The price for being funny in an SMS message
Everyone loves a good joke. Well, maybe not everyone since humour can be very situational. That’s what a company called Parklife Weekender, who run Manchester’s annual festival, discovered last week.
Earlier this year they had sent a marketing text message out to their list promoting “after parties” for the annual festival. The message read:
“Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your (sic) going, make sure your (sic) home for breakfast! Xxx www.afterlifemcr.com”
By itself the message seems harmless enough. And it is. But instead of using their company name as the “from” name, they changed it so that people would receive a message from “Mum”.
According to a statement by the company, the change “was intended as a fun way of engaging festival-goers”. Unfortunately though, many people took exception to receiving the message. Among them people whose Mums had died. Some of them had lost her in just the few weeks before the message went out.
When people complained to the company, the response wasn’t sympathetic. It wasn’t until later they issued a statement saying they acknowledged the message might not have been appropriate for everyone.
The apology wasn’t enough though, and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued the company a £70,000 fine last week. In a press release, the ICO said “This was a poorly thought out piece of marketing that didn’t appear to even try to follow the rules or consider the impact that their actions would have on the privacy of individuals.”
Anyone that runs a marketing campaign using electronic means needs to abide by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). Most of the fines you hear issued have to do with spamming text messages to people who have not opted into receive them. But Parklife specifically violated the regulations by changing the name of the sender to be something other than the company. The result was a deceptive marketing campaign and Parklife was ordered to pay the fine.
Text message marketing is very effective, quick, and works for just about any industry. But this case underlines how important it is to be aware of the regulations regarding the marketing messages you send. The ICO has put together some guidance on helping organisations understand the regulations on its website.
If you’re considering a text message marketing campaign, don’t be put off. Give us a call and we’d be happy to help you understand what you need to know for your particular campaign.
The PECR Regulations, better known as the Privacy and Electronics Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 are one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting those involved in SMS Marketing. They exist to safeguard the privacy and use of personal information when used for direct marketing through electronic means, including communications by SMS. Parts of it crossover with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and where it does so, both pieces of legislation should be complied with. Unlike the DPA, the PECR is obligatory whether or not you process personal data in the course of your business. Read this essential guide to PECR for SMS Marketing to ensure you know everything you need to know.
ICO, the Information Commissioner's Office, has recently imposed a huge fine on direct marketing company Help Direct UK for sending illegal SMS messages.
You’d think a large, multinational company would have all the resources and planning it needed to run an SMS marketing campaign. But that isn’t always the case apparently. Find out the big mistake this one company made and how you can avoid doing the same thing in this blog.
Any UK business that collects, stores and uses other people’s personal data for purposes such as marketing and selling is subject to the rules of the Data Protection Act, and those using SMS marketing are no exception. Having a basic understanding of the DPA legislation and its main requirements is useful to maintain best practice in direct marketing such as SMS marketing and also helps to uphold your hard won customer trust - as well as avoid the potentially costly consequences of falling foul of the law. Read this article to learn how to avoid the simple pitfalls and get your SMS marketing campaign off to the right start.
Electronic marketing is a tricky thing. There are rules and regulations you need to follow, and it can all seem pretty intimidating at first. To help you get started, I’ve gathered five of the most commonly asked questions about SMS marketing and the regulations and summed them up here.
In many of our previous posts, we have discussed the whys and hows of SMS marketing, listing the benefits, and the impacts on lead generation. There’s no doubt that by employing a marketing strategy that uses business SMS as a medium that your processes will become more efficient and your leads will become more targeted, meaning a better ROI. Here we will look at the best practices for SMS marketing to ensure your campaigns are offering the best for you and your users.
All businesses are subject to the law when it comes to advertising and marketing. Companies cannot make false claims or mislead consumers via advertising materials, for example. Designed to protect consumers and commercial clients, the law regulates most forms of marketing in some way. With companies carrying out various forms of marketing activity, it can be difficult to keep on top of the relevant laws and guidelines. By working with SMS marketing experts, however, you can ensure that your marketing campaigns are fully compliant with the necessary laws and that you’re able to connect with your target audience lawfully and effectively.
The first thing to remember is that legally, you must give the customer the chance to both opt-in and opt-out of your SMS campaign - but the good news is people are happy to opt-in - 49% of them according to a 2014 survey. So all you need to do is stay compliant and follow some basic guidelines to grow your list.