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Blue Monday, bad science and nonsense PR
Monday, 20 January 2014 15:46

The Blue Monday phenomenon receives more and more criticism every year, but it is just one of countless examples of media-friendly bad science used to promote products.

Keen observers of the UK media may have noticed that today is the most depressing day of the year, according to scientists. Even keener observers have spotted that today isn’t actually officially the most depressing day of the year at all, but merely the day a particular travel company wanted to nudge you into booking a winter-blues-alleviating holiday, hiring a media-friendly scientist-type along the way to add a veil of legitimacy to their advert.

The trajectory of this particular piece of PR has been interesting to observe over the years it has been making headlines: the tide has somewhat turned of late, after the initial widespread acceptance back when it first appeared in 2005, with last year seeing almost as many cynical and sarcastic take-downs of the story as there were examples of credulous churnalism.

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time, energy and personal sanity monitoring the levels of PR in the press, it’s bittersweet to see the Blue Monday backlash gathering momentum. It is undoubtedly encouraging to see both the media and social media ablaze each year with critiques of this particular piece of PR nonsense … but this is just one story, and just one day.

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