McDonald’s warned about its e-marketing

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th December 2012

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued a formal warning to McDonald’s in relation to its “Send to Friends” e-marketing campaign for McDonald’s Happy Meals.

Various food companies in Australia have been criticised in the past year by consumer groups for targeting children in their marketing  (see recent Australian Food News reports such as criticism of Kellogg’s, criticism of junior sport promotion, and parental concerns about so-called pester power at supermarkets).

Yet this was not the basis of the complaint in the latest episode investigating McDonald’s.

In this particular instance, McDonald’s was said to have contravened the laws under the Spam Act 2003.

The Spam Act deals with e-marketing.

McDonald’s ‘Send to Friends’ emails (which promoted games and activities) were sent to friends of users without ensuring the friends had given their consent. Most importantly, the messages also did not have an Unsubscribe facility, as required by the Spam Act.

ACMA Chairman Mr Chris Chapman said, “This case should alert businesses that they must think carefully before using ‘friend get friend’ marketing. When sending your marketing messages, you must make sure that there is consent from the actual person who is going to receive your message.”

“You can’t just assume consent has been given,” he added.

For the ACMA’s media release click here.