The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has launched legal action against Telstra, following allegations that advertisements are suggesting the telco is a team sponsor.
Directly citing Telstra’s “I go to Rio” marketing campaign, the Olympic body claims the “misleading advertisements” are an attempt to deceive the public into thinking the company is part of the official sponsorship team.
Despite “repeated attempts for cooperation”, the AOC said it has been left with “no choice” but to seek appropriate legal measures in the Federal Court.
According to the AOC, the organisation relies on commercial partners to fund Olympic teams across the board, including the Olympic Games, Olympic Winter Games and Youth Olympic Games.
“The AOC is grateful for the support of its true, valued partners and defends its right to protect them,” an AOC statement read.
“Without them, 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.
“Unfortunately, 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.”
In a direct dig at Telstra, the AOC said it was unfortunate that “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.”
The legal action follows the termination of a longstanding partnership between the AOC and Telstra, which ended in 2015.
In response, Telstra claimed the campaign originates from its commercial partnership with the Seven Network, and is currently working with the AOC following its complaint.
“Our current advertising simply promotes that commercial arrangement and that Telstra customers get free access to premium content through the Seven app,” a Telstra spokesperson said.
“The AOC raised concerns with us and so we updated our advertising to include an explicit statement that Telstra is not an official sponsor of the Olympic Games, any Olympic committees or teams.”