Australian Olympic Committee takes Telstra to court over misleading advertising

Association says the telco's ads linking the brand to the 2016 Olympic Games are misleading consumers

Telstra is being taken to court by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) after the telco launched what many see as a guerrilla marketing campaign linking its brand to the 2016 Games in 2016.

The campaign, which launched earlier this month, was focused on promoting the Channel Seven Olympics App and used a modern version of the Peter Allen classic, ‘I go to Rio’. The campaign also initially featured the line ‘official technology partner’ for the Seven Olympics Games broadcast.

Within days of launching, the campaign was adjusted by Telstra and a statement added to clarify its unofficial status with the AOC after the latter raised legal concerns about the way the advertisements positioned the telco.

Telstra was official partner to the AOC until 2015, when the pair parted ways. In December, rival telco, Optus, inked a 10-year agreement with the association to be the official telecommunications partner until 2026.

The AOC lodged official legal action through the Australian Federal Court on Friday afternoon. In a statement, the association said it felt it was necessary to uphold the rights of official sponsors for this year’s games.

“The Australian Olympic Committee relies on commercial partners to fund the Olympic Teams that represent our country at the Olympic Games, Olympic Winter Games and Youth Olympic Games,” the AOC statement read. “Without them, we would not be in a position to send 410 athletes to the Olympic Games in Rio.

“Commercial partners also help the AOC promote Olympic values and programs throughout the country on a year-round basis. Unfortunately, some companies try to mislead the Australian public into believing they support the Australian Olympic Team or have an involvement with the Olympic movement when they don’t.”

The AOC said the ads were a clear attempt to mislead consumers about Telstra’s association with the 2016 Olympics team. It also stated firmly that Telstra is not a sponsor of the Australian Olympics team and has no official role with the Olympic movement.

“It is therefore extremely disappointing to witness Telstra’s ‘I go to Rio’ marketing campaign, which the AOC regards as a clear attempt to deceive Australians,” the statement continued.

“Despite repeated attempts for cooperation, today the AOC has been left with no choice but to seek appropriate legal measures in the Federal Court.”

A Telstra spokesperson confirmed the telco updated its advertising after the AOC initially raised concerns and stated the ads were solely focused on promoting the commercial agreement between it and Channel Seven.

“Telstra has an existing commercial partnership with the Seven Network. Our current advertising simply promotes that commercial arrangement and that Telstra customers get free access to premium content through the Seven app,” the spokesperson stated.

“The AOC raised concerns with us and so we updated our advertising to include an explicit statement that Telstra is not an official sponsor of the Olympic Games, any Olympic Committees or teams.

“As the matter is now before the courts there is no further comment we can make at this time.”

The news came on the eve of Telstra's new branding campaign, which aims to help shift its image from telco to technology provider and showcase the brand's impact on people's lives.

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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Invest and earn with Coinbloc .us. Guaranteed Weekly ROI, early signals, fast withdrawals among others. I recommend Coinbloc .us as on...

Hans Jensen

Explainer: What marketers need to know about cryptocurrency

Read more

Investment decisions are a big deal, so why not get some guidance? You can day-trade cryptos, BUY and HOLD and evaluate the assets with f...

Dave Sigurd

Gartner: Digital isn't enough of a superpower for CMOs anymore

Read more

I normally don’t feel comfortable investing online but because the company I worked for downsized due to the pandemic and I was one of th...

Dave Sigurd

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 June 2022

Read more

Investment decisions are a big deal, so why not get some guidance? You can day-trade cryptos, BUY and HOLD and evaluate the assets with f...

Dave Sigurd

Creating a marketplace for wellness

Read more

A solution for an retail industry data extraction. https://e-scraper.com/usefu...

"e-Scraper" Data Extracting

​Catchoftheday launches fee-based online shopping club

Read more

Blog Posts

3 things marketing leaders need to do to effectively lead hybrid teams

Many marketing leaders are scrambling to give their people more flexible work. And they need to: PWC’s Future of Work report showed 90 per cent of staff want some form of hybrid or remote workplace.

Scott Stein

Leadership consultant

2 hidden ingredients for leadership success CMOs need to know

Your success as a senior marketing professional has much in common with your success as a leader. Both marketing, and leadership activities, depend on building trust, encouraging action, and reliably fulfilling promises that have been made.

Gerard Penna

Leadership advisor, coach

How shifting economic trends are impacting digital media

Between further interest rate rises, inflation​, empty shelves, extortionate lettuce prices, supply chain issues and the barely believable events in Eastern Europe, the past six months there’s been a cacophony of environmental factors.

Kieran Reed

Senior digital manager, Alpha Digital

Sign in