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A year later, Samsung and Australia’s underwater ad feud hits boiling point

It’s been over a year since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission originally accused Samsung of false advertising, citing the fact that numerous contemporary Galaxy smartphones have starred in so aquatic scenes that they’re essentially frontrunners for all buoy roles in the upcoming Baywatch reboot – or something like that. In a tragicomic turn of events, it appears the feud is only now reaching its boiling point: Samsung is still describing the dispute as water under the bridge, whereas the ACCC is making increasingly larger waves by flexing its regulatory muscles.

As part of the latest water skirmish between the duo, Samsung’s legal sharks labeled the Australian watchdog’s demands “cheap” and insignificant. Or, as Samsung general counsel John Sheahan phrased it: “It’s not a debacle, it’s just a claim made, and not proved.” Which is a statement bound to give pause to some people, making them ponder whether that perspective is really so much better, but that was pretty much Samsung’s defense from day one.

ACCC pushing for six months’ worth of underwater testing

In other words, the world’s largest smartphone maker is describing suggestions that its ads actively encourage consumers to use their IP68-certified smartphones underwater as ludicrous. Unfortunately, no one on the ACCC’s side is laughing, especially since it’s surprisingly hard to argue that Samsung’s recent marketing undertakings have not, in fact, been an elongated homage to Nirvana’s Nevermind.

Which leads us to the current standoff in which the consumer watchdog is pushing for what Samsung’s attorneys claim would amount to six months of meticulous testing if the company wants to clear its name and avoid an AU$150,000 fine. On the other hand, the ACCC’s complaint isn’t exactly starved for content as it lists no fewer than 300 individual ads with such problematic content which Samsung used to market its products in Australia between 2016 and 2019.

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