Increased number of complaints about bad ads in Canada

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – How often do you hear or see an ad that leaves you questioning the claims it is making?

The latest list of complaints about truth and accuracy in Canadian advertising — or more specifically, a lack of it — has been released by Advertising Standards Canada.

The industry council saw a 10 per cent increase in complaints last year about everything from misleading claims to disparaging, even racist, content.

“Canadians continue to care about the truth and accuracy of advertising,” says Janet Feasby, Vice President, Standards at Ad Standards. “The number of complaints we received in 2017 rose to 1,808, up from 1,639 in 2016.”

Of those, 173 were upheld by the council, involving 46 advertisements — some of them local.

Two Lower Mainland car dealers are on the list, one slapped for not being up front about an apparently not-so-instant win $1,000 gift card. The other was cited for cashback offers not portrayed as the loans they actually are.

Among other upheld complaints, a BC ghost hunter was listed for making claims not supported by competent, scientific evidence.

Some major retail chains were slapped for deceptive pricing practices or misleading product claims.

An association was cited for implying that a naturopathic doctor is equally qualified and entitled as a medical doctor is to provide a “second opinion” on medical conditions.

An automotive service provider ad, which used the word “cracker,” was found to be racist and disparaging.

The complaints were about all types of advertising, including TV, radio, digital, print and even ads sent via text.

Ad Standards says the council is composed of senior advertising industry and public representatives, who volunteer their time to adjudicate consumer complaints under the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.

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