Australian activewear brand Lorna Jane has been slapped with a 5 million dollar fine for falsely labelling activewear as, ‘Anti Virus.’
Last year, Lorna Jane began marketing its activewear as ‘Anti Virus,’ assumedly aiming to appeal to anyone concerned about COVID-19.
The brand advertised that its activewear was sprayed with an ‘LJ Shield’ – the shield was meant to protect wearers from pathogens.
The ‘Anti-Virus Activewear’ positioned itself as a ‘Cure’ for the spread of the highly contagious disease.
Lorna Jane went so far as to use the slogan, “Cure For The Spread of COVID-19? Lorna Jane Thinks So.” The slogan was then featured on advertisements for the brands’ websites, stores and socials.
Unsurprisingly, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took the activewear brand to court over its COVID-19 claims.
Chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims said: “It was dreadful behaviour, aiming to make a profit out of peoples’ concerns.”
Lorna Jane admitted in court that its COVID-19 claims were not backed by science and while claims against Lorna Jane Clarkson, as an individual, were dismissed. This honesty did not result in the brand receiving a light penalty.
According to ABC News, Justice Darryl Rangiah handed down his decision on Friday and said: “The advertising campaign was conducted in July 2020, at a time of considerable uncertainty, fear and concern amongst the public about the consequences and spread of COVID-19.
“Lorna Jane sought to exploit that fear and concern of the public through the use of misleading, deceptive and untrue representations about the properties of LJ Shield activewear.
“Lorna Jane sought to profit from the fear with concerns of the public in a way that involves unlawful conduct in contravention of the relevant provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.”
Justice Rangiah reasoned that a large penalty had to apply because of the seriousness of the brands conduct. He then fined the activewear company 5 million dollars.
Naturally, Twitter weighed in on the outcome.
Yikes! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer business https://t.co/Y3ZC1oaPMm
— Melanie Tait (@MelanieTait) July 23, 2021
Five million will hardly be a dent in the Lorna Jane empire https://t.co/el5kzL6NMP
— Libby-Jane Charleston (@LJCharleston) July 23, 2021
Lorna Jane makes 150 million in profit a year. Fined 5 million for telling lies that could have killed people. Australia thinks lying about covid to sell yoga pants is scummy, but not scummy enough to give more than s slap on the wrist. Human lives are cheap, after all. https://t.co/wIig4TPrhX
— Girl Stuff Burrtangle (@JennySmallerGod) July 23, 2021
Lorna Jane released a statement after the verdict, that read: “Lorna Jane Pty Ltd accepts the Federal Court’s ruling and acknowledges that some representations made to customers in the marketing of the LJ Shield product were misleading.
“This was never our intention, and we apologise wholeheartedly to our customers.
“The company is pleased the ACCC acknowledged to the Court that it was not alleging either the company or any of its directors or employees knew that the representations were false or misleading.
“The company is also pleased all allegations made against Lorna Jane Clarkson, as an individual, have been dismissed.”
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