Following complaints lodged by the Weight Coalition, the Quebec Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC; Consumer Protection Bureau) has taken legal action against various companies. These proceedings have all ended in guilty pleas.
Sponsorship and Fanta product placement by Coca-Cola, in a waterpark at La Ronde
Date: October 2015
Illegal advertising directed at children: Advertising directing to persons under 13 yeas, in a water play area, the “Fanta Zone”, located at the amusement park La Ronde.
Impact of guilty plea: The games in the “Fanta Zone” playground were orange, as the Coca-Cola carbonated drink, and we could see the Fanta logo. The spokesman for Coca-Cola Canada, who collaborated with the OPC (Consumer Protection Bureau), explained that the area was originally for an adult audience. The company has long been committed not to promote its products to children and takes that commitment very seriously. The site has since been modified in accordance the law.
Coca-Cola Ltée has paid fines for a total amount of $27,664.
Television advertisement for Maple Leaf Top Dogs hotdogs
Date: June 19, 2012
Illegal advertising directed at children: TV advertisement for Top DogsTM hotdogs broadcast on Teletoon during the program “Hot Wheels Battle Force 5”.
Impact of guilty plea: As the Teletoon channel has its head office in Ontario, this was the first guilty plea to recognize that the prohibition on advertising to children applies even when the broadcaster is based outside Quebec. It confirmed also that non-Quebec companies that advertise in Quebec must comply with the laws in force in the province.
Maple Leaf Foods was found guilty on five charges and fined $10,000.
McDonald’s Avertising in Program Ciné-Cadeau
Date: July 20, 2009
Prohibited advertising directed at children: Passages of self-advertising during the program Ciné-Cadeau and advertising for the product “Poulet McCroquettes MD” (Chicken McNuggets TM).
Impact: McDonald’s reputation and the fact that it pleaded guilty made it possible to give the case a high visibility despite the start of the summer break. This specific case allowed drawing attention to the importance of the provisions of the Quebec Consumer Protection Act that prohibit advertising to children.
Burger King Free Toy
Date: May 8, 2009
Prohibited advertising directed at children: Advertising messages accompanying toy figurines given to children with the purchase of a meal.
Impact: First restaurant chain to recognize that it was advertising by associating its image with toy figurines given to children with the purchase of a meal.
General Mills Lucky Charms Sweetened Cereals Website
Date: February 25, 2009
Prohibited advertising directed at children: Invitation on boxes of Lucky Charms sweetened cereals to visit the product’s website, which contained advertising, games and animated cartoons intended for children.
Impact: First guilty plea recognizing that the prohibition on advertising to children applies to the Web: dissuasive effect on the industry bringing about changes in practices on certain websites, based on a review carried out by the Coalition before and after the case.
Igor Muffin Promotion Campaign by Saputo
Date: January 26, 2009
Prohibited advertising directed at children: Distribution of promotional bags containing promotional items (CD, posters, stickers, Igor muffins and discount coupons) to promote Igor muffins in more than 230 Quebec childcare centres in early 2007.
Impact: First guilty plea since adoption in 1978 of the provisions of the Quebec Consumer Protection Act that prohibit advertising directed at children under 13 years of age and confirmation that the scope of the law covers promotional items associated with a brand.
P2P Promotion Publicité
Date: April 29, 2009
Prohibited advertising directed at children: Organization of the Saputo Igor muffin advertising campaign.
Impact: First advertising agency to plead guilty in connection with an advertising campaign of the sort directed at children under 13 years of age. Gained awareness by advertisers of their responsibility regarding children’s health.