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Science gives PR bunnies myxomatosis

Posted by putsimply on 3rd September 2007

There is a trend in PR that I’m not so wild about. The tendency to pay outside experts to validate pap research and, in turn, give the impression that scientists are people with FAR too much time on their hands.

Now I’m slightly biased on this one. I’ve undertaken post grad study into conservation genetics. I come from a family of scientists, one pharmacology, one is college head for a major university. I’ve grown up with scientific debate and theory and question everything that comes along.

So I read with keen interest Ben Goldacre’s shortened piece in this weekend’s Guardian, found here. The piece is about Clarion Comms’ use of the Cambridge University name to justify research that has no reason or rhyme but was created for a leg wax firm to promote women with wiggle and thus sell wax to the average one.

Very much worth a read. Especially as Ben was originally asked to provide a magic mathematical formula for it and “prostitute his name” for a mere £500. That, and the scientist that did also said:

“The Clarion press release was not approved by me and is factually incorrect and misleading in suggesting there has been any serious attempt to do serious mathematics here. No ‘team of Cambridge mathematicians’ has been involved. Clarion asked me to help by analysing survey data from 800 men in which they were asked to rank 10 celebrities for “sexiness of walk”. And Jessica Alba did not come top. She came 7th”