Disgusting advertising by Destination Roll, Mascot Sydney Next to Hong Ha. Is this even legal?

I'm not related to either business but I thought I should call out Destination roll for their rather distasteful signage:

Hong Ha Bakery, Mascot - been around for 30 years - famous for Vietnamese bread rolls

Destination roll - a franchise that sells the same thing - Recently opened(?) next door to Hong HA goes and put out the signage above:
" You have been eating the same rolls for 40 years & nothing has changed. Do not waste your time & money! Our rolls are Bigger, Better & Tastier! …."

Is this sign even legal?

Related Stores

Destination Roll
Destination Roll


  • What's wrong with it?

    • I think OP's complaint is that the sign put up by the new business 'is taking business away' from the older one nearby, and they weren't subtle in the advert.
      Similar to this

      • The sign that OP is talking about seems to be in front of their own shop (unlike the case in the article).

        As long as the sign isn't defamatory or contains false claims, advertising is designed to get business. Naturally, any additional business has to come at the expense of a competitor.

        • -26 votes

          As long as the sign isn't defamatory

          Its in poor taste and its defamatory as its putting down other businesses.

          You shouldn't be putting down other businesses, which this sign is. Its poor taste.

          They could have Chopped everything above the red out, and changed the red to be "Our rolls are big tasty" and left the rest of the text below the sign as is.

          The top part of the sign is a attack on the business next door.

          • +13 votes

            @JimmyF: I can't see anything that is defamatory; please explain.

          • @JimmyF: In terms of market position, firms may be classified as market leaders, market challengers, market followers or market nichers.

            They are adopting this approach.
            Market challenger: The market challenger holds the second highest market share in the category, following closely behind the dominant player. Their market posture is generally offensive because they have less to lose and more to gain by taking risks. They will compete head to head with the market leader in an effort to grow market share.

          • @JimmyF: @JimmyF.

            Defamatory would imply that there's innacuracies in statesments written on the A=frame. There isn't

            Mascot HongHa hasn't changed in 40 years and that's great because they are the market leader in the area. They did change circa 2001 when they introduced bottled chilli but everyone complained and they went back to hand-chopped fresh chilli.

            I'm sure Hongha doesn't give a dam about the sign. They know they are the best.

            I no longer work in the area but if I know I'm passing through I stop and buy something. Best Banh Mi I've had

            • @brad1-8tsi:

              Defamatory would imply that there's innacuracies in statesments written on the A=frame. There isn't

              Actually there are:

              1. Other readers and I are less than 40 years old so couldn't possibly have been eating the same rolls for that long.

              2. The assertion that nothing has changed is virtually impossible.

              Only point 2 would be relevant to a defamation case but is trivial. So no, the sign is not defamatory.

              • @Scrooge McDuck: Nothing is relevant to a defamation case because a business does not have a character that can be defamed.

                • @69 dollar dealz: I'm out of negs but that is not correct. Companies don't have feelings, but they have reputation which can be defended legally.

                  • @SlickMick: Luckily I' am not out of negs.

                    Only "Persons" can sue in defamation

                    A person (legally defined) includes an individual or a corporate identity (not a business per se but a business can be a corporation - not sure if this one is).

                    However Corporations have their standing to sue restricted by s9 of the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW)

                    (NSW Act - but it is a uniform law and an identical section is found in all Aus jurisdictions - this was done to stop people jurisdiction shopping for a more plaintiff friendly defamation Court)

                    Section 9 reads;

                    “(9) Certain corporations do not have cause of action for defamation

                    1. A corporation has no cause of action for defamation in relation to the publication of defamatory matter about the corporation unless it was an excluded corporation at the time of the publication.

                    2. A corporation is an excluded corporation if:

                    a. …

                    b. it employs few than 10 persons and is not related to another corporation,

                    and the corporation is not a public body.

                    1. In counting employees for the purposes of sub-section (2)(b), part-time employees are to be taken into account as an appropriate fraction of a full-time equivalent.”

                    So for the 'business' to sue in defamation it must first be incorporated at the time of being defamed and secondly employ less than 10 people.

                    I understand from the comments (and this might be wrong b/c I have no knowledge of this business and didn't read the comments thoroughly) that this business has at least 2 locations, so it would more than likely employ more than 10 people (this includes employees, part-time equivalents and full-time, and contractors). Even at one location 10 employees can be reached pretty quickly in hospitality given the long hours and 7 day working week.

                    This is the only way a business can defend its reputation. The business does not need to prove a loss arising form the publication. General damages are available for the defamation itself. The loss is assumed even if it does not exist.

                    However the tort of injurious falsehood is closely related to defamation, but the tort does not offer any general damages for injury to reputation or character (so its reputation can not be legally defended through this tort), but does allow for the compensation of foreseeable loss actually realised from a statement/publication made maliciously.

                    • @69 dollar dealz: A lot of text but doesn't change the facts. MAYBE you're right and THIS business may have more than 10 employees, but that's not what you said.

                      • @SlickMick: You're conflating business and corporation.

                        Read my OP, I said a business cannot sue. You said companies can.

                        The standing to sue in defamation comes from person-hood, enjoyed by corporations and natural persons.

                        A corporation carrying on business can sue in limited circumstances - as I relayed above.

                        Before I wrote that wall of text I said I wasn't sure if the business was incorporated. I checked and in this case the business is unincorporated. An unincorporated business has no standing to sue but the owners/workers may if they can show they are readily identifiable as the ones being defamed.

          • @JimmyF: Not in the best of taste, but i think theres 2-3 other shops down the road selling the same thing besides HH

            • @dlda12345: I have no issue in them opening up next door, if the product they sell is good, they'll do well, I do have issue in them directly attacking a competitor like that. As above, drop the top bit of the sign, tweak the red section and the rest would be ok.

              The same message is being delivered, without lowering yourself to that level. You'll get new people in the door etc.

              • @JimmyF: People might not try a new company if they're happy with the existing. They've given people a reason to try them. If the claim is valid, they have every right to put it out there. I like how bold they are. I'd try them.

                • @SlickMick: As above, not knocking the bottom half of the sign, just the top half is in poor taste.

                  • @JimmyF: Yeah It's top half I'm referring to. Suggesting maybe the rolls you're used to eating aren't the best, and you should try the new ones next door. Good advertising IMO if it's true. If it's not, the existing store has nothing to worry about.

                    • @SlickMick: yeah nah, I'll disagree with you. The top part is in poor taste and I would skip a business who has to lower themselves to that standard to get business. Would drive me to use the 'original'.

                      • @JimmyF: yeah you're good mate. We all have our own tolerance levels. What wouldn't work on you does work on me.

                        If more people are like me, it'll turn out to be good advertising. If more people are like you, it'll turn out to be bad advertising.

          • @JimmyF: Then you dont know whats defamatory is if you think it should be put down because it is putting down other businesses.

            Think of Coke vs Pepsi, Telstra vs Optus, Virgin vs Qantas.

        • Yeah, they haven't explicitly referred to any particular business (although its probably implied), its no different from any add showing "ours / theirs", like laundry detergents etc etc.

          Sure, might not be in good taste, smart marketing if you ask me…

        • Why doesn't OP/Hongha put a sign next to that one!

          " Would you prefer the original roll loved by all for decades, or a cheap knock-off ?"

        • Or where there are new customers (that didn't use the original business) coming in

          Making a bigger pie

    • +7 votes

      There is a full stop in the wrong place.

    • Yeah I'm struggling to understand as well.

      I assume it may be around the best roll claims and I would respectfully point the OP to research "puffery." My high school legal studies teacher would be proud.


      Puffery is a term used to describe wildly exaggerated, fanciful or vague claims about a good or service that no one could possibly treat seriously or find misleading. These statements are not considered misleading or deceptive under the ACL.

      Example: A restaurant claims it has the ‘best steaks on earth’ and the ‘tastiest food in town’. The restaurant’s claims can be considered puffery as they are unlikely to mislead customers.

      • You are spot on, I'm glad someone mentioned puffery.

        IMO there is nothing wrong and certainly nothing disgusting about this advertising. (BTW I have degrees in both Business/marketing and Law if that means anything).

        It's good business and healthy competition to point out what your 'points of difference' are and you can be quite outrageous about it (e.g. "We're the best in the world!!"). This is perfectly acceptable advertising. Better and Tastier claims are puffery. The only thing that wouldn't be puffery is if the rolls aren't actually 'bigger' because that is a quantifiable / measurable difference. E.g. Telstra recently took down Optus's advertising that made claims regarding the cellular mobile network because Telstra's was actually measurably bigger.

        As for the the "nothing has changed" part, this is the only mildly questionable claim, but they don't even mention who they are talking about. Yes potentially it is discernible, but what they are saying isn't necessarily bad - they are acknowledging their competition has a good customer base for a long time. If indeed nothing has changed - fine. They are challenging customers to try theirs instead claiming they are better, tastier and bigger. That's allowable.

        Disgusting or defamation would be if they said "Don't eat xyz, they don't meet health regulations" without being able to prove it etc.

    • Do not waste your time & money! Our rolls are Bigger, Better & Tastier

      Strong claim there, if they can stand by it, good on them

      nothing has changed

      Well some ppl hate changes. ie. Ppl still like Big Mac, although there are lot better burgers out there.

    • Who knows, Op has a bug in his arse about it.

      I got up to the word "chain" and went back to the old shop.

  • "Disgusting" is a rather strong word. What about this do you think warrants, or even approaches, this description?

    Lol, image posted by user "hongha". Of course.

    I'm not related to either business

    Are you sure OP?

  • Nothing at all. It's called advertising

  • OP would you care to elaborate on what about the signage is disgusting?

    Is it competition you abhor or signs in general?

  • As a consumer, I'd be more inclined to ignore this place due to that signage.

    Just signals poor taste and form.

  • 30/40 year old roll stale yet? lol

  • It's just negative advertising. I don't like it but I wouldn't bust a nut over it. if you think it's important you haven't got enough to do in your life.

    Who would eat anything other than a HongHa unless you didn't have time to queue? So many banh mi shops have come and gone on that strip but HongHa keeps on going.

    Do the crispy rolls still cut your gums?

  • Is this sign even legal?

    Disregarding what it says, it may need council permit to be on the footpath.

  • Perfectly legal.

    I used to go to Hong Ha when I worked in Mascot more than 20 years ago as did everyone else. Only time you wouldn't is if you were in a rush and couldn't wait. Still haven't had better. I doubt they have anything to worry about. I've never even heard of Destination Roll.

  • +44 votes

    Another example of being offended by literally nothing

  • I think Hong Ha's rolls are $6 each and Destination Roll's are $6.50, so they are "Bigger, Better & Tastier" (subjective) for a reason…

  • You are just giving Destination roll free publicity

    • Destination roll

      Who? Never heard of them. They claim to be the biggest chain in Australia.


    The use of red font on a white background.. the amount of words.. the overall format.. I agree.. disgusting.

  • I'm hungry now

  • Vote with your feet, if you don't like it then don't give them your business.

  • Is that a screenshot of the live view from the camera app?

  • It's not actually legal. The sign likely doesn't have approval under the planning scheme due to it affecting the flow of foot traffic of the public.

    …but what are you going to do about it? Half of Sydney does it. They'll simply wheel it back in and wait a while before using the sign again.

  • +2 votes

    destination roll is straight garbage anyway, just like Roll'd

  • This is your idea of, "disgusting"?

    Is this actually your first day on the internet?

  • +1 vote

    bigger is better, so i'm always told

  • Destination Roll is more popular in the city, they have like 3 branches here? I frequent them only because they are located in CBD north (near offices) and there's not many banh mi choices here lol.

  • to be honest don't like either of them…

    i'm a traditionalist. and have been eating Banh Mi for more than 30 years.

    everyone has their own preferences,