A Survey Too Far?

Journalists often moan about the plethora of surveys and spin-led stories they receive, yet two wonderfully effective publicity stunts hit the headlines this week. For me, as someone inside the industry, however, they’ve got my goat a little.

Firstly, let’s look at a hotel chain's survey into the British attitudes the countryside. Surveys are always a plum way to get coverage, especially if there’s a stupefying ‘fact’ to lead it. In this case, that ‘one in ten Britons can’t recognise a sheep’.

PUR-LEEASE! Just who were interviewed - scarecrows? When you’re a child sheep are one of the first animals you learn to identify along with dogs, cats and cows. Old McDonald etc etc. Effective as it was – and you should never underestimate how stupid some people are – endless surveys about how thick we are in this country can’t surely be accurate.

Having said that, BBC Radio 5Live ran a story on it and asked for pictures, carrying my shot from the Lake District, which I submitted (pictured).

The other one, which I’ve blogged about before on my personal blog is the Australian state of Queensland’s very effective bid to have the Great Barrier Reef beamed into homes around the world with their ‘appeal’ for an island caretaker at a figure three times the average salary in Australia. Blatant, but effective. I reckon they’ll give the job to an American. They need to break that market (you don’t meet many in Queensland) while they can take Brit backpackers for granted. The shortlisted Kiwi can forget all about winning. I’ll eat my hat the day an Aussie awards a victory to New Zealand!

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