Monday, 31 May 2010

Of Sports Emblems and Soccer Jerseys

Just in time for all the soccer frenzy, the Advertising Standards Committee (ASC) considered an appeal by Adidas South Africa against a decision that its advertisement for replica Bafana Bafana jerseys was misleading. The original consumer complaint was that the relevant advertising depicted three logos (an Adidas logo, a South African Football Association logo and the national Protea logo), but the shirt available for purchase did not include the Protea logo and was therefore misleading. The Directorate held that a reasonable person viewing the advertisement would assume that the replica jersey would contain the Protea logo.

On appeal, Adidas submitted that the images used are part of a campaign to unite South Africans and do not promote the sale of replica jerseys. Accordingly, the images forming part of the campaign do not constitute an advertisement for the jerseys. Furthermore it submitted that a hypothetical reasonable person would know that Adidas has been prohibited from producing the replica jerseys with the Protea logo.

The ASC dismissed these arguments. It pointed out that posters bearing the images with the Protea logo are placed at the point of sale of the replica jerseys which is intended to stimulate interest in and sales of the jerseys and thus constitute advertising. The advertising will also generate the expectation in the average reasonable consumer that the replica jerseys will contain all three logos. The appeal was dismissed and the Directorate’s ruling that Adidas is to remove the advertising stands.

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