It’s time the law got involved in mailing data…

I was appalled to hear that a mother recently received a mailing intended to encourage her dead son to drive safely. The cruel irony was that her son had died in a car crash, a critical point missed by the campaign purely due to the use of an out-of-date mailing list. Does it really take such horrific examples of bad data management to raise the profile of accurate, regular data suppression?

As David Benady quite rightly points out (MW February 17), the direct marketing industry has been subject to heavy criticism, and stories like this serve only to anger the already irate consumer. There is no excuse for not carrying out adequate suppression – there is a wealth of products available. Mailing the deceased is simply unacceptable, and causes untold anguish to relatives. From a commercial standpoint, consider the damage caused to the reputation of a brand from this type of poor targeting. Unfortunately, all too often it’s the horrendous mailings that stick in people’s minds.

Surely it’s time that direct marketers were legally obliged to suppress their data correctly for every campaign? With all the sophisticated tools that marketers have at their disposal, badly targeted mailings like this should be a thing of the past. It’s high time that those few marketers who are destroying our industry’s reputation bucked their ideas up. Any repetition of this most recent incident would be simply inexcusable.

Julie Knight



Chichester, West Sussex

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here