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Home > Media

WAWIBF... Tickboxing

18 June 2004

This week a fascinating new survey showed that as far as sport's 'top bad boys' go, your average Briton prefers liver-shitting alcoholic love rat George Best over ear-spitting bankrupted rapist Mike Tyson, or even bloated glory-stealing coke-freak Diego Maradona. Thank God we know.

We're not sure yet what the product is, but the company behind the heavily-weighted questions is called Tickbox.net, a market research company brought to you by a much larger company called Markettiers4dc. According to the latter's website, Tickbox's 'surveys can give you the hook or angle they need for a newsworthy story that will secure media coverage.' But as you can see, 'newsworthy' is not necessarily the operative word.

Tickbox has a 'team of highly experienced marketing professionals' who, using their expertise, are able to offer you 'a truly savvy survey service'. And you can tell they know what they're up to by the power of their slogans. Examples:

- If you have an audience in your mind, we'll help you find out what's in theirs.

- Take the weight off your mind, and take the wait off your mind too!

- Giving you answers. Giving you knowledge. Giving you headlines.

- You want results by when?! Chuck the calendar, find a stopwatch.

- No Markettiers4dc, no exclamation marks!

Oh no, hang on, that last one was ours.

Frightening, isn't it?

Tickbox's research is carried out under the guise of free-to-enter competitions. Each survey you fill in enters you for a free draw. This they call 'the art of tickboxing'. Cute. A trawl through the current competitions tells you that over the next couple of months, Tickbox will be placing the following product-related non-stories: the Olympics has a positive influence on Britain's obese children; you can get skin cancer all year round, not just in summer; you should really consider taking out insurance on your pets; and also, with a survey asking which activities Britons enjoy more frequently than jogging, look forward to the story, 'No sex please, we're jogging! 46% of people run more often than they have sex! Population urged to buy new trainers.'

All in all, Tickbox bring to mind Bill Hicks' rants against marketing. He was right. These people really are Satan's little helpers. There really is absolutely no rationalisation for what they do. They really do turn everything into a dollar sign and fill the world with bile and garbage. And they really ought to shut the fuck up and kill themselves.

Research has shown.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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