Character merchandising, or celebrity endorsements, plays on the emotional attachment that a particular consumer may have for the personality endorsing the product. This is a technique, generally targeted in promotional products and services for mass marketing, intended to create an emotional response in the consumer to desire and then buy the goods or services. The whole importance of character merchandising is the creation of an association of the product with the character; not the making of precise representations. Your business can engage in such promotion in so far that it is not misleading and deceptive conduct, or conveys a misrepresentation.

Forms of Character Merchandising

Character merchandising can come in many forms, including figures, drawings or designs of fictitious persons, the likeness, appearance of real persons and names, nicknames, voice and other recognisable characteristics of both. The intention of character merchandising is to use the personality features or characteristics of celebrities and increase the possibilities for the marketing of any secondary product or service that can be imagined.

Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

If the conduct causes consumers to be led into error and to form a misled state of mind or conclusion, this may be in breach of the Australian Consumer Law. In order to seek damages, it must be proven that the conduct caused loss or damage as a result of the association with the product and a certain image. For a business engaged in marketing, you need to avoid any potential misrepresentations in any image or marketing campaign exposed to the general public.


Misleading and deceptive conduct can give rise to potential litigation. If you are unsure about whether your marketing or promotional campaign is similar to character merchandising, contact one of our business lawyers to find out more about your legal obligations. Call us today on 1300 544 755.

Lachlan McKnight
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