I haven’t ever owned a Tesco Hudl (quelle surprise), but if I had, I would almost certainly have left a treasure trove of personal information on it before I threw it away (apparently some people put their old tat on eBay, hence the security concern). Photos, contact information, bank details, passwords, things Miranda has told me in absolute confidence, former boyfriends’ sexual preferences, all the sort of stuff the free Dunnhumby app encourages you to upload.
Actually, it’s this sort of detail (especially the data that your fridge now sends to Amazon) that could make PR redundant. If Tesco (or Google, or Mr P’s Kwik’n’Easy minimart) already knows what you’re going to buy, who needs an expensive media relations campaign to persuade gullible shoppers to buy it? It could predict, quite easily for example, that the camel milk cheese announced this week is doomed to fail. Or that the thing the world needs least, now or at any time in the future, is another coconut water. (Please stop launching them. Please.) Or how the 10p-on-a-bottle ‘treatment tax’ will raise millions from the marketing services industry alone.
Karoline (with a K) doesn’t seem too worried though. She agrees that “information is like gold, darling,” but suggests this is the reason P&F has kept its clients for so long. She has maintained files on all of them since long before the internet of things started snitching on us, and just occasionally reminds them of indiscretions from years ago. “A lorryload of Hudls would add nothing, sweetie,” she cackles. “I know it all already.” Finding out that you work for PR’s equivalent of the Stasi is a bit of a shock - I may need to invest in a bit of treatment tax to recover.