The organisers of Parklife Festival came up with a beezer markeing wheeze: why not send texts to people who went last year, warning them that this year's event was selling out fast?
And, hey, why not pretend that the text is coming not from Parklife, but from a trusted source like your mother?
What could possibly go wrong?:
The text was sent to 70,000 people who had bought tickets to last year’s event, and appeared on the recipients’ mobile phone to have been sent by “Mum”. It read:Parklife have been fined £70,000 for the poorly-conceived stunt - although that's only a quid per text, which seems a little light. Especially since their original response to complaints was to double-down with an equally ill-conceived tweet:
“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”.
Many of the 76 people who complained about the message which was sent three weeks before the 2014 festival, suffered substantial distress as a result of the marketing campaign.
One complainant said that their mother had recently passed away and they still had her number saved in the contacts, so to receive a text was extremely distressing – they described the message as “unprofessional and disgusting”.
Another person reported that they had recently lost their mum and were shocked when 'Mum' flashed up as a notification on the mobile screen. They felt so strongly about the situation they sold the tickets and refused to attend the festival.
”So this is what it feels like to be a jar of Marmite #LoveItOrHateIt”.The difference between Parklife's campaign and Marmite being, of course, that some people actually do like Marmite and Marmite has never tried to send messages to people pretending to be a recently deceased relative.
Eventually, the company apologised. And managed to do it without pretending the apology came from your great-grandfather, or the ghost of your first pet, so they are getting better.