Federal court dismisses AOC case against Telstra advertising

Australian Olympic Commission ordered to pay costs for legal action against the telco accusing it of misleading advertising

The Federal Court has dismissed the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) action against Telstra for misleading advertising relating to the 2016 Rio Games.

The AOC took legal action against Telstra following a campaign launched earlier in July by the telco promoting its support of the Channel Seven Olympics App. The campaign used a modern version of the Peter Allen classic tune, ‘I Go To Rio’, and initially featured the line official technology partners’ for the Seven Olympic Games broadcast.

This line was amended by Telstra within days of the campaign’s launch after the AOC expressed concerns about the way Telstra was presenting its association with the 2016 games after cutting ties as an official sponsor of the games last year.

In a judgement passed down on 29 July, presiding Judge, Justice Wigney, dismissed the AOC’s application and ordered the AOC pay Telstra’s court costs.

The AOC had contended Telstra’s advertisements, which stretched across TVCs, online and other forms of advertising, contravened either or both section 18 or 29(g) and (h) of the Australian Consumer Law, relating to misleading and deceptive conduct.

While agreeing Telstra had potentially “pushed the envelope as far as it could” with regards to its associating with Olympic fervour and spirit, the judge did not agree the telco's advertising efforts had contravened either of those consumer laws, or the related section 36 of the OIP (Olympics Insignia Protection) Act.

“The central question in resolving this dispute is this: Do the Telstra promotions and advertisements suggest to a reasonable person that Telstra is a sponsor of, or provided sponsor-like support to, bodes and teams association with the Rio Olympic Games?” Justice Wigney asked. “Or do they simply suggest that Telstra sponsors Seven’s broadcast of the Rio Olympic Games and promote the ability of Telstra customers to access the premium version of Seven’s Olympics on 7 app?”

The judge concluded the Rio TVC and marketing material would not suggest to a reasonable person that Telstra was a sponsor of, or provided sponsorship-like support, to any Olympic body. While agreeing the original Rio TVC could be perceived as “borderline”, subsequent revisions were adequate in meeting any guidelines, he stated.

“The marketing brief revealed that Telstra wanted to be associated in some way with the Olympics: It wanted to create an overarching ‘brand idea’ and ‘platform that brings to life Telstra’s brand positioning of ‘empowering people to thrive in the connected world’ through the context of sports and the Olympic Games,” Justice Wigney stated.

“Equally, however, the material revealed that Telstra well understood that, because it was not a sponsor, there were limits to what it could say or imply.

“On balance, the marketing material does not show that Telstra deliberately set about implying something which it knew it could not lawfully imply. It is fairly clear, however, that Telstra wished to push the envelope as far as it could.”

Judge Wigney’s overall conclusion was in favour of Telstra.

“None of the advertisements, videos, catalogues, emails of online materials, or other marketing or promotional materials that employ the Olympic expressions, would suggest to a reasonable person, that Telstra is or was a sponsor of, or is or was the provider of, sponsorship-like support to any relevant Olympic claim,” he stated.


Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in