'Creepy and sinister' IYIM Aylesbury marketing campaign revealed
Branded sinister and creepy, the IYIM 'marketing campaign' masterminds have apologised for 'causing alarm' among Aylesbury parents.
It turns out Bucks UTC was behind the project, which was aimed at young teenagers considering their year 9 education options.
The campaign was a bid to drive applications from new students, in an unusual way.
A statement from TFA and Bucks UTC expressed their apology for causing alarm, and that it was 'unintended consequences' of trying to create a stir with their unusual guerrilla marketing campaign to highlight awareness about internet and online safety.
Their statement reads:
"We can wholeheartedly understand why some members of the public felt this was strange, worrying and perhaps scary at times.
"Our activities did not take long to raise eyebrows and this escalated, quite quickly into concerns and ultimately for some people into alarm. We must be clear that our activities had untended consequences and have never been with the intent of creating any alarm or upset, for this we are sorry."
TFA stressed this was the point of the campaign, to educate on perception and influence and how important online security is for everyone, especially children, and even on innocent websites such as Facebook.
They continued: "The thought process behind this particular campaign was borne from computing and cyber security courses.
"The Internet is not a safe place for anyone and children, especially, are at risk from the constant stream of questionable content, misinformation and fake news being sold to them as truth.
"Our idea was part marketing campaign and part social experiment.
"We wanted to tap into something that both children and adults would find recognisable and challenge them to create, in their own minds and pre-programmed perceptions, what its meaning was.
"The “Illuminati” is a popular conspiracy theory about the existence of an elite and highly secretive group of powerful individuals who essential run world affairs through the influence of their power structure.
"Their symbolism utilises the eye of providence (an eye inside a pyramid) and this can be found in common culture on the US dollar bill.
"The symbolism is something familiar to people and it is this we wanted to explore. With this as our inspiration, the fictional organisation IYIM was created."
TFA maintain all of the emails of children approached were not kept, and the website children were directed to was a 'dummy-site'.
After initial fears were raised, Thames Valley Police issued the following statement: "Please be reassured that these cards which are being handed out to local teenagers are a marketing campaign by a local educational establishment. There is nothing sinister to worry about.
"We have spoken to all of those concerned, including various Head Teachers and those who organised the campaign."
We ran the story initially 2 weeks ago, and you can read what all the fuss is about here: https://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/people/parents-voice-concerns-over-creepy-aylesbury-town-centre-marketing-campaign-1-8958052
Friars Square shopping centre had nothing to do with booking the event, which was orchestrated by TFA Marketing.
Stickers had appeared all over town showing an illuminate style triangle, with a black background and gold writing.