Hockey, Marketing & Competition Law: Competition Commissioner Breakfast

What do CMA, hockey, and Canada’s Competition Commissioner have in common? Last week, CMA members and guests got the chance to witness Canada’s Competition Commissioner referee a hockey game! Whistle in hand and wearing the zebra stripes, John Pecman urged his Toronto audience to “compete to win and to play fair”.

Alright, so it wasn’t really a hockey game that CMA members attended, but a breakfast event where the Commissioner screened a short video that used a hockey analogy to promote and educate marketers on fair competitive market practices. The clip is available here along with his comments from that morning.  

Here are some of the key takeaways from the Commissioner’s speech:

  • Consumers are now spending 25% of their time on mobile.
  • Mobile ad revenue grew by 66% in 2015.
  • There is a crucial link between competition and advertising: advertising educates and engages consumers about their choices. But companies have to ‘play fair’.
  • Marketers are cautioned against using drip pricing, an advertising technique that promotes a price without taking into consideration additional fees, taxes, or charges, thereby making the real price much higher. Two companies were recently investigated for using drip pricing and were fined $3 million for false or misleading advertising, plus another $250,000 to cover the Bureau’s investigation costs.
  • Astroturfing, or fake online reviews are against Canada’s competition laws, and can also attract high monetary penalties from the Bureau.  

To learn more about how to Canada’s competition laws apply to your business, check out these helpful resources:

Guides and other resources on the Competition Bureau’s website

Cases mentioned

Building a compliance program

Guidelines by Advertising Standards Canada

  • The Canadian Code of Advertising Standards
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Tags: advertising standards, canada, competition law, casl, competition commissioner