Marketing warfare series – Part III: Guerrilla marketing

What is guerrilla marketing? Guerrilla marketing involves unconventional or interactive campaigns that take consumers by surprise and typically attract social media attention for being so unexpected. These tactics allow businesses to repurpose their consumers’ environment to include their brand and are particularly attractive to small businesses looking for greater reach and impact at a lower cost than traditional marketing. This type of marketing can take many forms, including: publicity stunts (e.g. flash mobs or world record …

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A Christmas credit carol: Advertising consumer credit

As we move into the festive season, personal finance such as credit cards and loans become increasingly attractive to consumers so they can spread the Christmas cheer. Offering finance options are a great way to get customers through the door, however, businesses should be aware of requirements that apply to advertising consumer credit under the National Credit Code (NCC), which is contained in Schedule 1 of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth). Applicability …

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Marketing warfare series – Part II: Comparative advertising

A strategy often used by competing brands is comparative advertising. With numerous cases brought in the Federal Court of Australia each year and the potential for considerable pecuniary penalties, businesses should approach this strategy with caution. What is comparative marketing? Comparative advertising is, as its name suggests, an advertisement that compares a product or service with the equivalent offering of a competitor. This is usually done to highlight limitations of the competing offering and demonstrate …

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Marketing warfare series – Part I: Ambush marketing

To get an edge over competitors, businesses often resort to aggressive marketing and advertising strategies to promote their products. While these campaigns are usually creative, amusing to consumers and highly effective for attracting publicity, they can have unforeseen consequences, such as agitating a competitor into taking action against the aggressor. In this series (this is the first of three posts), we consider various ‘marketing warfare’ strategies that are commonly used by businesses, the risks of …

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International product safety week – Product safety risks in e-commerce

We all know how convenient it is to shop online (particularly today with the Black Friday sales!), but we often don’t think about the risks involved.  We can’t touch the product, we can’t see it with our own eyes, and sometimes we are uncertain as to the true identity of the seller.  Yet nine times out of ten, we probably still buy it! Last week (12-16 November) was International Product Safety Week.  Australia’s national competition …

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Consumer law update: Headline pricing and expanded investigatory powers

On 26 October 2018, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Australian Consumer Law Review) Act 2018 (Cth) came into effect, amending a number of key provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and extending investigatory powers available to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This comes as a timely reminder for businesses to ensure compliance with the ACL and particularly the changes to headline pricing practices. Headline pricing From …

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New federal gift card regulations

Ever find a gift card in your wallet from last Christmas, only to find out it’s already expired? The Federal Government is introducing new regulations that will make the rules relating to gift cards more consumer friendly.  Back in June this year, we reported on the changes to requirements for gift cards sold in NSW, which is available here. The newly released draft regulations and explanatory statement are contained in the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Gift Cards) …

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China Update: “Daigou” marketing and brand protection

As one of the largest retail markets in the world, China has become a highly desirable destination for businesses to advertise and sell their products. Over the past few years, test marketing through “Daigou” (“代购”) has become a popular way for Australian businesses to measure potential demand in the Chinese market and decide whether to commit to full entry. However, this can be highly risky for brand owners that have not developed a Chinese brand and/or …

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Cosmetics Labelling Guide Released by ACCC

Recently, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) released a guide on labelling requirements that apply to cosmetics products sold in Australia. This comes as a timely reminder for businesses that produce and supply cosmetics products to ensure that they comply with mandatory standards under the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991 (Cth) (the Mandatory Standards). Application of the Mandatory Standards The Mandatory Standards apply to cosmetics products, which are classified as …

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Tax Update: A New Digital Tax in Australia?

Following its announcement in May, the Australian Government has now released a discussion paper, raising a debate on whether Australia should introduce a new interim digital tax (Discussion Paper). The Discussion Paper refers to digital businesses with a significant “digital footprint” in Australia that may not necessary have a physical (or tax) presence in Australia. These include: news and information providers (search engines and targeted digital advertising), social media services, e-retail platforms, digital communication services …

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Unlimited Data or Unlimited Liability? Misleading and Deceptive Claims by Telcos

In a stern warning by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), telecommunication providers have been put on notice to ensure that their advertising is “clear and transparent”, or otherwise both companies and management that approve misleading advertisements will face proceedings for breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). A recent action in the Federal Court, and investigations by the ACCC have scrutinised claims that mobile data services are “unlimited” where they are in fact …

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New rules for imported foods into Australia

We’ve all come to love those delicious exotic delicacies in our fridge originating from around the world. But these imported foods are not always as harmless as they seem and can pose serious health risks such as the tropical fruit cassava and the Sardinian cheese, Casu Marzu. Two weeks ago, on 21 September 2018, the Imported Food Control Amendment Act 2018  (the Amendment Act) received royal assent.  The Amendment Act introduces various changes to the previously existing …

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Ethical credentials in retail – upcoming changes you need to know

With modern slavery reporting requirements likely to commence in the near future in Australia, there is a renewed focus on the ethical sourcing of retail and clothing products.  Specifically, in August this year, the ACCC re-authorised the Homeworkers Code of Practice (the Code) for a further ten years. The Code is voluntary for manufacturers within Australia and aims to ensure that workers receive appropriate entitlements (i.e. wages and legal protection) for their work in the textile, clothing …

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Food Standards Code: Mandatory Warning Labelling Update

On 26 May 2018, products containing the legume Lupin became subject to mandatory allergen warning requirements under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code).  It’s inclusion is a timely reminder for businesses to ensure that their product labelling includes warnings required by the Code. Mandatory Warnings By operation of Standard 1.2.3 of the Code (the Standard), food manufacturers must label their products with a warning when a designated allergen may be present as an …

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Social Media Marketing and Advertising Update: The Rising Star of the ‘Micro Influencer’

Businesses are increasingly questioning the value of “celebrity” social media influencers and appear to be favouring partnerships with “micro influencers” as a more cost effective marketing strategy. A “micro influencer” is a social media user with between 1,000 to 90,000 followers who, like a traditional influencer, makes posts promoting products.  Their key advantages include use of products out of real loyalty to a brand (in some cases), smaller and more intimate followings and, as a result, the …

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