Activewear brand Lorna Jane has been fined $5 million over false and misleading claims it made last year that its products protected against Covid-19.
The judge called the business’ actions “exploitative, predatory and potentially dangerous”, according to the ACCC, which took Lorna Jane to court over the claims in December 2020.
The marketing campaign was apparently overseen, signed off, and promoted by Lorna Jane chief creative officer Lorna Jane Clarkson. In court, business representatives admitted that Lorna Jane had no scientific backing to make the claims, did no testing to prove the claims before it made them, or had any evidence to prove the claims should they be questioned.
“The whole marketing campaign was based upon customers’ desire for greater protection against the global pandemic,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“This was dreadful conduct as it involved making serious claims regarding public health when there was no basis for them.
“This type of conduct is particularly harmful where, as here, consumers cannot easily check or monitor the claims made.”
Lorna Jane said its ‘anti-virus activewear’ was sprayed with something called ‘LJ Shield’ which would eliminate and stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus, and said it believed the spray was a cure for the virus, stating: “Cure of the spread of Covid-19? Lorna Jane thinks so.”
The information was removed in July 2020 after receiving backlash from consumers and medical practitioners alike, but that the products’ garment tags continued to state they provided permanent protection against pathogens until at least November 2020.
The business was fined almost $40,000 last year from infringement notices issued by the Therapeutic Goods Administration due to breaching advertising standards and failing to seek approval to the therapeutic goods register before making the claims.