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Australian Olympic Committee slams Telstra over ‘misleading advertisements’
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is taking Telstra to the Federal Court over allegations its advertisements are misleading and suggest the telecommunications company is a team sponsor.
The AOC said Telstra's marketing campaign ‘I go to Rio’ is a clear attempt to deceive Australians into believing it is a sponsor of the Australian Olympic Team.
In a statement, the AOC said it was unfortunate "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.”
Explaining that the AOC 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 statement added “without (commercial sponsors) 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.
"In 2015, Telstra and the AOC mutually decided not to continue their longstanding partnership.”
The AOC said it was "extremely disappointing" to see the recent Telstra campaign.
It added “despite repeated attempts for cooperation, today the AOC has been left with no choice but to seek appropriate legal measures in the Federal Court.”
Telstra has responded, saying it has a commercial arrangement with Channel Seven over free Olympic content, and has since updated advertisements saying it is not an official Olympic sponsor.
In its statement, the AOC said it was grateful for the support of its true, valued partners and would defend its right to protect them.
It concluded “to be clear, Telstra is not a sponsor of Australia’s Olympic Team and has no official role with the Olympic Movement.”
‘Ambush marketing’ of major sporting events is nothing new.
Prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, soft drink brand Solo launched a themed football promotion featuring Socceroo Harry Kewell, despite sponsorship rights to the FIFA World Cup being held by rival brand Coca-Cola.
Image: Telstra's 'Road to Rio' promotion.
3rd February 2010 - NON-SPONSOR SOLO LAUNCHES SOUTH AFRICAN FOOTBALL COMPETITION
29th January 2010 - CRICKET RECEIVES HIGH-LEVEL AMBUSH ADVERTISING PROTECTION
6th May 2008 - CHINA BRAND TAKES OLYMPIC SHORT CUT
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