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December 5, 2014

Festival fined £70,000 for ‘disgusting’ marketing

Parklife Weekender sent texts to festival-goers, some recently bereaved, pretending to be their mums.

By Jimmy Nicholls

A Mancunian festival has been fined £70,000 for a spamming campaign which saw attendees of this year’s festival recieve texts that appeared to be from their mums.

Three weeks before the festival, 76 people complained after receiving a text which claimed that some parties after the Parklife Weekender in Manchester had sold out. Recipients of the text included those whose mothers had recently died.

Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the Information Commissoner’s Office, 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."

"It made some people very upset in an attempt to sell tickets to a club night, and that is not acceptable. We would expect a company dealing with the details of as many customers as this to have a much better understanding of the law around marketing text messages."

Following backlash from the campaign, Parklife took to Twitter to defend the message, saying: "So this is what it feels like to be a jar of Marmite #LoveItOrHateIt."

The company was fined for having concealed the identity of the message sender and has since apologised for the message.

A complaint to Parklife read: "My mother recently passed due to terminal cancer, and I still had her number saved in my contacts so to receive a text with no preview was extremely distressing for me and my family.

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"I was at the time on a student placement and broke down in tears. I find it unprofessional and disgusting that your marketing team wouldn’t consider this knowing that people like myself have certain circumstances."

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