ASC General News

First Compliance Report on Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative shows Participants Exceed Original Requirements

On July 14th, Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) released its first annual Compliance Report on the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI). The Compliance Report details the progress made by leading food and beverage companies participating in the CAI to change the landscape of children’s food and beverage advertising. Reporting on 2008, the inaugural year of the program, the Report concludes that all of the participating companies fulfilled their program commitments. Only two minor compliance issues were uncovered by ASC. These were inadvertent, and were immediately corrected by the involved Participants.

“Because participation in the CAI is voluntary, we expected a high degree of compliance. This Report demonstrates that the participating companies successfully met the commitments they set for themselves - even exceeding the original program requirements.” noted Linda Nagel, President and CEO of ASC. “There is a desire to put measures in place and to act responsibly when we’re marketing to children in their early years. We congratulate these companies for making this initiative a high corporate priority.”

Of the 16 participating companies, eight did not direct any advertising to children under 12 years of age. The remaining eight all exceeded the CAI’s baseline requirement by committing that 100% of their advertising directed to children under 12 would be for products that met the CAI’s nutrition standards, rather than the minimum 50% required for participation. As well, while the CAI required that products meet at least one of the CAI’s nutrition standards, all advertised products met at least two.

To download the full report, visit

ASC 2009 Q2 Complaints Report Now Online

ASC has released its 2009 Q2 Consumer Complaints Report covering the period from April 1, 2009 to June 30, 2009. The report provides case summaries of consumer complaints about advertising that were upheld by the Consumer Councils under the provisions of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. In its year-end 2008 Ad Complaints Report, ASC noted that with the economic downturn, consumers are becoming more value conscious - comparing prices and searching for deals and discounts. Overall, consumers are scrutinizing advertisements with an increasingly critical eye. This trend is continuing throughout the first half of 2009, as can be seen by many of the upheld complaints in this Q2 Report.

Strength in Members

In this issue of Communiqué, we are introducing a new feature to salute the people and organizations that support advertising self-regulation through membership in ASC.

Randy Otto, President, Pattison Outdoor Advertising and Chair, ASC Board of Directors

2009 annual report Since joining ASC in 2004, Pattison Outdoor Advertising and its President, Randy Otto are making a positive contribution to the work we do, helping ensure that advertising self-regulation remains current and responsive.

Randy Otto has spent his advertising career helping build Pattison Outdoor Advertising into the largest out-of-home advertising company in Canada. He joined Pattison in 1976 and in 1985 he rose to the position of Vice-President and General Manager for the company’s Prairie Region, based in Calgary. For four years, he served as Senior Vice-President, Business Operations of Ripley Entertainment Inc., another Pattison company.

In 2004, Randy returned to Out-of-Home as President of Pattison Outdoor Advertising, based in Oakville, Ontario. Alongside his work with The Jim Pattison Group, Randy contributes actively to the advertising industry through board positions with The Canadian Outdoor Measurement Bureau, the Out-of-Home Marketing Association of Canada and Advertising Standards Canada (ASC).

Randy’s role is hands-on when it comes to his involvement with ASC serving as a Director, a past representative on our Consumer Response Council and in April this year, he was elected 2009-2010 Chair of ASC. “Making a contribution to my community and my industry are important drivers in my career,” says Randy. “Working with ASC enables me to contribute to industry self-regulation and helps outdoor advertising keep up-to-date with responsible standards. It’s a win-win scenario for Pattison and for effective advertising self-regulation.” ASC’s strength lies in the ongoing support and commitment of our members and volunteers who generously donate their time, expertise and resources. We are stronger for the contribution of Randy Otto and membership of Pattison Outdoor Advertising.

ASC Clearance News

ASC Clearance Services Spring Workshops Receive Rave Reviews

ASC Clearance Services completed an ambitious spring program of educational workshops and seminars spanning three areas of advertising clearance - cosmetics, food, and drug. The workshops were attended by close to 200 clearance clients and ASC members in both Toronto and Montreal.

Held in collaboration with the Canadian Cosmetics Toiletries and Fragrances Association (CCTFA), participants attending the cosmetic workshop reviewed the recent changes to Health Canada’s Guidelines for Cosmetic Advertising and Labelling Claims and worked through examples of advertising in this category.

At the drug advertising workshop, participants used ASC’s DTCA Rx Checklist and DTCI Guide to evaluate messages in these categories. Developed by ASC Clearance Services, these planning tools are useful to anyone with responsibility for communications in this area. Commenting on the session, one participant noted “I would recommend it to anyone involved in direct-to-consumer advertising or communication of prescription products.” To download the Checklist and the Guide, visit our web site. This introductory workshop will be repeated in 2010, so watch our events calendar for dates.

The Toronto ABCs of Food Advertising workshop drew more than 70 marketers, regulatory and agency professionals. Focussing on the regulatory framework for food and non-alcoholic beverage advertising, ASC Clearance Services analysts reviewed the key sections of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising and provided examples of compliant and non-compliant claims in this sector. This workshop is being held in Montreal on September 24th.

Upcoming ASC Events

September 24, 2009 Montreal

The ABC’s of Food Advertising - An introduction to Food Advertising Regulations presented in French by ASC Clearance Services. Click here to learn more and to register.

Planning is underway for our ASC and ASC Clearance Services Fall 2009 program or workshops and seminars. Watch our events calendar for postings.

Upcoming Industry events and courses

Check Out Upcoming Industry Events & Courses

ICA Professional development workshops and courses
ACA Fall Courses
CMA Events

Did you Know

Consumers Recognize the Economic Benefits of Advertising

A 2009 Nielsen survey commissioned by the World Federation of Advertisers shows that the vast majority of the world’s consumers see advertising playing a key role in the economy: 80% believe that advertising helps create jobs, 72% say advertising contributes to economic growth and 68% believe it helps reduce prices by stimulating competition. To learn more, read the full survey, at

Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) is the national not-for-profit advertising industry self-regulatory body committed to creating and maintaining community confidence in advertising. ASC administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, the principal instrument of advertising self-regulation in Canada, and a national mechanism for accepting and responding to consumers’ complaints about advertising. ASC members include leading advertisers, advertising agencies, and media organizations.