Let me begin by saying that the following text is intentionally ridiculous. I want to illustrate a point recently made about the upcoming E-Privacy Regulation, specifically related to direct marketing.
Imagine one day, President Trump is in France for a summit to discuss some topic of relevance to the international community. He grabs a diet coke and heads over to his monitor to watch a stream of his favorite informative news on Fox & Friends. Little does he know that lying in wait for him is a piece of targeted marketing specifically aimed towards him.
John Oliver, the HBO host of Last Week Tonight, has purchased ad space for what he has referred to as the “Catheter Cowboy.” This ad was made to mock both the usual ads targeted at the perceived audience of Fox News, including their favorite viewer, Donald Trump.
The President sees this ad and is annoyed. He then reaches for his phone and begins to tweet.
Little @JohnOliver is a total loser and @FoxNews needs to stop showing his phony #FAKE ads. Sad!
Little do both parties know that the French Supervisory Authority is taking notes of this. Did Donald Trump, who at the time of this ad resided in the EU, just invoke his Article 21 rights to object to direct marketing? It sure looks like it. Is a TV ad direct marketing? It certainly appears that way.
Now let’s stop for a minute. The GDPR gives data subjects the absolute right to object to direct marketing. Invoking this right is absolute and marketing of this nature needs to stop immediately, per the language in the GDPR. That said, recent changes to the E-Privacy Regulation amend the definition of “Direct Marketing.” Now materials that are “sent or presented” are considered direct marketing. This means that an advertisement that was specifically targeted at a single person, shown on a billboard, poster, or television, would be considered direct marketing.
Back to our outlandish story.
At the HBO offices, a notice issued from the French Supervisory Authority arrives on the desk of John Oliver. He reads it and hastily calls the legal team. As he speaks to them, a wry smile crosses his face as he prepares a new segment for next week’s show.
As the cameras roll he welcomes his audience and begins his entry monologue. He notes how the President tweeted at him and made this request. He then reveals he has no intention of stopping because his ads, as silly and mocking as they are, were clearly meant for a U.S. audience, never intended to target or be shown in the EU, as such, he is out of scope for GDPR and the new regulation along with it.
As the show ends, he looks to his team and reminds them to pull the fake ads they made for Macron.