Friday, 20 March 2020 12:15

‘Panic marketing’ by major retailers in COVID-19 crisis, claims CHOICE Featured

By
Jonathan Brown CHOICE consumer advocate Jonathan Brown CHOICE consumer advocate

Consumer advocate CHOICE is calling on Australian brands not to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis with what it says are “pushy sales tactics” that fuel consumer anxiety.

According to CHOICE, Mosaic Brands — the parent company behind Australian retail brands Rockmans, Katies, Millers, Rivers, Noni B, Beme, Autograph and Crossroads — have fuelled consumer anxiety with ads and email direct marketing calling for consumers to “stock up now before it’s gone” on face masks and hand sanitiser”.

“Australians expect more from major retailers at this time. Using pushy sales tactics to exploit anxiety about COVID-19 to encourage panic buying is not on. These are disgraceful marketing tactics”, says CHOICE consumer advocate Jonathan Brown.

CHOICE says it has found multiple examples of one well-known Australian brand using terms like:

“STOCK UP NOW BEFORE IT’S GONE”

“LIMITED STOCK - SHOP NOW”

“ORDER NOW! LIMITED STOCK”

“STOCK UP AND STAY SAFE”

“The Prime Minister has called for calm. We think this advice should apply to the business community too. We need all brands to be responsible and support the community to navigate these challenges, rather than cash in on fear,” Brown said, noting that CHOICE is closely monitoring business behaviour during the COVID-19 breakout.

“We're actively looking out for businesses that see this as an opportunity to take advantage of people who are worried – through misleading advertising, price gouging or shonky health claims.”

“This ‘panic marketing’ from Mosaic brands was identified by CHOICE members - they are our eyes and ears. We’re asking anyone who sees panic marketings, misleading claims or dodgy practices to report it at choice.community”.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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