Bee-careful – another esure press release

are at it again – another daft press release: Bee-careful: 650,000 car accidents are caused by uninvited insects.

Apparently the DVLA Driver Census 2006 (which I couldn’t find via the DVLA or government statistic sites) reveals that “over half a million motorists have had a car accident thanks to distractions caused by insects and bugs”.

A torturous equation (ie % of motorists x average cost claim / 23.37 years – the average period of time a person drives for) is used to reveal this amounts to “an estimated £44 million of car damage each year”.

The ubiquitous motorists’ survey then reveals that “insects proved to cause the second biggest disturbance”, and:

“three quarters (75 per cent) of drivers revealed that rogue bugs drove them to distraction, so much so that over a million (four per cent) motorists admitted to slamming on the brakes when an insect flew into their car.  Worryingly, an additional fifth of motorists (21 per cent) said they took their hands off the wheel to either swat or flick out an unwanted bug.”

The solution – a special ‘spider web’ insect protection net – which despite the sub-header of “esure unveils bug net innovation” is a concept not a real product.  Anyway, the company is:

“always looking at ways to help drivers reduce the likelihood of having an accident and these car insect nets could help to make the roads safer this summer. And the three per cent of drivers who never wind down their window in fear of an insect flying in, would be able to experience fresh air whilst driving for the very first time.”

Let’s add in the usual gender stereotypes – female motorists are more distracted by insects, but men admit to more insect-related accidents.  The poor little dears are also more likely to cite the pain of being bitten as a concern.

Then its phobias and a quote from Professor , Chartered Psychologist and phobia specialist (clearly from a Google search a pretty flexible psychologist for PR and media hire)

Then the release bungs in the regional angle – with “Brummies” the “worst affected”, but 16 per cent of Londoners “safely ignoring unwanted insects”.  Actually, the range of fearful in the regions is 84-87% – and although it is unclear how many people are representative of each region, this is unlikely to be a statistically significant variation.

Of course we have blindingly obvious advice at the tail end of the release and some pretty naff photos.

I plan to ask my automotive journalist contacts their views of such releases – bizarrely, I find myself thrilled to see another such appear in my daily feeds.  I’m all for creativity, and esure isn’t exactly a serious brand, so I find myself intrigued to see quite how ridiculous the subject of the next installment will be.

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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.