It’s no secret that good advertising and marketing are at the heart of a successful business. Because advertising and marketing are complex areas of law, advertisers and businesses should ensure to comply with legislation in order to avoid exposure to civil and criminal repercussions under the Competition Act.

For more information on how Nadeau Young can assist a business or brand (including a personal brand) advertise products and services, or for assistance in conducting a promotional contest or giveaway, Contact Us.

False or Misleading Representations

The Competition Act prohibits a business from making false or misleading representations to the public. It is of the utmost importance for businesses to review their marketing materials prior to making them public to avoid making any misrepresentative claims. Examples of prohibited representations include misleading or untrue representations related to labelling, prices, testimonials, warranties, guarantees prizes won in a promotional contest and many more.

Consumer protection is a particular area of law that can relate to a company’s advertising and marketing practices. Consumers are individuals who have purchased a good or service for personal use, and Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act protects consumers from the power imbalance between buyer and seller. Under this law, a consumer may have a recourse against a business or seller who provided false information about the product or service offered. Business must be cautious in order to avoid providing any false information about themselves or the product or service they offered. Failing to do so may grant the consumer the right to cancel the contract with the seller within 1 year.

Nadeau Young can review your marketing materials to ensure legality and avoidance of any ambiguity or potential misleading representations, whatever methods your business uses to market itself, including social media, mail-outs, newsletter, broadcasted advertising on radio or television.

Promotional Contests

Promotional contests are some of the most complex marketing methods and should not be conducted without first consulting a lawyer with knowledge of this area of law. A promotional contest gone wrong can lead to civil and criminal consequences.

If a promotional contest is not structured correctly, it may be considered a lottery (for example, if it requires payment to enter and awards a prize randomly). Under the Criminal Code, it is illegal to conduct a lottery without the applicable licenses and registrations. It is important to avoid structuring a contest as a lottery, otherwise you may face criminal charges. Moreover, the Competition Act imposes additional requirements on contest sponsors, including the need to disclose the odds of winning and the value of the prize. Finally, the law of contracts apply, as the rules and regulations of a promotional contest constitute a contract between the sponsor and contest participant. Incorrectly drafted, rules and regulations can lead to a slew of legal issues and open up the sponsor to potential liability.

Keep in mind that the laws apply whether you are a business sponsoring a traditional promotional contest, or a whether you are an influencer doing a social media giveaway. The lawyers at Nadeau Young can assist you with drafting rules and regulations, advertising for the contest, and ensuring legal compliance.

Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

Another important aspect of advertising law is Canada’s anti-spam legislation (also known as CASL), which came into effect in Canada in 2014. The general purpose of CASL is to prohibit businesses from sending Canadians promotional material to Canadians without their consent. CASL applies to newsletters, emails and among others, social media. Where businesses or individuals in Canada use social media to send promotional content to customers, potential customers or other important audiences, it is crucial to understand how to comply with CASL while continuing to maximize marketing efforts.

Contact Us if your business is looking for legal solutions for its advertising and marketing practices.