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Marketing & Advertising

Marketing & Advertising
Marketing & Advertising

With constant changes in the marketing and advertising industry, businesses today face a host of issues. These range from the unique challenges of advertising on social media and emerging digital platforms to leveraging celebrity and influencer endorsements and utilizing consumer data while protecting privacy. Most importantly, businesses must ensure that product promotions and other consumer touchpoints are effective without creating legal or regulatory risk, consumer complaints or lawsuits.

The Blakes Marketing & Advertising group is here to help. With an industry-leading national practice group, we offer both advisory and dispute resolution services to clients of all sizes and industries. Our lawyers handle a broad range of client advertising and marketing issues, from counsel on compliance matters to transactional work and dispute resolution.

Our lawyers also have cross-disciplinary expertise in related areas such as product compliance, privacy and data protection, and anti-spam to ensure that all of our clients’ promotional campaigns conform to legal requirements.

We advise our clients on the following key areas:

  • Advertising, marketing and promotional campaigns

  • Responding to and initiating advertising complaints

  • Interacting with regulators (including the Competition Bureau and Ad Standards)

  • Advising on advertising regulated products and services, including food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices and alcohol

  • French language and Quebec-specific advertising requirements

  • Product claims and substantiation reviews

  • Consumer protection and e-commerce

  • Loyalty/rewards programs

  • Influencer and digital marketing, including on social media

  • Contest/sweepstakes law

  • Comparative advertising

  • Sponsorship and endorsement campaigns

  • Streaming/broadcasting

  • Anti-spam compliance

  • Privacy and data protection

We represent clients in all industries, including heavily regulated industries that require specialized knowledge and expertise such as telecommunications, media and broadcasting, cannabis and vaping, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, health care, food and agribusiness, cosmetics, retail and consumer products, children’s products, financial services, public sector, education, and e-games/e-sports. We assist clients on the conception of their advertising and marketing ideas to legal and regulatory review, from preparing the necessary talent, agency, joint marketing and other agreements to execution and litigation, if necessary. We regularly interact with government bodies, including the Competition Bureau, Health Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ad Standards Canada, the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board  and various provincial regulators.

Our team is national in scope and includes a substantial presence in our Montréal office, which has extensive experience with both federal and provincial language requirements, Quebec-specific advertising issues and how those requirements apply to different industries. In addition to our lawyers, we have an expert team of legal translators, lawyer-revisors, proofreaders and desktop-publishing specialists.

Recent Experience

Some recent representative matters include acting for:

  • A major multinational food manufacturer on a successful relaunch of most of its food products, including comparative claims on label, in print, on television and online to promote newly reformulated products that included negotiation with Advertising Standards Canada in terms of pre-clearing broadcast ads.
  • Various food, beverage, consumer goods, and health and beauty companies in successfully prosecuting and defending consumer and trade complaints before Advertising Standards Canada.

  • Various companies clearing broadcast advertising through Advertising Standards Canada.

  • A cosmetic and consumer product manufacturer with its marketing and advertising activities, including print and online advertisements, sponsorship agreements and contests.

  • A national loyalty program on a new, innovative advertising concept.

  • Multinational organizations on all aspects of French language requirements in Quebec.

  • A multinational company launching a direct-to-consumer website.

  • A manufacturer and importer to implement a North America-wide product recall of a consumer electrical product.

While we cannot mention matters that we have acted on for confidentiality reasons, a sample of comparative advertising cases in the courts that Blakes has acted on include:

  • Bell Aliant in a successful injunction proceeding against Rogers involving comparative advertising claims.

  • Beatrice Foods Inc. in seeking an injunction to stop the defendant from making certain statements in its advertising campaign (Beatrice Foods Inc. v. Ault Foods Ltd.).

  • Church & Dwight in seeking an injunction to stop advertising by the defendant (Church & Dwight Ltd. v. Sifto Canada Inc.).

  • Forzani Group in defending claims of improper ordinary price advertising under the Competition Act and negotiating a consent agreement with the Commissioner of Competition.

Awards & Recognition

Members of the Blakes Marketing & Health Regulatory team are recognized as leaders in the following publications: 

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada – Advertising & Marketing

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory – Advertising & Marketing

  • Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences

  • Who's Who Legal: Canada – Life Sciences

  • LMG Life Sciences

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada – Advertising & Marketing