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The top five toughest sell-ins of September

I began compiling this series at the height of the pandemic, so I can’t help but marvel at the volume of tough sell-in stories that have managed to ‘make it’. During such a relentless hard news cycle, the prospect of picking up the phone to a journo to pitch the escalating issue of the ‘masturbation gap’ must be even more daunting.

So I’m celebrating PR professionals and our ability to triumph over adversity.

To those of you who’ve fallen in the Thames at 5am whilst waiting for ITN productions to capture the first glimpse of your gargantuan floating hippo. To the ones who’ve spent four months planning a report on the future of celery and a celeb has died during your sell-in. To those who’ve phoned to check if a hamster could feasibly play an instrument. To those who’ve earnestly pitched cauliflower as an equal to meat. And especially to the team who’ve had to raise the issue of the masturbation gap during a pandemic. I see you and I celebrate you – your clients are lucky to have you in their corner.

So, here’s September’s top five, dedicated to the most resilient, ballsy and tenacious marketing practitioners out there.

1. The Masturbation Gap: ICYMI, 5 September was “International Equal Masturbation Day”. What is this day and why is it necessary you may ask? Well, you’ve heard of the gender pay gap, the pension gap and the health gap but I suspect the ‘masturbation gap’ is not at the forefront of your minds. Well according to a certain sex toy brand it bloody well should be as the masturbation gap is now at a gut-wrenching 68%. The inaugural International Equal Masturbation Day states that from this day forth men and women should masturbate equally, three times a week.

2. Get a Shelfie: This tough sell-in gets the number two spot for being about-five-months-too-late-and-bone-achingly-obvious-yet-achieving-an-entire-page-of-a-national-newspaper. The crux of the story is that it is “time to get a shelfie” (I know, I want to vomit too) – an attractive looking backdrop so as to illicit feelings of admiration from those on the other end of your zoom calls.

3. Oxford leads the UK in farting: You may believe Chicago to be the Windy City, but according to this PR story it’s actually Oxford. According to the “report” (LOL), Oxford trumps the rest of the country for farting, with residents letting it rip 23 times a day. The “study” into our bottom burping habits also unveiled what a considerate nation we are, with 35% of us kindly moving away from others when we need to pass wind, whilst 13% try to cover it up with a cough. I’m left admiring the chutzpah of the team who sold this in whilst also pondering how only 13% fall into the ‘cough-to-disguise’ category.

4. Cheese is better for you than Spinach: In fourth place this week – one in ten Brits believe cheese is better for them than spinach. If this was a finding my team had unearthed, I would feel the need to call the consumer polling company to sense check the questions went out to adults and not infants/primates.

5. One in six consider leaving their partners because of snoring: In fifth place is the story that one in six Brits have considered leaving their partners over snoring. Much like the farting coughers, I would have thought this number to be higher (I’m sure the PROs who commissioned the research share this desire given this may have increased the coverage opportunities). The “study” goes on to suggest that a quarter of us apparently make secret recordings. Yet again I’m left wondering how this number isn’t higher, I regularly place my smartphone by my partner’s nasal passage so come morning he can concur it sounds like the death-rattle of a walrus.

Written by Sophie Raine, managing director, consumer brands at PR firm Ketchum London

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