Worst PR survey of the year?

It has been a while since my last Sheila’s Wheels-related rant/post, but the current release –HAIR TO DIE FOR: LATEST CELEBRITY HAIR TRENDS CAUSE DANGER ON THE ROADS has to be the most ludicrous ever.  The annoying car insurance company tells us that:

Almost 190,000 female motorists have had an accident or ‘near miss’ as a result of their hairstyle

Yes, the misuse of statistics as a “creative hook” continues with a stupid survey.  Again, we have patronising stereotypes from the “female-friendly car insurer” that women are rubbish drivers because they are distracted by such fripperies as their hairstyle (following last year’s advice on sunglasses and stiletto shoes).

And, don’t forget the hyperbole: “a massive 67 per cent of women currently have a hairstyle that can fall in their eyes whilst driving. However, despite this risk, only a fifth of women (21 per cent) always secure their hair off their face before getting behind the wheel.  Indeed, more than 9 million female motorists say that they never secure their hair back before driving.”

Don’t be fooled – they haven’t actually spoken to 9 million female motorists, but are extrapolating from some dodgy research.  Please, let’s hope no journalist believes “this is an issue that women should be taking more seriously”. 

And, Mischief PR – you should be ashamed of yourselves as this is “creative” PR at its worst. It manages to insult women (the client’s target audience) and champion the dreadful practice of the bogus PR survey at the same time.

I cannot believe any woman even considers Sheila’s Wheels insurance on the basis of this pathetic publicity attempt.  Surely, the company would build a better position as “female-friendly” if it has something relevant to say on genuine issues that affect women motorists.

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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.

One thought on “Worst PR survey of the year?”

  1. Sorry I’m late on this, Heather. Start of the new term, you know.

    For efficiency’s sake, I’ll combine my comments regarding this post and the one that follows it. My Headline: “Pathetic Publicity Ploys Poison Public Perception.” I love alliteration, too, especially with Ps.

    I’ll grant you that this survey about hair styles deserves to be ignored, yet I see similar stories on news sites catering to a younger demographic all the time. Not sure if the “masses” crave such fluff stories or if editors just think they do. But I’ll guarantee you that my students this week will know more about Tom C’s thoughts on Scientology than what’s happening in Kenya or Iraq. In fact, I’m betting most can’t find Kenya or Iraq on the map.

    So long as a gullible mainstream media finds a home for such tripe, PR types will continue to crank it out. Little wonder that PR has a PR problem, eh?

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