ACCC accepts court-enforceable orders from
Overall impression of Myth Busting advertising campaign
thought to be misleading and deceptive.
Coca-Cola South Pacific Pty Ltd gave section 87B undertakings to
the ACCC on 2 April 2009 in response to concerns about advertising
during October 2008 entitled, "Kerry Armstrong on Motherhood
& Myth-Busting". The advertisement sought to correct
consumers' perceptions about specific "myths" that
Coke makes you fat, rots your teeth and is packed with
Under section 87B of the Trade Practices Act, the ACCC can
accept an undertaking from a company which has breached the Trade
Practices Act, instead of prosecuting the company. In what many
would regard as a good result for the company, Coca-Cola South
Pacific has given undertakings to publish advertisements in the
national press with the heading "Coca-Cola setting the record
Coke says: "The feedback we received from the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission and others is that the overall
impression we created by those ads may have been misleading. What
we meant to convey is that there can be a place for Coca-Cola in a
balanced, sensible diet and active lifestyle. We certainly did not
intend our messages to be misleading or to convey an impression
that Coca-Cola cannot contribute to weight or to cavities and other
dental problems. We have listened to the feedback we received and
want to set the record straight."
Coca-Cola South Pacific has promised that for a period of three
years, it will not make claims that:
consumption of Coca-Cola cannot contribute to weight gain
unless that claim can be substantiated
consumption of Coca-Cola cannot contribute to tooth decay or
that tooth decay is declining globally, unless the particular claim
made can be substantiated; and
250ml of the Coca-Cola Product bearing the brand name
"Diet Coca-Cola" contains only one half of the amount of
caffeine as that contained in a cup of tea, without further
qualification, unless that claim can be substantiated.
One of the undertakings required by the ACCC is that the company
will implement a compliance program in order to prevent future
breaches of the Trade Practices Act. In this case, Coca-Cola South
Pacific is to retain a law firm or professional with trade
practices expertise to undertake a review of its procedures
regarding advertising and promotional material and report within
six months to the ACCC in respect of the implementation of any
What is the message in Coke's experience for other
companies? The final paragraph of the corrective advertisement
summarises it nicely:
"This process has reinforced in our minds that even where
advertising messages are well-intentioned, it is important to
consider the overall impression that the messages may
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In some cases these fees or surcharges are higher than what a bank charges to these merchants for use of the system.
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