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AOC lawsuit against Telstra dismissed

AAP logoAAP 29/07/2016 By Andi Yu

The Australian Olympic Committee has lost its Federal Court case against Telstra over its "I go to Rio" marketing campaign.

The AOC took Telstra to court after the telco released a series of TV commercials featuring a revamped version of the Peter Allen hit describing Telstra as the "Official Technology Partner" of the Seven Network.

In a Sydney court on Friday, Justice Michael Wigley dismissed the AOC's application and directed it to pay Telstra's legal costs.

The AOC claimed that Telstra's campaign was an "ambush" designed to be a "back-door" effort to associate itself with the Rio Olympics without having to pay for the privilege.

But in his judgment, Justice Wigley said the "I go to Rio" campaign is "nothing more than Telstra advertising or promoting its relationship and arrangements with Seven" and "could not fairly be regarded as misleading or deceptive".

The case was complicated because Telstra was in a "sponsorship-like arrangement" with the Seven Network, the official Australian broadcaster of the Olympics, Justice Wigley said.

Nevertheless, any reasonable viewer would not be inclined to believe the telco was a direct sponsor of the event, he said.

The marketing campaign is made up of three 30-second ads featuring ordinary Australians being inspired to do Olympic sports by watching Seven's "Olympics on 7" app.

Seven said it welcomed the Federal Court's decision.

It is not known how much the AOC owes Telstra in legal costs.

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