Athleisurewear label Lorna Jane has received a $5 million fine from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after making false and misleading statements about its Lorna Jane Shield range.
Throughout July, the brand has marketed its LJ Shield Activewear falsely to consumers, stating the range “eliminated”, “stopped the spread” and “protected wearers” against “viruses including COVID-19.”
The company claimed its anti-virus activewear had been sprayed with a substance called “LJ Shield”, which protected people against pathogens.
This misleading information was on in-store signage, on the website, posted on Instagram, press releases, and in newsletter emails to customers. Advertisements on the brand’s socials used the tag “Cure for the Spread of COVID-19? Lorna Jane Thinks So”.
“Lorna Jane falsely promoted its LJ Shield Activewear as eliminating or providing protection from COVID amidst growing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Australia,” explains Rod Sims, ACCC chair.
“The whole marketing campaign was based upon consumers’ desire for greater protection against the global pandemic. The $5 million in penalties imposed by the Court highlights the seriousness of Lorna Jane’s conduct, which the judge called ‘exploitative, predatory and potentially dangerous.”
Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Lorna Jane Clarkson, approved all LJ Shield Activewear promotional material, and was involved in crafting the words and imagery used in the marketing campaign.
The brand has also admitted that they never did any scientific testing and had no results showing the effectiveness of the product against viruses.
“This was dreadful conduct as it involved making serious claims regarding public health when there was no basis for them,” says Sims. “This type of conduct is particularly harmful where, as here, consumers cannot easily check or monitor the claims made.”