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Advertising Standards Canada issues 2016 report

Toronto-based Advertising Standards Canada has released its annual ad complaints report for 2016. The report provides information about consumer complaints submitted to the organization last year for review under the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. According to the report, 1,639 complaints were submitted about 1,237 advertisements in 2016. Of these, 264 complaints about 222 ads were investigated. Of those, 178 complaints about 171 ads were administratively resolved by the organization, while 44 complaints about 30 ads were upheld by the standards councils and 42 complaints about 21 ads were not upheld by the standards councils. Fifty-nine percent of the pursued complaints alleged inaccurate or misleading advertising. The retail sector was most often the subject of complaints, producing 225.

"Canadian consumers continue to express concerns to ASC about accuracy in advertising," said Janet Feasby, vice-president of standards at Advertising Standards Canada. "Each year since 2013, ASC has seen a rise in the number of complaints administratively resolved by ASC staff under [its accuracy and clarity] clause. This is largely due to the vigilance of consumers, who often spot and report simple errors, primarily in retail ads. In these cases, ASC is able to swiftly resolve the issue without going to council, as advertisers appreciate the opportunity to quickly correct mistakes."

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