Monthly Archives: June 2015

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What images are suitable for an ad for a sexual assault prevention phone app like SnapMail?

It’s a difficult one.  We all know the effect that a powerful image can have on the click through rates of a digital ad, but we also have a responsibility not to cause offence.

It’s a mystery to me how a company like Benneton managed to build a brand almost exclusively on the back of controversy – that real-life image of an AIDS victim surrounded by his family shortly after his death in 1990 still sticks in the memory as being particularly distasteful.  And it’s not as if the ads had any correlation to the products they were selling.  In defence of Benetton however, I always found the style and quality of their apparel to be of the highest order.

How then does a new company like SnapMail, which has designed a mobile phone app to help prevent a range of crimes, such as sexual assault, decide what type of images to run with the ads?  One approach is to religiously follow the instructions of your advertising agency.  Another approach is to listen to the people who view your ads.

We are running an ad campaign on Facebook at the moment designed to draw women’s attention to the fact that there is now a mobile phone app on the market that could help prevent mugging, robbery or sexual assault.  We believe it should particularly appeal to women travelling alone.  For anyone who’s interested, the app takes a photo, sends it to you by e-mail and uploads to a secure website with just a single click, so the theory is that an attacker who has just had his photo taken and posted remotely is less likely to follow through with the attack.

We included an image with the ad that some people found offensive.  The ad featured a man grabbing a woman from behind and blocking her mouth with his hand.  One lady posted a Comment on Facebook to say it was “crass, fear-mongering advertising” and (admittedly after looking up the exact definition of the word crass in the dictionary – she was right, by the way!) we therefore invited her to suggest something more appropriate.

We assumed that would be the last we’d hear from this lady, but, to her credit, she posted an image which would appear to be more suitable.  We decided to run an ad on Facebook using this image but when we tried to set it up the size and shape of the image were unsuitable for a Facebook ad.  (Get your act together, Zuckerberg.)

That left us with just the option to write this Blog post and boost it on Facebook, in the same way as you would a Facebook ad.  The image associated with this Blog post is the image that was suggested to us.

So, many thanks to Cali James from New York for taking the time to find us a more suitable image.  There’s a free 12 months subscription to the premium version of the app for you and your friends if you drop us a mail to for the attention of Richard Newman.

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SnapMail app

SnapMail as a Rape Prevention device

Here is a link to a good article written by Mary Walker, a partner of ours, describing how SnapMail may be used as a Rape Prevention device:

It’s well worth a read.

Click here to download the SnapMail app.  When you download it to your mobile phone the app takes a photo and sends it to you by e-mail and uploads it to the SnapMail website with a single click.  In many cases, a potential attacker will not follow through with a crime when he realises that his photo has been captured and saved, regardless of whether he steals or damages the mobile phone that took the photograph.

Click here to learn about SnapMail Emergency, the premium version of the app.  When you take a photo using the premium version of the app you receive an e-mail with a link to this photo.  You have 5 minutes to click this link.  If you don’t click this link within 5 minutes SnapMail sends an SOS text and SOS e-mail to 5 of your Friends or Family.

All SnapMail photos are time stamped and date stamped and they also contain a GPS location.  This is powerful evidence in the event that a crime is committed.

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SnapMail and the disappearance of Willie Maughan

A couple made a desperate plea for help minutes before they disappeared.  It is believed that Willie Maughan and his girlfriend Anna Varslavane were in the Gormanston area of Co Meath in Ireland when Anna made an urgent phone call to Willie’s mother at 2.57 pm on Tuesday, 14th April 2015.  The couple asked to be picked up.  When family members arrived at the designated meeting place ten minutes later, Willie and Anna were nowhere to be seen.

Willie’s brother, who had answered the call, said he had heard Anna crying for help and clearly distinguished the sound of choking in the background.  Other voices were also audible.  The phone then went dead.

Willie (34) and Anna (21) have not been seen since.

Willie’s father, Joseph Maughan, told the Irish Independent that he believes they were murdered because his son “knew too much” about a gang murder last year.  Gardaí have received reliable intelligence that the couple were murdered by up to five members of a drug gang.  The gang leader is a settled Traveller and prime suspect for another murder.

The gang may have attacked the couple when they realised they were about to leave Gormanston but may not have intended to kill them.  A source close to the gang has claimed that the leader’s elderly mother helped to restrain Anna Varslavane while her son and his cronies attacked William.

Sources claimed that the young woman was beaten over the head with a hammer while she tried to phone for help.

The Maughan family have received information which may help gardaí locate the bodies.

Last week, RTÉ’s ‘CrimeCall’ programme re-enacted the last known movements of the couple and showed CCTV footage of them together.  Joseph Maughan said: “We know that they are both gone and just want them brought back so that we can give them a Christian funeral.”

If the couple had downloaded the SnapMail app on their phones, they would have been able within seconds to take pictures of the criminals at the moment of abduction and send them to their personal SnapMail website accounts.  They would have been able to convince their attackers to release them for fear of being identified on the SnapMail website.

Even if their phones were seized by the criminals the pictures would still have been stored in their personal accounts, to be retrieved by the police later on.

The SnapMail app is FREE to download on your Android or iOS smartphone.  A paid version, called SnapMail Emergency, will also send an SOS text and e-mail to 5 of your Friends when you are in difficulty.

It could save your life.

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SnapMail would have prevented rape of British teenager and killings of British couple in Thailand

A young British backpacker was abducted by motorists on her way to the shops at 1.30am on Tuesday 26th of May 2015 after an evening out partying with her friends.  She left the restaurant where she was having dinner on the Nanachart Road in the Kanchanaburi district, 76 miles left of Bangkok, and decided to walk to the shops on her own when she was accosted by a group of motorists.  The girl, 19, was then attacked and abducted, later to be raped by two men from the gang of motorists.

The abductors also stole her valuables and finally dumped her in a market in the Mueang district.

The victim was visiting the area with a group of tourists and stayed at a well-known local resort.

The two men have confessed to their crime, according to Police Major General Kamolsanti Klanbus, Chief of Kanchanaburi police and the victim is already back home in the UK.

There is a lot of diplomatic secrecy surrounding the incident as it is believed that it is a sensitive issue and could affect the tourism trade in Thailand.

The attack comes just eight months after British backpackers Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were murdered on a Thai beach.  The couple had met as they travelled around South East Asia on a holiday of a lifetime and were targeted during a walk on the beach.

Burmese migrants Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 21, were arrested two weeks after the semi-naked bodies of the pair were found.

The horrifying killings fuelled tense relations between tourists and the Thai government, after its Prime Minister claimed ‘beautiful’ British girls weren’t safe in bikinis.

Officials estimate 860,000 British tourists travel to Thailand each year, and the Foreign Office has warned of the dangers of the East-Asian country.

A travel warning says British nationals ‘have been victims of vicious, unprovoked attacks by individuals and gangs’.

It adds: ‘Violent sexual assaults and robberies against both men and women are reported regularly.’

In such an atmosphere of violence, uncertainty and crime, it is advisable that British tourists, especially backpackers, use modern technology to counteract any possibility of being abducted, attacked, raped, robbed or even killed.  The SnapMail app, installed free on any Android or iOS smartphone, will within seconds, take a picture of the attacker / criminal and email it to the user as well as saving it on the SnapMail website.  If the user is also subscribed to the SnapMail Emergency service (which he or she is highly recommended to do) then five minutes later, if he or she is unable to do anything else because of further attacks, then their friends will be sent emergency texts and emails with a message to come to their rescue or contact the police.  The victim’s geo-location will also be highlighted.

In the cases mentioned above, the 19-year-old’s abduction early on Tuesday morning and the murder of Hannah and David could have been avoided as the Thai police would have been informed on time and with prior knowledge of the young people’s latest geo-location, would have come to their rescue.  Moreover, the victims could have warned their attackers earlier on about the impact of having their pictures taken and sent to the SnapMail website: this might have deterred them from committing their crimes.

The SnapMail app can be downloaded FREE by clicking here.  It could save your life.