5 Tip Tuesday: Don't Get Sued

Business owners often believe that because they are promoting their goods or services with the best of intentions, they needn't worry about the law; however, the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards lays out strict rules about what can and cannot be done through advertising. This week, we’re going to tell you five of the rules that could save you from getting SUED.

1. Don’t say anything is guaranteed

Unless you’re able to give the conditions, limits and guarantor’s name in the ad, you can be accused of false advertising.

2. Testimonials must be a general consensus

Maybe you have one die-hard fan who tweeted something nice about your concert, but you haven’t received much other positive feedback. You can’t use that one tweet to vouch for your abilities. If a newspaper or online critic, however, does write a good review about your show, that clip is fine to be used because it was written for the general public – not just for his friends and family. 

3. Don’t play upon your audience’s fears

Advertising Standards Canada knows that fear can be a motivator, but doesn't want advertisers and business owners like you to use it excessively. Don't create an advertising campaign centered on a slogan like, “You will die.” This is a fact, but it sounds like a threat. Not only will the ASC be on you, but you might get some angry calls.

4. Be upfront about your commercial intent

You may have started your tutoring service because you think that the educational system sucks, but don’t pretend that you only did it for the children. If you only mentioned that, I might think you’re a charity rather than a business that, as much as it wants to help kids, also needs to make a profit.

5. Don’t ask for a cheap laugh

Though being tongue-and-cheek is okay for the ASC, sexism or racism is not. Be careful that your ad is witty and not degrading to any group of people.

Promoting one’s business is hard enough, so make sure you don’t provoke a lawsuit.

Check out the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards to learn more about the boundaries of advertising.

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