Castrol Billboard Campaign Towed Away

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

It took only a few days for the DVLA to pull the plug on this personalised billboard advertisement running in London – many of you in the media buying world scoffed at us when we told you in that post “Definitely sort of scary and god knows how they got permission to use the UK Government’s DVLA database in such a manner” BUT as the office just shouted to me in unison “they didn’t” – didn’t get permission that is!!!

In the same post we also said “we think they likely to get a fair number of complaints from privacy advocates too” and of course we were proved correct.

The UK’s Sunday and Daily Mail newspapers have been running big pieces on the story over the last few days

The Government’s controversial Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has launched an investigation into how the car registrations of millions of motorists were sold for use by a giant oil firm.

Castrol spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on a campaign promoting its oils, using giant advertising billboards on five major routes in London.

But when The Mail on Sunday contacted the DVLA on Thursday, the campaign – which has also raised safety fears – was halted, just four days after it began. It was due to run for two weeks.

To be fair the article focusses most on the negligence shown by the DVLA but at the end of the article the usual road safety folks raise their voice. All rather needless if a little thought had been given by all those involved on exactly what they were trying achieve.


4 Responses to “Castrol Billboard Campaign Towed Away”

  1. Tim Harvey Says:

    If you follow the link to the the Daily Mail website, you’ll see from the comments that EVEN the average Daily Mail reader has a more balanced view on the campaign (bear in mind this is paper that would advocate the hanging of anyone under the age of 21 for wearing a hooded top in public and not remembering the date of the Queen mother’s birthday).

    I’m proud to have sorted out the technical solution for this, and I feel this technology can be put to a lot of good use in any number of locations.

    There’s been some great suggestions on various message boards out there, from naming and shaming uninsured drivers at petrol stations (I bet they wear hoodies too!) to customising instant quotes for car parts / repairs as you enter a automotive repair shop.

    Adrian, Manolo, you know where to find me.

  2. geof Jones Says:

    so selling details to clampers is ok – but not some good advice about the best oil in your car …

    We should ban the up and coming billboard for gov votes – on the basis of being misleading – i know we haven’t seen them yet – but we all know they will be a load of quango/bull/spin – and us UK tax payers pay for them.

    Good use of tech -I bet if it said – “Reg no. X342 JPH” – you are not taxed or MOT’d so pull over – or go to garage X and get it done .. We are watching”

    keep up the good work.

    If you can track number plates of government public section quangos and flash on screen “Reg X is a quango worker and should get a proper job” – that would be good use of technology

    Although the quanity of data displayed would cause a strobing effect – as there are just too many … :)

  3. richard konig Says:

    Seems like a good idea to me and also a very good technical execution. Well done to whoever is responsible. Cant see why there should be any fuss.

    Targeted ads are the goal for many organisations – a few days ago Sky announced again that they would target ads at the set top box level. Presumably they will be happy to tell advertisers a lot about each individual too…they have your name, address, phone number, card and bank details and know a lot about what you watch on TV and browse on the web in many cases.

  4. Tom Nix Says:

    Richard brings up a great point. Addressable advertising in the cable industry will create an opportunity for targeted relevancy. This is exactly what online behavioral intelligence firms are doing…..selling the chance to capture intent.

    Scott McNealy was speaking at an event I attended in 1999 and told us “you have zero privacy so get over it.” (Sounds like the guy who runs Ryanair)

    The software company behind this campaign is my former employer Dynamax Technologies, and point was Tim Harvey. Congrats to my old team on this example of Smart Signage.

Leave a Reply