So I am sitting here sorta sniggering to myself despite being infuriated by the latest study that shows very little yet professes to show an awful lot which includes wibbling about gateways and so on and blah blah. It is all very boring and predictable and can be found here.
As I sat reading through it this morning, becoming increasingly frustrated at its contents and tortured conclusions, one part really tickled me.
There are 3 paragraphs on what is, essentially, wrong with the study usefully included within the..uh..study itself. To be fair this is common practice but I don't think I have yet read one that has so many suggestions on how they could have done it better. It does rather beg the question of 'Well, why didn't you actually do that then?' from which the appropriate conclusion can be drawn of 'Because we want more funding'
One of these suggestions particularly tickled me. It transpires that the control group were not exposed to any advertising whatsoever, unlike the other two groups who were shown ads that contained either 'Candy flavoured' (ARGH! - Candy? Seriously people of Cambridge university?) and 'non-flavoured' e-cigs. It does not say what the adverts were so I can only guess at that. Actually, I can't even do that, I have literally no idea. Does non-flavoured mean tobacco or no flavour mentioned at all?
So the control group just had to answer some questions on their attitudes to smoking. Anyway, their suggestion to improve on this in the next study was to ensure that the control group had some adverts to look at too, you know so they had something to actually compare with what with this being a study about the effects of advertising on 11 - 16 year olds. Our esteemed researchers suggest that a suitable product would be stationary.
I am now plagued with scenarios of how this would play out. So I introduce to you Jenny and Johnny.
Jenny has been given a booklet with lots of colourful pictures of e-cig adverts in such flavours as bubblegum, candy floss and chocolate.
Johnny has been given a booklet of adverts for bic biros, various types of A4 paper, staples and some paper clips.
Researcher - Right girls and boys, I would like you to open your booklets and look at the first picture then answer a few questions about it on the next page. Once you have done this first one please ask if you have any questions and then continue with the rest of pictures.
Johnny - Miss? Isn't this study about if I want to buy things?
Researcher - Yes dear, just as we talked about at the start. Is that ok?
Johnny - Well..um..yes. It's just that I have an advert for a fine nibbed biro, have I got the right booklet?
Researcher - Yes that's right. Have a look and then answer whether you liked the advert and if you would like to buy it. You get pocket money?
Johnny - Yes I do.
Researcher - So would you spend your pocket money on that or any of the other things in the booklet?
Johnny - The biro?
R - Yes, the biro.
Johnny - [ riffling through pages ] What about the 80gsm printer paper?
R - Yes that too but please do one page at a time.
Johnny - Would I spend my pocket money on pens and paper?
R - Yes, please write down your answers.
Johnny - I buy comic books with my pocket money.
R - Yes, but would you buy those things there Johnny?
Johnny - [ Disbelief ] With my own money?
R - YES! - uh.. yes
Johnny - But my mum and dad buy those things, why would I use my money? What does gsm stand for? [ calls across the classroom ] Jenny? What are you looking at?
R - No, please don..
Jenny - Dunno, those ecig things
R - Girls and boys I really mu...
Johnny - So why have I got a picture of Asda's Back To School pencil case with the plastic semi circle ruler thing in it?
Jenny - Dunno, but did you know these come in bubblegum flavour? [surprised]
R - JENNY!
Johnny - What? No! Bet they're expensive. Hey I bought some extra lives on Candy Crush the other day, what level are you on? Hey Miss? Can't I have some pictures of computer games or something? I have my ...
R - Johnny please...
Johnny - ...mums google wallet thing on my phone and she lets me use it for my pocket money. AND I got some FIFA coins the other day!
Jenny - Have you seen that advert for Clash of Clans with James Corden in? OMG that baby dragon thing is SO COOL! I am going to get a new phone for my birthday so I will be able to play it then!
R - Children
Jenny - Did you see Star Wars? Dad says I can have a Hans Solo doll if I stop biting my fingernails
Johnny - Oh man that is so cool, I wish I bit my fingernails. How cool was it though when Hans Solo died...
R - Really now chil...
Johnny - I was like OMG NO WAY
R - Johnny...
Jenny - Yeah I know!! And Chewie was all like upset and stuff and...
R - Jenny, could yo...
Johnny - yeah yeah and like I swear my mum was like crying or something..
R - CHILDREN!!
J&J - Yes?
R - [ close to tears ] Please, just, concentrate.
Johnny - this is so boring,
[Hallway after session has fnished]
Jenny - Why do they keep asking us this stuff about ecigs?
Johnny - Dunno, it's annoying though. Did you see on Facebook that everyone is using them?
Jenny - Really? Sez who?
Johnny - Oh scientists and stuff, it was in a paper. My mum shares that stuff all the time. Apparently they are just as bad as real fags.
Jenny - Yeah I know, that is why my dad won't use one. I used to think they were good but he said 'No'.
[Debrief among researchers]
Well I think this is fairly conclusive, none of the kids wanted to buy the stationary and they were fairly apathetic about the ads....