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Reckitt Benckiser appoints new PR firm, Dec PR, following biggest fine in Australian consumer law history

Public relations agency Dec PR has secured the public relations duties for Reckitt Benckiser Australia, FIIG Securities and Skyfii.

The agency will deliver PR campaigns and issues management to Reckitt Benckiser Australia and its brands including Nurofen, Dettol and Finish.

The appointment comes after Reckitt Benckiser was handed the largest fine in Australian consumer law history for its pain-specific Nurofen products which allegedly targeted different types of pain, despite having the same active ingredients.

Powell Tate is still engaged to handle the issues management for RB brands including Nurofen and any ACCC cases, while Dec PR will handle litigation management for its brands including Nurofen.

Initially, Reckitt Benckiser was fined $1.7m by the Federal Court after it ruled there was no evidence to support the products’ claims. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) subsequently appealed the fine, with chairman Rod Sims claiming the size of the fine was out of step with the profits Reckitt Benckiser had made from selling the pain killers.

The court then ruled in favour of the ACCC, increasing the fine to $6m – the amount the watchdog had initially called for.

The fine was a record for misleading conduct in Australia, which Sims said was a victory for consumers.

Reckitt Benckiser then escalated the fight to the High Court, however the $6m fine was upheld.

The company noted at the time it had paid the fine, but did not agree with the ruling.

“Nurofen is disappointed by this decision, as it considers that the application raised serious questions on whether the Full Court’s reasoning and amended penalty was correct in all of the circumstance,” a statement said.

“Nurofen did not intend to mislead consumers and we apologise to those of our consumers who were misled.  We recognise that we could have done more to assist our consumers in navigating the Nurofen Specific Pain Range. That is, to show that each of the products in the range is equally effective for the other pains indicated on the Nurofen Specific Pain Range packaging.

“The Nurofen Specific Pain Range was introduced with the intention to provide easy navigation of pain relief options, particularly within the grocery environment where pharmacy support is not available.”

Dec PR has also announced it will undertake PR for FIIG Securities, with the account win including earned media, social and influencer marketing to promote the brand.

Dec PR will also deliver a strategic communications program for its third new client Skyfii.

Agata Kenna, founder and managing director of Dec PR, said in a statement: “We proudly welcome these three successful and innovative businesses to the agency, augmenting the already hugely diverse client portfolio.

“At Dec PR we’re in the business of helping clients grow by building brands and protecting reputations. Our strategic programs, which often comprise traditional and new world communications thinking, tightly wrap around each client’s commercial roadmap,” she said.

Other clients of Dec PR include: Palmolive, Melbourne Airport, Subaru, Lion, Aston Martin, Dolby and Twinings & Co.

 

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