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Legal lessons from 2017

As another year slowly winds into gear, we thought it appropriate to look back at some of the key legal themes in social of 2017 – and how they could affect you in 2018.

Online reviews

This is a hot topic for the ACCC. Aveling Homes has been fined $380,000 for manipulating online reviews, with a senior manager of the company fined $25,000 for being “knowingly concerned” (read our post on the case).

This case shows that it’s not just a company that will cop it – if you know what’s going on, you may find yourself in the firing line.

Influencers and social media – if it looks like a duck …

The AANA Code of Ethics was updated to require advertising and marketing communications (as defined under the Code) be clearly identified.

There was a grey area around whether supplying free product constituted “payment”, which was neatly dealt with via a post about a fake tan product.

Hint: free product may be considered “payment”.

Comply with industry codes

There are many industry codes with specific requirements regarding advertising.

Complaints that a BMW ad promoted drag racing were upheld by the Ad Standards Board.

Consider your audience

Keep in mind that the Code requires advertising use language that is “appropriate for the circumstances”, which is relevant for social media given that minors (aged 13+) can register accounts.

A Facebook post by a burger store showcasing a burger called Tha McKlucka Muthaf*ka fell foul (fowl?) of the Advertising Standards Board for this very reason.

The takeout

Brands must ensure their advertising is appropriate for the medium and audience, and complies with all relevant industry codes and applicable laws.

It’s a jungle out there – if you’re not sure, get some legal advice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Kelly is the founder of KHQ Approved, which offers fixed fee solutions across a range of areas (including marketing law and contract review).  Peace of mind from an experienced team for a reasonable price.

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