Friday 23 February 2018

Data rules bring age of consent

A 30ft-high statue of Virgil van Dijk was unveiled outside Anfield as part of a PR stunt by The Public House
A 30ft-high statue of Virgil van Dijk was unveiled outside Anfield as part of a PR stunt by The Public House

Michael Cullen

There's a lot of talk these days about the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its implications for Irish marketers. Broadly speaking, it means that from the end of May, rules governing a new European framework for the collecting and processing of personal data aimed at strengthening and unifying data protection for everyone in the EU.

The basic principle of GDPR is that personal data must be collected and processed lawfully, transparently and for a specific purpose. Under GDPR, an individual's consent to process their personal data must be transparent. Failure to get consent for processing data, or ignoring individual rights over their data, could result in a €20m fine, or 4pc of global annual turnover.

The new GDPR rules are expected to have a major impact on the way marketers interact with consumers.

Brand owners won't be able to assume that consumers wish to be contacted. They will need to have cast-iron proof that a consumer has consented in a "freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous way, which is reinforced by a clear affirmative action".

Essentially, that means no more pre-ticked boxes for marketing communications. Instead, it will be necessary for marketers to outline exactly the way consumer information will be used.

Where a business hosts 'gated' content - that is, a white paper that requires people to fill in their details to download on a website - brands will no longer be able to use the email addresses of those who register, unless they have given clear permission for their details to be used for a defined purpose.

Without asking for unambiguous consent, brands cannot send the customer any marketing emails without breaking the law.

To comply with GDPR, businesses will have to prove that consent was given to contact another person for marketing purposes. It means that the tried and trusted practice of collecting business cards to follow up on new contacts will be banned. Without express permission, new leads should not be contacted, other than to discuss the original reason they handed their card over.

When GDPR comes into play at the end of May, people will officially have the 'right to be forgotten'. Businesses will have to find and delete any stored personal data if requested by an EU citizen. Individuals can request that their information is deleted when it's no longer relevant for the purpose for which it was collected. So, the practice of using an email address for marketing 'ad infinitum' will become history.

Q Dublin activation agency The Public House was behind the latest Paddy Power stunt. A 30ft-high gold-coloured statue of Virgil van Dijk was unveiled outside Liverpool Football Club's Anfield ground to highlight the club's £75m record club transfer fee to buy the Dutch defender from Southampton.

With debate raging over whether or not Premier League players are worth their weight in gold, a Paddy Power spokesman said: "Transfer fees have gone absolutely crazy this season.

"I'm starting to think even I'd be worth at least £50m." 

The statue took 180 hours to sculpt and was erected in time for Liverpool's 4-3 home win over league leaders Manchester City at the weekend.

Q As Liberty Global proceeds with plans to rebrand TV3 as Virgin later this year, it follows a line of major name changes. Household products giant P&G and confectionery and pet food brand owner Mars both went down that road. For instance, P&G renamed its Jif cleaner as Cif. Mars rebranded its Marathon bar as Snickers and Opal Fruits as Starburst.

The first Subway sandwich store in the US was called Pete's Super Submarines, but after a second shop opened in 1966, the name Subway was coined as consumers were mishearing the name as 'Pizza Marines'. Yahoo began life in 1994 as 'Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web', after founders Jerry Yang and David Filo. A year later, they went for something a little catchier.

Q A decision on where the SuperValu creative advertising account is bound was imminent at the time of press. The four-way review was narrowed down to Chemistry and TBWA, following the elimination of Publicis and the incumbent DDFH&B (now JWT). Chemistry handled Lidl up to recently and TBWA worked for Dunnes Stores. Word on the Bank of Ireland media account review is also due, following a contest between Mindshare, OMD and the incumbent, Carat.

Q Gareth Fitzpatrick has been made managing director at Havas Media. He joined the agency as trading director in 2016, having spent over eight years at IPG Mediabrands as a TV buyer, broadcast director and deputy MD. He also worked in sales at TV3 for almost two years. Havas Media clients include Aga, Axa, Clarks, Colourtrend, Emirates, Honda, Kenco, Nando's, NordMende, TG4 and 'Sunday World'.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; cullen@marketing.ie

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