Telstra has lost its battle with Optus over a series of ads featuring a phonebox sinking into the sand during a court hearing.
The ads in question include a tagline stating, “Empires end. That’s what they do,” accompanied by an image of an orange and blue phone box.
According to Telstra, the ads, which were designed by Optus’ internal agency Yes Agency, indicate a “significant and permanent change in the relationship between the Telstra and Optus mobile networks”.
However, Judge John Robson has opposed Telstra’s claims, arguing the phone box ads do not mislead consumers and is instead “humorous”.
Robson added, “[The] distinctive shape, and blue-and-orange colour scheme” made it “easily recognisable as a Telstra phone box of the type that was once commonplace on Australian streets”.
Though, purposely omit the telco’s actual logo from the design.
“It would be fanciful to imagine that the humorous image of a Telstra phone box in a desert landscape would persuade a reasonable person that Telstra’s strong position in the market has been permanently destroyed,” he said.
The win for Optus follows the ongoing court proceedings between the two telcos, with both claiming its competitor’s advertising has been falsified.
Last week, Telstra was reprimanded by the Federal Court for its ‘Unlimited’ slogan.
Advertising across out-of-home and social media claimed the telco offered ‘Unlimited’ mobile plans, with ads stating, “One word from Australia’s best mobile network. Unlimited.”
Though, according to the Federal Court’s Justice Jacqueline Gleeson, the mobile plan “does not offer a mobile product or service that is unlimited”.
This decision followed Optus being forced to pull ads which used data from an international report.
Telstra claimed Optus’ advertisements were false and launched an application for an injunction preventing Optus from using the report’s findings for advertising purposes.
“The P3 report is not a sufficient basis to support the claims made by Optus and in fact ranked Telstra best for data performance,” a Telstra spokesman told The Australian.
Now, Justice Ross Robson has granted the application, meaning Optus will be forced to pull the advertising until the matter is taken to trial at Victoria’s Supreme Court next Tuesday.
“I am satisfied that there is a serious question to be tried in relation to the allegations of misleading or deceptive conduct on the part of Optus,” Robson said.