McDonald's has been slammed by ACMA for breaching
the Spam Act with its 'send to friends' Happy Meal
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has
issued a formal warning to McDonald's for its Happy Meal
campaign. In this campaign, McDonald's encouraged its customers
to send their friends a link on its Happy Meal website, which
included promotional games.
ACMA found McDonald's breached the Spam Act because:
McDonald's caused commercial electronic messages to be sent
without the express consent of the recipient; and
the messages did not include an unsubscribe facility.
This is the first time ACMA has taken action against a large
company for a 'send to friends' viral marketing activation,
and it comes as a timely reminder to e-marketers of the 3 basic
principles of sending commercial electronic messages (including
emails, SMS and MMS sent for a promotional purpose) under the Spam
Consent: Don't trust your friends.
Commercial electronic messages may only be sent if express consent
is given by the recipient. Relying on the personal relationship of
a 'friend' is not sufficient – in the case of
McDonald's, it had to prove that it received the express
consent from the recipient – which of course it
Identify: Who is your friend? Commercial
electronic messages must accurately identify the original sender of
the promotional message and include enough information for the
recipient to contact the sender.
Unsubscribe: Your friends may not like Happy
Meals. So commercial electronic messages must contain an
unsubscribe facility, enabling the recipient to 'opt-out'
from receiving future marketing material. Remember, any
'opt-outs' received by the sender must be honoured within 5
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The issue of recording telephone calls was recently considered in the Federal Court in Furnari v Ziegert  FCA 1080.
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