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Dropping a dolly

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Dropping a dolly

It was good to read a release from Drambuie’s PR company recently, in which they revealed the exclusive results of a survey conducted by the nation’s favourite “honeyed whisky liqueur” brand.

You know what a sucker I am for surveys and this was up there with the best, revealing as it did that the person we Brits would most like to invite to a fantasy dinner party is… drum roll please… Dolly Parton.

Eh?  The diminutive country and western singer? Is hers really the first name that springs to mind among nearly a third of the 2,000 respondents? I’ll happily accept that a quarter would turn to Jamie for culinary inspiration, and, given his remarkable achievements last year, that 23 per cent would like to see the late Captain Sir Tom Moore at their table. But Dolly on top at 29 per cent? Sorry, I’m just not buying it.

It demonstrates the problem of surveys that contrive to deliver a headline-grabbing result but in doing so lose any credibility.

I assume, of course, that they provided a list of names and Dolly’s gained the most ticks (and why not – I’m sure her table manners are delightful), and that it was only intended as a bit of light-hearted fun, but I can’t see any publication biting.

The surveys that work are those grounded in truth. They may not be so attention grabbing but they are more likely to feed into features. “Sixty per cent of Brits admit they won’t cook fish because of the smell” might make a useful way into a column about cooking fish; “A fifth say they haven’t turned their oven on in a year” could be worked into a piece about getting families cooking again. 

For a food or drink writer, “A third of Brits quite fancy Dolly Parton” just doesn’t take you anywhere.

On the plus side, it wasn’t a complete waste, though. I now know Drambuie is made with honey and whisky.

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