Over a two week period during summer 2017, over 22,000 consumers unwittingly agreed to carry out 1000 hours of work, including “cleaning portable lavatories at local festivals and events” and “manually relieving sewer blockages”, when signing up for free Wi-fi.
Luckily for the unsuspecting users, the stunt was part of an experiment by Wi-Fi provider Purple, which added a “Community Service Clause” to its terms in order to highlight both the importance of reading Ts & Cs in full, and to maximise exposure of the announcement that the company has apparently become the first GDPR-compliant Wi-Fi provider – a year in advance of the deadline.
The need for transparency
On May 25th 2018, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect, bringing with it the requirement for companies to seek consent from users within Europe for collecting their data – in an intelligible format, which clearly states how the company uses the data it gathers. As Purple’s endeavours show, there is an opportunity here for companies to comply with GDPR via creative and transparent communication about how personal data is processed, whilst driving engagement with users.
And as a result of GDPR, when it comes to data privacy, companies with European customers will be obliged to share information intelligibly and transparently. By putting terms and conditions front and centre and forcing consumers to actively opt in (and not out), GDPR gives brands another touchpoint to engage consumers – not just by making information concise but by imbuing it with personality too.
Legal information can be personable
43% of global consumers agree that they like brands that “do not take themselves too seriously” – a sentiment we track in the trend The Self-Satirising Brand, which can even encompass legal matters. In September, the programme Stranger Things sent a cease and desist letter sent to a pop up Stranger Things themed bar. The letter was peppered with cute references to the show opening with “my walkie talkie is busted so I had to write this note instead” and threatened legal action if the bar did not close with “the Demogorgon is not always as forgiving. So please don’t make us call your mom”.
Soon, a world of murky terms and conditions and data processing information will be but a distant memory (at least in theory). But will standardised (albeit shortened and simplified) terms and conditions continue to be the norm? And will your brand take the opportunity presented by GDPR to engage on a deeper level?
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