October 4, 2017

I am pleased to be presenting again at the Canadian Society of Association Executive’s (CSAE) National Conference – this year in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I’ll be co-presenting a session this year, with Andrew Schiestel of tbk Creative, on Digital Marketing Strategies and Legal Issues for Associations and Members (from 10:00 to 11:30 on Wednesday, October 25th).

Our presentation will be a practical one focused on digital marketing for associations and their members, divided into two parts.

In the first part, Andrew Schiestel will discuss a number of current digital marketing strategies, which will include web design, e-mail campaigns, content marketing and some of the more modern forms of digital advertising products available.

Then I’ll discuss key digital marketing legal issues that both associations and their members need to know.

The legal part of the session will focus on current digital marketing laws and best practices, including general misleading advertising issues that can arise in the digital world, price claims, getting your headline claims and fine print right, guidelines for endorsements and influencers and online contests and other digital promotions.

While this session will not discuss CASL (anti-spam rules) in detail – we could spend an entire session or sessions on CASL alone – tips will be provided of how CASL issues can arise in some types of digital promotions (i.e., we’ll flag situations when attendees may need to seek CASL specific advice).

The legal discussion will track top priorities of enforcement agencies (e.g., the Competition Bureau and Federal Trade Commission) and self-regulators, such as Advertising Standards Canada (ASC).

These agencies and others are increasingly turning their attention to the digital world, including mobile marketing, social and other digital media (e.g., e-mail and video marketing).

Some of the more specific digital marketing issues that enforcers are focused on, and which associations and their members need to understand, include:

1. Accurate headline claims and disclaimers.

2. Full upfront pricing and drip pricing (failing to disclose the full price upfront).

3. Fake online reviews.

4. Disclosures for online testimonials and endorsements.

5. Influencer advertising.

6. Disclosures for mobile marketing.

7. Online and social media contests (we’ll discuss required disclosures, how to post rules and social media specific issues).

8. CASL (anti-spam rules) (we’ll include a short discussion on when CASL issues can arise in digital marketing campaigns – even where you didn’t expect them).

Some of the penalties paid in recent digital marketing related cases include: $3 million (paid by car rental companies for allegedly engaging in online drip pricing), $1.25 million (paid by Bell for allegedly misleading online testimonials) and $11.82 million (paid by a telecom for allegedly misleading mobile advertising).

Several takeaways for digital marketers from these enforcer priorities and recent cases include:

Disclosures: Important information (e.g., pricing, conditions and limitations, etc.) should be clearly disclosed up front.

Material relationships: If there are material connections to the advertiser (e.g., relationships between an influencer and advertiser), these should also be clearly disclosed upfront.

Media doesn’t matter: The majority of the important advertising rules that we will discuss during this session apply regardless of medium (e.g., whether traditional advertising or campaigns run on social, mobile, e-mail or the web).

Some types of promotions require review of specific rules: For example, CASL (federal anti-spam law) issues can arise in many types of online promotions and require CASL advice. Another example, is online contests, which require specific legal disclosures for the web and social media.

During the legal part of our session, we’ll cover the above topics and others. We’ll also provide attendees with practical guidelines for digital marketing campaigns.



I offer business and individual clients efficient and strategic advice in relation to competition/antitrust, advertising, Internet and new media law and contest law.  I also offer competition and regulatory law compliance, education and policy services to companies, trade and professional associations and government agencies.

My experience includes counseling clients on the application of Canadian competition and regulatory laws and I have worked on hundreds of domestic and cross-border competition, advertising and marketing, promotional contest (sweepstakes), conspiracy (cartel), abuse of dominance, compliance, refusal to deal, pricing and distribution, Investment Canada Act and merger matters. For more information about my competition law services see: competition law services.

To contact me about a potential legal matter see: contact

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    I am a competition and advertising lawyer based in Toronto who blogs on competition and advertising law and interesting legal and policy developments relating to business, white-collar crime, corruption and Internet and new media law.

    I offer business, association, government and individual clients efficient and strategic advice in relation to competition/antitrust, advertising, regulatory and new media law. I also offer compliance, education and policy services.

    My more than 15 years experience includes advising clients on hundreds of domestic and cross-border competition, advertising and marketing, promotional contest/sweepstakes, conspiracy/cartel, abuse of dominance, compliance, refusal to deal and pricing and distribution matters.

    For more information about my services, see here.