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Gadgets

The five most spurious Valentine's Day press releases

Every year at about this time, we're deluged with missives. Valentine's Day cards from adoring worshippers of our geek good looks? No. Press releases

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow! That can mean only one thing: romance? Unlikely. A posh dinner? Expensive. Lots of cards? No chance. No, the only certainty on Valentine's Day is that every journalist in the world is drawing straws and the work-experience kid/the newest team member/whoever's too hungover to say no, has to write a gift round-up. And where journalists go, PR follows. So pucker up gadget fans, and give big air kisses to the five most spurious Valentine's Day-themed press releases of 2009! Mwah!

5: Flip Video

The product: Flip Video camcorders
The pitch: According to budget camcorder makers Flip Video, "the era of conventional Valentine's Day traditions is over". It's "official", apparently. They've done a survey and everything: "nearly one in five (18 per cent) 18-24 year olds and 17 per cent of 25-34 year olds are already creating and sharing their own videos online at least once a week... social networks such as MySpace have noted a strong increase in the sending of Valentine video messages, and have developed a new channel to allow people to post these videos."
The kiss-off: A spurious survey and a spurious link to a public holiday? This is PR gold!

4: Lastminute gifts

The product: Gifts from Lastminute.com
The pitch: In partnership with Imagini, Lastminute.com is launching a "Web-based gift finder (that) makes personalised recommendations for presents by taking users through a fun, image-based quiz". The quiz is able to "understand people though images".
The kiss-off: It's only available in France. Er, thanks for keeping us posted.

3: Football Manager Live

The product: 50 per cent off a six-month subscription to Football Manager Live
The pitch: Sega offers suggestions on how its Football Manager Live online game can help you "Spend time with yourself, without the hindrance of an other half". After all, "Who needs a girlfriend or boyfriend when there are hundreds of people from all over the world to compete with for that elusive league title?" Who indeed?
The kiss-off: No jokes about playing with yourself, please. We're not that kind of blog.

2: Anti-virus protection

The product: Virus protection from BitDefender and PC Tools
The pitch: The thing about love is, it's great and everything, but you never know what you might catch. According to the anti-virus experts at BitDefender, "Virus writers are notorious for launching attacks around major holidays like Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day". Just like PR people! Apparently, you should "avoid opening emails with subject lines advertising Valentine's gifts, such as sexual-enhancement pills and cheap replicas for jewelry, designer bags and watches." PC Tools goes one further, warning of the danger of DTDs. That's Digitally Transmitted Diseases. Really.
The kiss-off: DTDs. PC Tools' PR people: take the rest of the day off. You've earned it.

1: SpinVox

The product: Voice-to-text service SpinVox.
The pitch: Spinvox is a service that converts your voicemails to text and sends them to you by SMS or email. Rather than trying to explain exactly what the point of that is, Spinvox has opted to send out a release telling the world that "two thirds of men (65 per cent) are planning to make significant cuts in spending this Valentine's Day." C-c-c-call the cops! Apparently spending cuts translates to writing poetry, so SpinVox has "teamed up with Christopher Mulvey, emeritus professor of English at the University of Winchester to provide a helpful five-step guide for wannabe Wordsworths who don't know where to start." Well done, Chris: that's one in the eye for anyone who says an English degree won't ever pay off.
The kiss-off: This is what Outlook filters are for, frankly.