February 2020
Ad Standards News and Updates
In Advertising, What Stands the Test of Time?

A live look at Ad Standards' Toronto Boardroom
The core of what we do on behalf of the industry is help build consumer trust in advertising, handle consumer complaints, offer ad consultations related to the Code , provide preclearance for ads in regulated categories and partner on industry initiatives when self-regulation is a viable solution.

We too are adapting to a changing ad industry landscape and change brings new opportunities to evolve and improve what we do.

How are we changing?

By being more nimble, responsive and adjusting our approach and resources to adapt to the speed of industry change. Canada is one of 50 countries with a co-regulatory system, with the ad industry applying self-regulatory guidelines in conjunction with existing government regulations. Keeping pace with, and our sights on, what is happening beyond our borders is paramount. We are part of the International Council for Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS) and we both respond and ask questions to our colleagues about data and information on advertising issues. Being part of an international group of like bodies – 50 in total allows us to draw upon diverse resources, note trends and work together on global advertising self-regulation.
Bernbach’s quote has stood the test of time as has Ad Standards' use of "Truthful, Fair & Accurate". What is changing is how Canadians interpret the words. Truisms are foundational yet truths are evolving based on generational, cultural and geographical mores.

We are a bellwether for Canadians’ changing concerns and opinions. Consumer complaints do not differentiate between media platforms, which could be digital or social media driven, but focus more on the message. In our soon-to-be-released Complaints Report, spoiler alert, there are more complaints. In particular, there has been an uptick of concern around special interest groups, advocacy groups and shock-style advertising to grab attention. The election year also contributed to the debate. As Canadian norms evolve, so do the types of complaints we receive. Ad Standards' name in French is Normes de la publicité – norm status quos aren’t status quo.

While this advertising icon's quote has not aged especially well, the sentiment still resonates.

“The consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife.” - David Ogilvy
Ad Standards' role is not to judge, nor arrest freedom of speech, and Canadians’ ad complaints are not facile. Addressing them requires careful consideration and due diligence, which we apply to each complaint individually. Our complaint process is also supported by panels filled with industry and public volunteers – they are our unsung heroes.

Preclearance → Less Complaints

Advertising that is precleared runs less risk of generating consumer complaints as they have gone through a consultative process. No advertiser, agency or media benefits from ads that create backlash – unless that is the intent.

Ad Standards now offers a similar service to our members for ads that don’t fall into the preclearance categories: children’s, food and non-alcoholic beverages, alcohol, cosmetics and health products. We can help in the early stages of campaign creation, as advertising and messaging is being created or adapted, and offer our expertise we are here for you.

Changing Landscape

Three years ago, upon receiving complaints that indicated consumer unease with certain Influencer Marketing practices, we brought together Influencer Marketing companies and suggested they create disclosure guidelines for the benefit of the entire industry. Today, the need remains. Up front disclosure of any form of material connection is best. Clear and conspicuous disclosure is the law and expected by the Competition Bureau.

Ad Standards continues to support the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI), a voluntary initiative by leading Canadian food and beverage companies to promote and support healthy dietary choices to children under 12 years of age. Since its inception in 2007, we have seen participants change their advertising and reformulate products to comply with standards set through this industry-led initiative. Last year, we saw Bill S-228 come and go. In the interim, CAI remains active and strong.

In 2020, Ad Standards will focus on key efficiencies, and on being more responsive, which will be helped by a much-needed overhaul of our technology systems.

Also, as we ensure our board is representative of the industry, we have an opportunity to be more diverse and better reflect the market.

We cannot do this without you and together we will shape 2020 - your voice is important.

And to complete the triptych of quotes:
Margie Warrell, an Australian author of the book “Brave”, spoke of the great acts of bravery during the devastating fires. To paraphrase Margie:
“We are all influential catalysts for change and so do something brave, take a risk and live bravely.”

2020 is a new decade, a fresh beginning and our collective eustress can keep change happening for the good.
-Jani Yates, President & CEO, Ad Standards
Congratulations to Nancy Marcus!
Nancy Marcus, CMO at Kruger Products and Chair of the Ad Standards Board, has announced she will be retiring in March 2020.

Nancy is one of Canada’s most accomplished and influential marketers, and has been an invaluable member of the Ad Standards team for many years. It is impossible to overstate the positive impact her career has had on the future of both marketing and advertising self-regulation in Canada.

“I must have done something right to have Nancy as Ad Standards’ chair, a mentor and friend,” said   Jani Yates, President and CEO, Ad Standards.

We’d like to share our most sincere appreciation of her efforts and wish her the absolute best in her future endeavors!

Influencer Marketing Alert
Influencer marketing has hit the radar of the Competition Bureau. On December 19, 2019, the Competition Bureau (Bureau) sent warning letters to almost one hundred brands and marketing agencies about compliant influencer marketing. The Bureau advises that marketers review their current practices to ensure they comply with applicable law. Through this additional round of education and outreach, the Bureau is allowing one further window for those engaged in influencer marketing to brush up on their compliance efforts. 

This is not a new area of concern for the regulator. The Bureau has long identified the digital economy as a priority area for enforcement, and first reported about influencer marketing in The Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest – Volume 4 , where they provided checklists and resources to be used by influencers and advertisers alike. Included among the resources cited by the Bureau in this document were guidelines developed by Ad Standards.

Ad Standards has been at the forefront of providing practical compliance tools in Canada, through the Influencer Marketing Steering Committee’s Disclosure Guidelines. These Guidelines provide industry with best practices and address many of the key concerns identified by the Bureau as potentially lacking in certain influencer or advertiser practices. Over the year to come, watch for updates to these guidelines, educational outreach, and other tools from Ad Standards to help practitioners understand what is required to comply with both the legal and self-regulatory frameworks governing this area.
Hold the Date
Code Intro Seminar

Members of the Standards team will be holding seminars to help industry members better understand how the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards is applied, show how to navigate the Consumer Complaints Procedure , provide insights on the 2019 Ad Complaints Report and cases adjudicated by Standards Council. Sessions will be held on Monday, April 20, in Toronto and Wednesday, April 22, in Montreal. More information coming soon at adstandards.ca/events .

Ad Standards' 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM)

We'll be holding our AGM on Thursday, April 30, a t The Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto. Stay tuned for more information.
AToMiCon 2020
March 3 | Arcadian Court, Toronto

Step up your 2020 content marketing game at AToMiCon. Ad Standards members save $230 (over 40%) off regular registration rates.

Once again, Ad Standards is proud to partner with Strategy magazine’s annual content marketing conference, AToMiCon, which brings together experts from all sides of the marketing and media industries.

The 2020 agenda will include an Influencer Marketing 2.0 panel hosted by Ad Standards, as well as sessions by some of Canada’s top organizations that excel in the content marketing space: Bud Light, Hershey’s, Tokyo Smoke, KOHO, Swoop Airlines, Quebec Tourism and more.

Take a deep-dive into best-in-class content programs and audience-building strategies, get briefed on the latest research, trends and guidelines in the content marketing field and hear real brand stories and tips for perfecting your 2020 content strategy.

Ad Standards members should contact randy.sageman@adstandards.ca for their discount registration code.
NABS Offers Us A Daily Mental Wellness Reminder
The recent Bell Let’s Talk Day was their most successful day on record with 154,387,425 social media interactions, resulting in a donation of $7,719,371.25 to mental health initiatives around the country.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, more than 500,000 Canadians are unable to go to work due to mental health problems. NABS supports the health and well-being of individuals in our industry by providing confidential and professional assistance. This could include personal and financial counselling, and career coaching, to name a few. NABS has also partnered with Dr. Joti Samra, R. Psych., to bring us a helpful mental wellness resource that can be used every day! Their Re-Train Your Brain – Mental Health Series includes short videos with supporting documents that include topics such as gratitude, thinking traps, sleep hygiene and more. This series not only provides us with tools for a healthier outlook, it encourages us to share this great resource with colleagues, family and friends. At Ad Standards, we encourage a working environment that supports the overall mental well-being of our employees – and NABS helps us reach that goal.
Welcome to New Ad Standards Members and Official Representatives
Official Representative: Marie-Christine Toupin, Manager, Advertising

Formed in 2013, AbbVie is a global research and development-based biopharmaceutical company involved in four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. AbbVie’s has 28,000 employees in more than 75 countries.
Anderson DDB Health and Lifestyle
Official Representative: Kevin Brady, President, CEO

For over 40 years, Anderson DDB Health and Lifestyle has worked with North American consumer and healthcare companies to develop their campaigns. Anderson DDB has donated significant resources to Ad Standards communication efforts and Kevin has served on the Ad Standard Board since 2014.
Official Representative: Aldo Cundari, CEO

For 38 years, Cundari has operated as an independent, integrated agency with full-service offices in Toronto and Montreal.
Official Representative: Yuri Machado, Healthcare Lead

Healthing.ca is a new source for verified healthcare information. Supported by healthcare institutions, patient groups, industry researchers, physicians and more, healthing.ca provides trusted content on the health issues and illnesses that affect us all.
Oromo Digital Group Inc.
Official Representative: Ken Stopay, President and CEO

Oromo Digital Group is a digital healthcare agency that supports pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Oromo has offices in Toronto and San Francisco. 
Sleep Country Canada
Official Representative: Sonia Draper, Director of Marketing

Sleep Country is a mattress and bedding retailer that operates under two retail banners: "Sleep Country Canada" in English Canada and "Dormez-vous?" in Quebec. Sleep Country has over 275 corporate-owned stores and 16 distribution centres across Canada. Sleep Country recently acquired "Endy", an online mattress-in-a-box retailer. 
Membership Renewal 2020
2020 member renewal fees are due! Ad Standards would like to send out a big "thank you" to all of our members who have already renewed their 2020 membership and continue to support responsible and effective advertising self-regulation.

If you have any questions about membership or your renewal, please contact Randy Sageman, Director, Member Relations, at randy.sageman@adstandards.ca or 416 961-6311 x 241.
Did You Know?
There are a number of resources available for Ad Standards Members:

  • Educational Events - Ad Standards hosts forums, workshops, seminars and supports other industry events to raise awareness of emerging advertising industry news and trends. Frequently, we are able to offer discounted (or complimentary) registration for our members to such events. Check out our Event Calendar periodically to stay abreast of available opportunities.
  • Coffee? - We’re always eager to catch-up, learn and share information. Please don’t hesitate to reach out about booking a meeting or presentation.
  • Resources - Use Ad Standards’ extensive online library as a one-stop repository of information regarding advertising industry self-regulation. In addition to Ad Complaints Reports and the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards and related documents, you will also find Ad Standards consumer research, current guidelines and important information pertaining to advertising preclearance.
Ad Standards Member Logo
We encourage Ad Standards members to use our specially designed Membership Logo in their communications materials. Using this logo is an easy way to enhance consumer trust in your ads, as our Consumer Research indicated that a majority of Canadians (84%) are more likely to trust advertisements from Ad Standards members.

Contact Randy Sageman for access to the logo.
Ad Standar ds | 416-961-6311 | info@adstandards.ca