Full statement from Electric Ents defending Open Air Cinema
Read Christian Samuel’s statement in full
When we conceive an idea, our intention is absolutely always to run the events. As a commercial business we are always developing new and innovative ideas that will appeal to our audience.
Market research is important to any company and the internet age brings about a fantastic opportunity for market research into novel and contemporary ideas. Facebook is a tool that provides a fantastic platform to gauge the interest of potential customers for events.
You asked us why our pages sometimes change their purpose. There have been a handful of instances where the events we create on facebook have either been taken down or changed, allow me answer the questions as set out in your email:
The Open Air Cinema facebook events have never been altered.
With regards to the Wipeout events, events were set up in cities in different regions around the UK with a view to running events regionally according to the highest areas of demand. The response was so unexpectedly exponential that the events had already reached surprisingly high numbers before we had managed to thoroughly research the legalities of running an event of such a nature. Unfortunately, due to UK health and safety regulations, the continuation of these events was unrealistic.
The Massive Student Water Fight, Where’s Wally vs Smurfs UK Tour and Freshers Paint Party UK Tour facebook events all represent events that we will be running in a large number of cities during university freshers weeks across the UK.
We have vast experience in running freshers events and have been a combined experience of over a decade in the marketing and events industries – during this time we have executed dozens of successful freshers campaigns in multiple cities across England and Wales working with well-known venue operators including Novus Leisure (Tiger Tiger), Luminar Leisure (Pryzm/Oceana), Inventive Leisure (Revolution Bars) and Academy Music Group (O2 Academies). To confirm once again – these events ARE still happening.
Some of the Water Fight events were modified as such to provide a platform for all of the events that will be taking place in that city and not just the Water Fight itself.
We created events that put cities around the UK in competition with each other to attain the most attendees in an attempt to influence the BBC’s decision as to where to hold Radio 1’s Big Weekend. Following the BBC’s request to take these events down, we unpublished the page on which the events were made from facebook.
Following the BBC Leaders Debate and hearing the points raised about student tuition fees, we also created a page titled “No More Student Tuition Fees” which included a petition in which we collected signatures – this was a completely non-profit venture unrelated to our business, however the same bit.ly account was used. We began to receive complaint messages to the page about signatures being collected privately.
Following these complaints we looked into the legalities of running a petition of this nature and discovered that there are far more rules to running a governmental petition than collecting a list of names. Around this time we had launched the Open Air Cinema and Wipeout events and found ourselves in the stressful whirlwind of negative PR, which demanded the majority of our time.
No More Student Tuition Fees was abandoned and the data form and the data was simply deleted while we concentrated our efforts on keeping our company afloat – which is a shame as we had hoped to publish a public petition.
Businesses operate by providing customers with a service that they are/may be interested in. With regards to all of our event data collection, we took peoples’ data securely for the purpose of contacting them about the events they have chosen to express interest in.
From a legal standpoint – this is 100% compliant.
Our data is utilised like any other business – we collect the data, store it securely, and then contact the appropriate markets (location/age/etc) to notify them about appropriate events that they may be interested in.
Furthermore, we feel that it is vitaly important that it is recognised that our company is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) which binds us to strict Data Protection laws.
We never have, nor ever will abuse peoples’ data. As with subscriptions to any business, our registrants have the opportunity to opt out, and if anyone has concerns that their data is unsafe, they can contact us directly at [email protected]
It has always been very clear where the data is going. Every single one of our data collection forms has been labelled as Electric Ents. As stated above this company is registered with the ICO and registrants are given the option to opt out of our mailing lists.
For the sake of any misunderstanding the company that controls the University Cribs brand is a stand-alone own legal entity and not connected to Electric and their events in any other way other than shared directors.
Shortly after the release of the facebook pages and subsequent facebook events a considerable amount of negative press and spurious accusations began to accumulate towards the Open Air Cinema.
We found ourselves plunged into a PR and marketing black hole, with a number of condemning and accusatory publications written by authors wildly theorising on nothing more than speculation appearing online. These publications were then posted all over our social media and beyond.
People may be interested to know that we had actually secured and confirmed multiple sites around the UK for the Open Air Cinema for summer 2015, however, due to the prolonged negative PR we found ourselves associated with – and the strain this put on us and our intended partners – we have had to pull out and reassess our strategy with a view to re-launch in the future. Currently our plans sit with looking to re-schedule for summer 2016.