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Fake formula + marketing opportunity = ultimate sucker

February 25th, 2007

Dr Petra

This week I got sent a press release about the ‘perfect snog’. Frankly it was already not a very good marketing approach since the press release reached me two days after the event they wanted promoting. But even if it had reached me on time it didn’t hide the fact it was one of those dire ‘let’s make up a maths formula’ type PR ventures we’ve all grown to know and love.

This one claimed

“Romance boffins create formula for the ultimate smacker!”

Now I’m not sure what a romance boffin is, but I suspect it’s a job title that’s handed out alongside ‘sexpert’ and ‘dating doctor’. However I may be being very unfair so if you happen to be one of the romance boffins who created this formula and it’s something you’re proud of then do email me and I’ll admit my cynicism is misplaced.

Otherwise I’ll assume no ‘boffins’ (romance or otherwise) had a hand in the ‘ultimate smacker’ formula, but as is usual in such cases a PR company created it instead.

The press release read:

”We’re all on the quest for the perfect kiss and want to end our dry spells, but what if a formula could tell us exactly how good a snog was going to be, without ever having to do any snogging?!”

Yes, wouldn’t that be great? After all we all respond to kissing in exactly the same way so knowing a formula off by heart would save us so much time and stave off all those unwanted tongue sandwiches we have to endure. It actually doesn’t help you end a dry spell though since presumably if the formula suggests your date’s a dud you’ll be living in a dating desert for a little while longer.

Never mind, on with the release that continued:

“In what is clearly the breakthrough of the century, scientists have done exactly that, with a formula providing the key to the perfect snog”.

Hooray! I was hoping for a cure for AIDS or cancer or an end to global warming, but I’ll settle for this scientific breakthrough that I hope wins the Nobel Prize.

Ooops! I’m stopping you from getting to the science bit though, so here’s that formula:

“Girls = (L2+3F) + (2G/Br) + (2RxH) / (CxO)

Boys = (L2+3F) + (2G/Br) + (2AxB) / (M)”

Errrr, what the hell does that mean? Even with my inability to understand algebra this is very confusing. Even the press release admits it:

“Confused? That’s hardly surprising, but the formula is actually very simple”.

Phew, that’s a relief, I hope you’re going to explain it then?

Not exactly. The release says:

“It’s been devised by experts at Wrigley’s to celebrate the launch of their fantastic new gum – Extra Ice with a liquid burst -and includes criteria such as how much you fancy the snogee, where you are when you snog them, and even how their hair smells! A score of over 91 is the ultimate for a tonsil-tastic tickle of a kiss.

It’s part of Wrigley’s drive to help us avoid dry spells. While boys focus on looks in the perfect snog, girls simply want romance and a giggle; the one thing they agree on is fresh breath! No one wants to lock lips with someone that has a mouth like a sewer!”

Ah so that’s what’s behind the breakthrough of the century! Although it’s not clear exactly how they know men focus on looks and women only want romance and a giggle (no doubt those clever boffins found this out before creating the super equation).

The release then tells us how an agony aunt (described as a psychologist, but who has no qualifications in this area) “is on the ball when it comes to how to get the best kissing action and is here live to show us how to increase our snogging confidence end our dry spell this Valentine’s!” Well it’s a bit late for Valentine’s promotions really and it isn’t clear how the formula is going to end your dry spell if you keep finding people who don’t look good or who aren’t interested in romance. And since before we’ve even read the formula we’ve already been told women and men are after completely different things when seeking out a snog it seems dating is doomed.

Anyway after all that waffle here is the much promised, groundbreaking formula:

”THE FORMULA

To find out whether or not you have had the perfect snog, first answer the following questions about the ‘turn ons’ and ‘turn offs’ of the person you intend to snog. For each of the questions, give yourself a score between 1 and 5, where 1 = false and 5 = true.

For Both Boys and Girls:
( L ) I like her/him a lot
( F ) I’ve fancied her/him for a long time
( G ) She/he is lots of fun to be with
( Br ) She/he has bad breath

For Boys Only:
( A ) I think she is more attractive than average
( B ) I think she’s got a great figure
(M ) My mates don’t fancy her

For Girls Only :
( R ) He is spontaneous and romantic
( H ) He has a great sense of humour
( C ) He has really greasy hair
( O ) He has bad BO

Next, enter your scores into the following formulas for the perfect snog.

For boys the Perfect Snog =
(L2 + 3F) + (2G / Br) + (2AxB) / (M)

For girls the Perfect Snog =
(L2 + 3F) + (2G / Br) + (2RxH) / (CxO)

The Final Score
Once you have entered your questionnaire scores into the formula, compare your final result with the chart below to see just how good the snog is likely to be!
0 – 19 = A disaster waiting to happen – don’t even think about it!
20 – 39 = Unlikely to prove memorable
40 – 59 = OK, but nothing special
60 – 79 = Good, verging on great
80 – 90 = A truly fantastic snog
91 + = The perfect snog!”

Okay, but weren’t they telling us earlier that the formula was a way of ensuring you could tell how good your snog would be without having to do any snogging? Now we read the formula we find that you actually do have to kiss someone, then do some quick mental arithmetic, to decide if you want to snog them again.

So those boffins lied when they said this would save us time!

Of course this is a complete nonsense equation. It doesn’t tell us anything and of course in an ideal situation if you’re kissing someone you either keep doing it because you like it or you decide you’re not quite so keen and stop.

So here’s my formula to help explain this press release – and others like it
D = desperate attempt for publicity
B = made up boffin
P = false claim of psychologist involvement
F = fake formula
M = marketing opportunity

Which is expressed as: (D+B) x (P+F) = M

As with all other formula – including the ‘super snog’ one, it’s just a joke. Although the joke’s really on us since even if we don’t do the math, or get the snog, we still probably will buy the gum.

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