Fine print exclusions

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In monitoring advertising standards, Consumer Protection pays particular attention to "fine print exclusions".

The overall impression created by an advertisement is important. Qualifications of claims in a small font print may not correct a misleading impression created by other more prominent words.

Australian courts have sent clear messages that they expect qualifying expressions in advertising or product descriptions to feature as prominently as other elements that create a general impression.

"Conditions (that) apply" at the bottom of an advertisement must not contradict the basic thrust of the advertisement.

Although typography is important in effective advertising, it is also important that the overall impression from any print advertisement is not false or misleading.

For example, a fine print exclusion would materially alter the overall impression of an advertisement if a bold banner claiming "50% off all stock" was supplemented by small print stating "Except manchester, cutlery and furniture".

Similarly, a very small font qualification that appears for a very short time at the end of a TV advertisement may not be sufficient.

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