Which? magazine is running a major campaign against nuisance calls and texts and I agree with Michael Barnett that cutting off overseas calls is not easy (mwlinks.co.uk/spamtextscalls). However, if international companies call on behalf of a UK business then they are still under the jurisdiction of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) jurisdiction.
Overseas companies routinely cold call UK consumers with the aim of selling their details to British firms. We need the rules changed so companies must show the leads they use were obtained in compliance with UK law.
Businesses should have to prove where their leads came from and the ICO’s powers be expanded so that it is much harder to use customer lists without having done due diligence first.
Richard Lloyd, executive director, Which?
The ‘Walk the Line’ article in Data Strategy (mwlinks.co.uk/walktheline) highlighted the fact that Facebook ads target the people using the social network rather than the content they are viewing or have uploaded and shared on it.
This means that I would be targeted as a London-based male and specific to my age demographic. It also means that if I had viewed 50 videos of skiing (and there was no mention of skiing in my profile) I would not be targeted with ads related to this.
It’s clearly a conscious decision by Facebook but some would say this is an overly simplistic way of looking at targeted online advertising when it holds so much more relevant content that represents up-to-date user interests.
Facebook could use these additional layers of data to make its targeted ads more effective and negate the risk of losing consumers’ interest.
Adrian Moxley, CMO, WeSEE
Traffic light caution
The new traffic light labelling system proposed by the Department of Health (mwlinks.co.uk/govetrafficlights) will need to be introduced with care. Any system that helps consumers make healthier choices is clearly a good thing, and tapping into pre-existing semiotic codes is an intuitive, emotional approach which consumers will easily and quickly recognise.
It’s not perfect though and there remains scope for it to be misleading. For example a product could appear to be healthy with mostly green lights and only one red, but in reality the health impact of the red light might outweigh the greens.
Meanwhile the ‘health halo’ of brands that have positioned themselves as ‘healthy’ may be challenged, and those brands that have chosen not to adopt it, like Coca Cola and Kellogg, are taking a massive gamble. Although they may benefit from not having the (potentially negative) message on their packaging, they run the risk of looking like they’ve got something to hide.
John Cassidy, managing director, The Big Picture
Subway to success
Subway’s new strategy (mwlinks.co.uk/subwayfamily) is a bold yet correct move for the challenger brand. Attempting to infiltrate a new target market more traditionally owned by competitors, such as McDonald’s or Burger King, should help Subway grow its customer base by positioning itself as a family option within the fast food industry.
However, I disagree that by targeting families, Subway will alienate its usual customers. Brands such as McDonald’s continue to attract 16- to 35-year-olds while offering children’s menu options, showing it is possible to build a multi-aged customer base. This is an important step for Subway to broadening its target market and challenging the status quo of the fast food market.
Dina Green, UK managing director, inVNT