Crimestoppers UK fail at scaremongering

Look what just popped up on my Facebook news feed:

‘What else do I know?’ ‘If I know this, who else does?’

Oh GOD NO! Someone might find out that I like makeup! The HORROR! They might… they might… comment on my eyeshadow! Or buy me mascara! Noooooo…!

I can picture this sounding so reasonable at the concept phase:

“People give out loooooads of information on Facebook, I’ve read about it in the Daily Mail! So we’ll, like, pull stuff off their profile and be like YOU LIKE THIS, OMG PSYCHE and they’ll be scared and change their privacy settings!”

There are several problems with this approach.

Firstly, anything they pull out from people’s profiles is likely to be as weak and un-scary as the example above.

Secondly, it’s within Facebook. Maybe if they’d put this ad somewhere else on the internet, it might have been effective, but they’re displaying Facebook data on Facebook. It feels like a kid holding up your exercise book and saying “HA, YOU’VE WRITTEN YOUR NAME ON THIS! NOW I KNOW YOUR NAME!”.

Thirdly, I really doubt many people are going to be scared by an obviously-automated ad, even if it had something personal like your phone number in it. If it were a pretend person’s profile, or they’d posted it on a group page, THAT would get your attention. But this is basically screen-scraping – you know there isn’t a real person behind it, so who cares?

Crimestoppers, stick to catching bad guys. Your ad ideas are poor.

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