Choice alerts consumers to fake online reviews in digital awareness drive

Consumer watchdog Choice is alerting the public to fake online reviews and bogus Facebook and Twitter profiles with a digital ad campaign in the run-up to Christmas.

The awareness drive will feature Kev, the owner of a dodgy “click farm” and his assistant Wayne who boast “if you pay it, we say it”.

The ads, to run on Youtube,, Daily Motion and Huffington Post, will highlight some of the tricks used by businesses to dupe consumers and demonstrate how easy and cheap it is to present a seemingly genuine online presence.

Choice said it created a bogus website called Click Kings – the fake company featured in the ads –  “in a few hours” to further illustrate the ease con artists can dupe consumers.

“With so many consumers shopping online and looking for recommendations from their network and the community this Christmas, we wanted to highlight some of the tricks businesses are using to dupe them,” Choice spokesperson Tom Godfrey said.

“The new Choice campaign is designed to illustrate how easy it is for dodgy businesses to pay for fake five star reviews and social media followers.”

Godfrey estimated that 16 per cent of online reviews on some sites are fake and said the consumer body is aware of large corporations in Australia who have been caught posting bogus negative reviews against competitors.

“From buying white goods and electronics to booking accommodation, manipulating consumers with fake reviews, ratings and likes is big business,” he said.

Choice’s in-house production team has made five variations of the ad featuring different product segments, as well as a satirical ad testimonial for Click Kings.

“The testimonial stars our own guilty mum, Kate Browne and parodies a blender brand. We wanted to poke fun at the cultish tone some companies strike and the lengths they’ll go to make sales,” Godfrey said.

Pearman was Choice’s media agency for the campaign.


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