The Federal Court's recent findings serve as a warning to
business to make sure that the first impressions you make in your
advertising campaigns represent the true position of your product
or service offering.
The case, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v
TPG Internet Pty Ltd (No 2)  FCA 629 highlights the
significance of the first impressions created by
your ad campaign and the risk of having a gap between your main
message and any 'fine print' or qualifications in your
Ultimately, TPG was found guilty of misleading and deceptive
conduct and was fined $2 million because,
according to the Federal Court, the ads were 'seriously
misleading', the qualifying information was deliberately
minimised and there was a risk that offending conduct would
Also important to the court's findings was that the ads were
so effective that they increased
TPG's customer base from 9,000 to 107,000 during the campaign
period and generated additional revenue of almost $60million.
The key lesson for business is that if the first impression
conveys a misleading or potentially misleading impression then the
fine print won't help you. While innovative marketing
strategies may be exciting in pushing the boundaries, the risk for
business is that they go too far and can end up costing you more
than you bargained for.
What can you do?
There are things you can and should do to help protect yourself.
Be wary of marketing spin – don't try
and make the product look better than it is – if there's
other pricing or other costs to the customer refer to it up from
Be very careful about running aggressive
campaigns – what impression is your ad really making and how
will that impact on your competitors?
Get independent and experienced legal advice
for your advertising campaigns.
When in doubt, Thynne & Macartney can help
you with your advertising campaigns and any other business matters
as and when they arise.
Our accredited business specialist,
Peter Jolly, heads up our business advisory group and
they're sure to make a memorable first impression (with no fine
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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