How sex helps to sell a survey story – but does it help the brand?

A few years ago the PR industry worked out that the media loves research stories and the survey industry was born. Since then, the ’8 out of cats’ style story has become a mainstay of the media landscape. And despite some editors tiring of it, there’s no sign of it letting up.

The problem is that most of the time the survey has absolutely nothing to do with the brand, so the company that commissions it is instantly forgettable. Today’s piece on Mashable (and other sites) is a case in point. Apparently 10% of teenagers think it’s ok to text while having sex. To be fair, there are a load of other findings to this survey, but not surprisingly, it’s the sex that grabs the headlines.

Of course, when you dig a little deeper, you see that out of the 1,000 people that took part in the survey, around 18.5% of adults (in the UK, at least – the survey was US based) are aged 16-29. So you can assume that less than nineteen under-25 year old respondents said it was ok to text and have sex. Hardly rock solid data, but then, as long as the story fits, everybody’s happy.

One question remains though: of those who read the story in the Metro and other outlets, how many can remember the company behind it, five seconds after reading it?