This time:

“of all the things British drivers fear about breaking down, being left unable to contact anyone to ask for help is the worst.”

The survey seems poorly structured since the other “greatest worries” such as breaking down alone, in a deserted sport or without knowing where you are, all link into the inability to call for help.

Percentage after percentage is thrown into this release – but what is the value?  Who cares that (note the exclamation mark – a sure sign of poor content):

Eight per cent of men agree that there’s nothing worse than breaking down when you’re meant to be enjoying yourself – on holiday!

Then we get to the sell – “So with all these fears, are British drivers equipped for a breakdown, should it happen?”  Of course M&S Car Insurance is inclusive of breakdown cover – not sure how this actually helps overcome the main fear of being phoneless though.

Next it’s the quote from an “intrigued”  M&S Insurance Manager who provides such invaluable advice “doing a quick check for your phone before you get in the car will ensure you have the means to make a call.”

And in the notes to editors, a reminder that the research coincides with the M&S Car Insurance new TV advertising campaign (that does not make this an integrated communications strategy).

This was a YouGov survey of 1,685 British drivers – but that doesn’t make it newsworthy.  I am tired of such formulaic PR campaigns – let’s undertake a survey and get some coverage.

On a similar “tired PR” topic, check out ‘s views on “ubiquitous stunts being used to generate media” primarily the celebrity-creates-fashion-range-creates-mass-hysteria-on-the-high-street tactic.  As he says:

There are far too many uninspired PRs trying to impress their clients

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.