Opt-In for All?

The privacy battle was particularly brutal last week. The U.S. Supreme Court heard a case that could ultimately withhold the release of arrest records to marketers (see story, page 1). Legislators want to beef up their overhaul of the financial industry, and they agreed to make driver’s license information opt-in for consumers instead of opt-out. IPv6 may well become the next Intel/Pentium III melee (see story, page 2). The Direct Marketing Association board has a decision to make in a week whether to toss out one or two members that haven’t complied with the Privacy Promise.

You can be sure DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen will address his concerns at the fall show in Toronto next week. In a discussion from his office at the DMA headquarters in New York last week, he said, “We were blindsided” by the change to the Driver Privacy Protection Act. “It’s inappropriate procedure and blatantly unfair” that a hearing wasn’t held so concerned parties could address the issue. That’s why the DMA is lobbying Congress so hard to see if what was signed into law by President Clinton last week can be changed before the June implementation date. Many fear that Congress’ opt-in vote will set a precedent for all future privacy votes.

What’s funny, Wientzen pointed out, is that some of the biggest users of driver’s license information are Army, Navy and Air Force recruiters. “I was sitting on a plane with a two-star general who was crying the blues because of this,” he said.

And They Told Two Friends …

Thanks to the many readers who responded to my query a few weeks ago about the ’70s shampoo commercial that best explains the viral marketing concept of today – “and they told two friends, and so on … .” It definitely wasn’t Body on Tap (with the beer mixed in), and Heather Locklear wasn’t the girl in the ad, as some suggested. But my sources are almost positive that it was Faberge’s Organic shampoo. Now, if I could just see the commercial air as one of those “retromercials” on the TV Land channel.

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