Parklife’s ‘from Mum’ text backfires big time

January 2015

Live events sector, telecoms


The Warehouse Project, organisers of Manchester’s Parklife Festival in Heaton Park have been fined £70,000 after they sent out a promotional text message ahead of this year’s event which was set to appear on the recipient’s phone as if it had come from the recipients’ ‘Mum’. Promoting a series of post-festival club nights, the text read: “Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your going, make sure you’re home for breakfast! xxx” There was then a link to a web-page listing the after parties. After a substantial number of complaints (not least from those whose mothers were ill or had passed away)  Parklife organisers initially responded in a flippant matter, tweeting – according to the BBC – “so this is what it feels like to be a jar of Marmite #LoveItOrHateIt” but then amended this and admitted that their text campaign may have caused “unnecessary personal distress” to some recipients and adding that they would like to “apologise to them directly”. They later added: “The communication was intended as a fun way of engaging festival-goers. However, the festival acknowledges that this was not an appropriate theme for everyone”. The promotion was subsequently investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office which oversees data protection issues who fined the festival under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations on the grounds that the tweet breached data rules because the identity of the actual sender was “disguised or concealed”

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