Is It Defamation To Mock Your Competitors' Promotional Campaign?
from the so-says-Shaw dept
It’s amazing what a little competition can do. Apparently, up in Canada, cable company Shaw started running a promotion a few months ago where they dropped the price of 15Mbps broadband, 200 channels of TV, or voice service to about $10. However, apparently, this was (conveniently) only done in places where Shaw was going head to head with competitor Novus. In response, Novus put together an amusing marketing campaign, using all sorts of social media, encouraging Shaw customers in other regions (where they couldn’t get this phenomenal deal) to contact Shaw to ask why not. It’s a bit cheeky, but it makes the point: Shaw appears to be dumping its product in areas where it competes with Novus to cause trouble for Novus via predatory pricing.
Now, I’m all for competition, so I don’t necessarily think that such pricing is a bad thing (though, people should be aware that it’s unlikely that those prices can last), but that also means that the ad campaign by Novus is fair game as well. Not to Shaw, apparently. The company has now sued Novus for its marketing campaign, claiming that it’s defamation. It’s difficult to see how it’s defamation to point out your competitors’ own promotional pricing, but perhaps I’m missing something. Or maybe Shaw just figures that the defamation suit itself will get more publicity for its $10 offer. Marketing via lawsuit? Still, it seems that in going to court, Shaw may open up some legal doors it’s best to avoid. A quick stroll through some online sources suggests that Canada does, in fact, have laws against predatory pricing. Getting this whole campaign more attention might also end up drawing the attention of some regulators, too…