Parents voice concerns over 'creepy' Aylesbury town centre marketing campaign
Parents have been left confused and worried about an Aylesbury marketing campaign, that asks children to sign up on a website with their email addresses to 'find out how they can experience a future of untold wealth and prosperity'.
The stickers which have appeared all over town show an Illuminati style triangle, with a black background and gold writing.
They are initialed 'IYIM' with a logo displaying the Latin phrase: Puer Seclorum, Ordo.
Children are encouraged to sign up with their email addresses to the project, and the iyim.org website says that people from the organisation will be at Friar's Square on June 19 to recruit people, but what for is unclear.
Once a child has signed up, the website reads: "Our representatives will be recruiting junior Cadets at Friar's Square Shopping Centre on Wednesday 19.
"If you are aged 13-16, come and join us to find out how you can experience a future full of untold wealth and prosperity."
A parent voiced her concern over the 'creepy' campaign, as she saw men in black suits putting stickers everywhere and handing out IYIM business cards to children in Aylesbury.
It has also been described as 'underhand', 'sinister' and 'overstepping the mark'.
Police have tried to reassure parents that the campaign is nothing to worry about.
Yesterday, on the Thames Valley Police facebook page they said: " 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."
Since the campaign, local schools have been emailing concerned parents to try and allay their concerns.
The school which isn't named has since contacted the council safeguarding team at Buckinghamshire County Council as well as the school's liaison officer, who are investigating with their PREVENT team.
Kayleigh Dunster, a concerned parent said: "As a mum I’ve been worried about people from this organisation calling themselves IYIM trying to recruit youngsters to join their organisation.
"There have been two young guys dressed in black suits with gold eye symbols on their necklaces handing out cards and information outside schools, The cards and literature promise and illuminated future whatever this means.?
"It is very difficult to find out information on them as they require you to sign up before they will tell you anything.
"People cannot easily contact them directly, you have to be contacted.
"I have heard from other mums that schools in the area are now speaking about this in assembly and warning children to be vigilant. Are they allowed to go around doing this?"
The Bucks Herald contacted TFA Marketing - who said they cannot give out information from their clients, and was unable to give any more details.
Managing Director of TFA Marketing, Darren Isaac said in a brief statement from the press:
"We are under contract to promote IYIM to young people who will be leaving school, offering them a different route to a bright future.
"There are various IYIM teams around the country delivering this message. We are not at liberty to divulge who they are, what their organisation does or the nature of our arrangement with them.
"However, in two weeks they will be providing us with a statement for the press and we would be happy to share this exclusively for the Bucks area if they are interested."
Councillor Anders Christensen for Gatehouse said:
"I've been contacted by numerous concerned residents and parents about this very concerning campaign aimed at 13-16 year olds in Aylesbury.
"This includes the collection of personal data and children's contact details too.
"It all seems very much like a cult trying to recruit children. We need the client and the advertising agency to come forward to reassure parents what the campaign is about.
"It's been a wholly incompetent campaign and has caused unnecessary worry to local people. The response from the advertising agency isn't acceptable. There are real questions to be raised about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) issues."