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AOC takes Telstra to court for misleading support of Rio Olympics

The Australian Olympic Committee has claimed Telstra's 'I go to Rio' marketing campaign is misleading Australians to believe it is an official sponsor of Australia's Olympic team.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is taking legal action against Telstra for running its "I go to Rio" marketing campaign, despite not being an official sponsor of Australia's Olympic team or the Olympic Movement, which the AOC claims is a "clear attempt to deceive Australians".

In a statement, the AOC said that while it has repeatedly attempted to seek cooperation from Telstra to stop the campaign, it has been left with no choice but to take legal measures in the Federal Court.

"To be clear, Telstra is not a sponsor of Australia's Olympic Team and has no official role with the Olympic Movement," it stated.

The AOC and Telstra have not been partners since 2015, when the two organisations decided not to continue their partnership, the AOC said.

However, in Telstra's defence, it said that when the AOC raised concerns, the telco giant updated its advertising to include an explicit statement that Telstra was not an official sponsor of the Olympics Games, or any Olympic Committees or teams.

"Telstra has an existing commercial partnership with the Seven Network. Our current advertising simply promotes that commercial arrangement and that Telstra customers get free access to premium content through the Seven app," the company said.

With the Rio Olympics drawing closer, court proceedings against Telstra have been fast-tracked, with the first directions hearing taking place in the Federal Court on Monday.

Telstra has also announced plans to rebrand itself from being a telecommunications company to a technology firm, with the launch of a new brand campaign.

"This sentiment is behind the evolution of Telstra's brand. Telstra is evolving from a telco to a techco -- to be a world class technology company empowering people to connect. Our brand needs to reflect this and demonstrate there are better ways for everyone to thrive in this connected world," Joe Pollard, Telstra CMO and group executive, wrote in a blog post.

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