Thursday, May 12, 2011

Canadian Advertising Standards

These ads have all run across Canada for many consumers to see - but are they really appropriate advertising? According the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards ( some of these advertisements may not be holding up to Canada's regulations.

Dawn Animals Commercial

This commercial may have violated clause one of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, Accuracy and Clarity. From the statistics displayed (Dawn has saved thousands of animals in oil spills), the commercial is making the statement that Dawn is so gentle they can use it on animals, but in reality, as a consumer, I am not really sure that Dawn is the best thing for animals. The commercial implies that Dawn has some life-saving formula and is so helpful, but really it is just a dish soap. I don't think this ad has gone as far as violating the code though because it does not make false claims so much as oversimplify the truth.

Scotiabank Commercial

This commercial comes close in violating clause four, Bait and Switch, and clause five, Guarantees. The ad talks about joining Scotiabank and getting a free flight, but as we know, no giveaways are ever that easy. At the end of the ad, a voiceover quickly explains some conditions to the free flight, but this part is short and quick while distracting the audience with bright and colourful text. Although this ad does not directly violate the code, it uses the ever-ambiguous line "some conditions may apply" which doesn't really give the consumer all the necessary information, and leaves us thinking the deal is better than it may actually be.


The ad may violate Accuracy and Clarity, which is clause one in the code. It claims that Rogers is Canada's "most reliable" network, but what does that really mean? How can you define reliable? It also makes the claim of "best surfing," but again, that term is so unclear. I think the ad actually does violate the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards because if they claim to be something that can't actually be explained, that can be seen as a false claim. The truthfulness of the message is very distorted and not forthright, so it is essentially tricking the consumer and creating an illusion without a definite meaning.

Ellen Tracy Trench

I think advertisement definitely is close to violating clause fourteen, Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals. By having two tall and thin women wearing nothing but a trench coat, with one flashing a gaping man, this ad is extremely distasteful. Clause fourteen recognizes that distasteful are not necessarily a violation, but this ad could be classfied as demeaning towards women. It objectifies women and creates stereotyped gender roles of men judging women for their body. It directly implies that naughtiness is associated with wearing this coat, and the action of the naked woman is clear. The ad is not appropriate to be seen by younger audiences, and because of its degrading representation of women, it comes very close to violating clause fourteen.

American Apparel Socks

I have no doubt that this ad violates clause fourteen, Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals, for similar reasons to the Ellen Tracy Trench. It features a woman wearing nothing but socks, and the pictures of her on the left of the image give somewhat of a porn feeling to the ad. The ad seems like it is selling more than just socks - also the career of an adult film actor! It goes past the point of distasteful because it is also degrading towards women and provides an offensive representation of how women are viewed and clearly objectifies Lauren Phoenix, the star of the ad.

Dolce and Gabbana

So far I would say that this ad is the most inappropriate of the one's on the blog, once again violating clause fourteen. It features a group of strong and shirtless women standing over a woman in a powerful position. This implies sexual dominance of the men and victimizes the woman. Not only does it objectify woman, but it also condones gang rape and the powerlessness of women in comparison to men. This is an example of violating clause fourteen, Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals because it represents women in an unfair way and promotes violence against us, and therefore is not acceptable ad to run in Canada.

Nike Ads
Though the first Nike ad is not visually inappropriate, the copy on it is ignorant and prejudiced, violating clause fourteen, which seems to be violated often because of its open-ended rules. In this ad, it says that going to watch your son in the ballet is bad, because boys should be doing "masculine activities," like playing soccer with the shoes being advertised. This is extremely offensive to all men who are not stereotypically "masculine," saying there is something wrong with them. In this day and age I thought society was moving forward in losing stereotyped gender roles, but this ad goes ahead to violate clause fourteen, proving that intolerant still exists. The second Nike ad is similar in its message, showing an implied sexual scene between two men and saying that it is "not right." I do not think this ad goes as far as to break the code since the message is extremely well-hidden, but still has something wrong about it. This ad is only distasteful for its subconcious message against being gay, but unfortunately I think it would be hard to prosecute against as breaking the code on clause fourteen.

Burger King Seven Incher

Some would say this ad comes close to violating clause fourteen, Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals, because of its underlying sexual messages. Compared to the second Nike ad, this ad's sexual connotations were very obvious, pointed out immediately by the image, the slogan, and the name of the sandwich. This ad doesn't discriminate against women in the same way or level as the Dolce and Gabbana ad, but does in some ways make them out as sexual objects. This ad would be hard to prove as violating the code because even though it is distasteful, the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards clearly states that offensiveness is not always enough to ban an ad from being shown across the country.

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  1. I have noticed a fast decline lately of in your face degrading, demeaning advertising. We all know how popular sex is, but the vast overindulgence of advertisers to try to drag unsuspecting victims into their pornographic cortex, has become overwhelming. I am trying to do my part for all women and families who want to drive down a roadway or listen to the radio, or television without being slammed by degrading portrayals of women.