ACCC: The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission is the regulatory body ensuring that Australian businesses comply with competition and consumer protection laws, particularly the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).

Accessory: Under the Australian Consumer Law any part of, or accessory to, a particular good is also considered as “goods”.

Ad clearance: All businesses have legal regulations that they must comply with, and the process of ad clearance is to ensure that the ads that are being promoted won’t end up costing your business extra because it fails to comply with the law. The basic rule is to ensure that the business’ advertisements are not misleading or deceptive.

Above the line (ATL): In marketing terms, above the line means marketing that has a broad reach. Usually, these are advertisement campaigns that are untargeted at specific audiences and only aim to reach as many people as possible. It is a good way to establish a brand reputation, gain wider exposure and increase goodwill for the business. See also “Below the line”.

Aid & Abet: Under section 75B of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, an individual will be seen to have been involved in a contravention of the Act if they have ‘aided, abetted, counselled or procured’ the contravention. For example, failure to comply with a compulsory notice issued by the ACCC may also result in an individual being seen to have aided and abetted the failure of the business to comply with the Act.

Asterisks (*): Asterisks are commonly used in advertisements to attach limitations or disclaimers, generally in fine print and at the bottom of the ad. For example, it is common to see * followed by ‘conditions apply’. Note that the ACCC has set out guidelines for these disclaimers, mainly that:

  • The text cannot be in obscure locations
  • The text cannot be too small
  • No flashing disclaimers that disappear

Audio: Audio is often used in video advertisement campaigns, whether it is in the form of a voiceover, tagline or music. While it is an effective way to engage viewers’ attention, businesses should ensure that they have complied with any legal issues beforehand. For example, if a piece of music is being written for the ad, businesses have the responsibility to ensure it does not violate copyright.

Bait advertising: This is a form of advertising that is considered to be misleading and deceptive conduct. This occurs when an advertisement promotes a product that is on sale for a short period or is limited in quantity without explicitly stating so. It will not be considered misleading if the limitations are clearly promoted alongside the sale.

Below the line (BTL): This type of marketing targets a specific group of people and are usually published in a more specific arena, such as an ad directed at mechanics published in a car magazine. BTL marketing focuses on increasing conversions and getting direct responses.

Billboard advertising: One of the most effective ways to advertise your business, particularly on an above the line basis, billboard advertising promotes your business’s goods or services on a large scale. The drawback is that it may be costly and must be a long-term commitment. Hence it will not be suited to businesses that frequently change campaigns or are only advertising for short-term sales.

Business To Business (B2B): Quite literally, this refers to transactions that are made between business to another business as opposed to transactions between a business to consumer (B2C) and a business to government (B2G).

Branding: This is the all-encompassing term used to describe the way a business has chosen to present and promote itself to the public. In general, branding is the way businesses distinguish their goods or services from its competitors. Most successful businesses will have a successful branding strategy that keeps their customers loyal.

Campaign: Campaigns are used to describe a series or set of advertising messages that market and promote a single idea or product of the business. A campaign can involve marketing through various channels, including print, television and social media.

Character merchandising: A marketing technique appealing consumers who may have a particular attachment to a celebrity. The technique creates an association with the product and creates a desire in the consumer to purchase the good or service.

Comparative advertising: This is a strategy used by marketing companies to sell products by comparing it directly to another brand name and highlighting its strong areas. However, comparative advertising should be undertaken with caution as it is closely watched by the ACCC. Misleading and deceptive conduct is the crucial regulation to keep in mind, and businesses to ensure that if they compare statistics or products of other businesses that these are always portrayed accurately.

Component pricing: This essentially means that when a business presents its prices to their customers, the total price should be stated. Even if the product is promoted at part of the price, the total price should be displayed prominently on the product. For example, online ticket purchase usually includes a booking fee, bumping up the price of the ticket – as such, it is the total price with the booking fee that should be advertised.

Conditions apply: This is a term often used in advertisements to signify limitations or disclaimers associated with what is being advertised. For example, signs that claim a gift will be given with a purchase often has conditions that apply for the gift to be claimed.

Consumer: Consumers are persons who purchase goods and services from a business. Under Australian law, consumers are heavily protected by consumer guarantees to ensure best the goods or products they purchase are genuine and safe.

Cost price: The cost price is the wholesale price. When displaying this on the goods being sold, be aware of whether or not it will be misleading to consumers. For example, many businesses like to use “was/now pricing”, such as stating a product “was $100, now $80” where $100 was the cost/wholesale price. This is misleading if the product was never sold at the cost price.

Creative agency: This includes advertisement agencies as well as digital agencies. These businesses are usually branding agents who work to spread and solidify business brand names across physical and digital platforms. They have a good understanding of branding and how to best market a brand to the right consumers. See also “branding”.

Damages: If you suffer damages and losses due to a faulty product or service provided by a business, you are eligible to seek compensation in addition to the consumer guarantee of repair, replacement or refund options. Note that under the ACL; businesses do not have to pay for damages or losses that are not caused by their conduct or are related to something independent of their business.

Demographic: This describes a particular sector of the population. Most businesses will gear their products towards a particular demographic. For example, the publisher of a teen magazine will aim for a young demographic between the ages of 13-18, and will structure their marketing strategy around this demographic.

Discount/Sale: A sale or a discounted item is common in businesses trying to boost their sales or attract more customers. Discounts should only be available for a limited period since a discount that has been ongoing for too long effectively becomes the new selling price and it will be misleading and deceptive conduct for it to be still called a discount.
See also “Two price advertising”.

Anthony Lieu

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