Data Disasters

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At Clockwork, much of what we do is driven by data, interpreted by our talented marketers in order to maximise returns for our clients.

In the light of the upcoming new data protection legislation; GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), there’s an even greater emphasis on being mindful with data, who we contact and taking accountability for our actions.

We’re working hard to help our clients prepare for the new legislation, which comes into force in May 2018, but in the meantime, we’ve collated some of our all-time favourite data-related blunders to emphasise what not to do...

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1. Flybe Fine

Airline, Flybe, received a hefty £70,000 fine in March for mailing over 3.3 million people who’d opted out of receiving emails from the company, to ask if they’d like to update their marketing preferences. Oops!

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2. Mailing List Typo

A Devon schoolgirl’s computer crashed when a Royal Navy officer mistakenly included her on a mailing list because of a typing error. Consequently, she received hundreds of unwanted emails from defence organisations and was plagued by messages, including confidential information from war ministries and defence firms around the world.

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3. Ebay Data Breach

In 2014, online auction site, eBay, fell victim to a major breach which led to 200 million users having their names, email addresses, passwords, and other personal information stolen. All eBay could do was recommend that users change their login credentials. Just seven months later, the company experienced another breach!

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4. 'The Perfect Barbecue'

A production manager who thought he was being particularly efficient by printing all the components for a direct mail package; including the outer envelope, reply envelope, letter and four colour brochures, together to send to the customer. What he didn’t bank on, was for the lorry carrying the goods to skid on an icy road and roll down an embankment before bursting into flames. The driver escaped, but the fire burned for 4 hours – fuelled with fresh ink and bundles of paper. The blunder was dubbed ‘The Perfect Barbecue’.


Get in touch with our team of talented marketers, developers and designers now to discuss your data, or marketing needs: call 01803 872999 or email

From technical support to complete digital marketing solutions, Clockwork have helped a huge variety of UK hotels and businesses to thrive. With expertise from branding and market research to building top quality responsive websites, our team of specialists have the passion and knowhow to help you succeed. See the Clockwork Portfolio to view our work, or contact us directly to learn more.