Ad Standards launched a newly redesigned clearance services check mark logo to convey that the tool with the logo is trustworthy and complete.
Ad Standards launched a newly redesigned clearance services checkmark in October 2020. This was anticipated as the organization had announced the upcoming logo in December 2019. The newly redesigned logo can be affixed to advertising materials that have been reviewed and cleared by the Ad Standards reviewers.
Background on Ad Standards
Ad Standards works to ensure that Canadian advertisers in all industries abide by the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. Their goal is to promote “truthful, fair and accurate” advertising practices.
Although Ad Standards Clearance Services reviews advertisements from non-healthcare industries, it does play a major role in reviewing and clearing certain health product advertisements and information pieces as well. For example, Ad Standards is responsible for reviewing and clearing consumer-directed non-prescription drug advertising, natural health product advertising, vaccine advertising, medical device adverting, prescription drug direct-to-consumer-advertising (DTCA) and direct-to-consumer-information (DTCI).
As such, the new Ad Standards checkmark logo can be included on advertisements that are reviewed and cleared in five regulated categories, including health product advertisements and disease state information pieces. Note that the use of the logo is optional to the advertiser; it is not mandatory.
Nonetheless, this casts a large net over a variety of messages that will be made visible to the general public, therefore increasing the chances of the general public becoming familiar with the clearance logo and its meaning. This includes healthcare professionals as well, as they also get exposed to advertisements for the general public.
Discussion with Catherine Bate, Chief Legal and Policy Officer at Ad Standards
I had the opportunity to discuss the rationale and the motivation behind the new checkmark logo with Catherine Bate, the Chief Legal and Policy Officer at Ad Standards. Here are some highlights of our discussion;
Will the launch of the new logo be accompanied by a promotional campaign to either HCPs or consumers?
Catherine: “The newly redesigned checkmark logo will be supported by an outreach campaign to the general public in Canada. We started off by informing our members and general press, and we will follow this up with consumer communications likely in the new year through a consumer campaign. There will not be a specific campaign directed to healthcare professionals as that they will be exposed to our campaign as they receive general public advertisements like anybody else would.”
What should healthcare professionals know about Ad Standards?
Catherine: “Ad Standards is Canada’s national self-regulatory body for the advertising industry. We would want healthcare professionals to know that our mandate is to foster confidence in consumer-directed advertising and to promote truthful, fair and accurate advertising. The advertisement copy and creative go through our experienced analysts and are reviewed under the laws, regulations, and Health Canada policy documents that govern these sectors. Once the health product advertisement or information piece has been reviewed and cleared, the checkmark represents compliance with these regulatory requirements.”
What should it mean to an HCP when the PAAB logo is affixed to promotional information about health products?
Catherine: “We hope to encourage confidence for consumers who see that advertising, including healthcare professionals, as they are members of the general public, to know that the ad has been vetted through our expert review. We want healthcare professionals, patients and consumers to see the Ad Standards checkmark on health product advertisements and to know that this checkmark means that they can trust that the promotion is compliant with the Health Canada requirements under applicable law, and therefore trustworthy.”
Why did Ad Standards change their preclearance logo?
Catherine: “The reason for redesigning the preclearance Ad Standards logo was motivated by the need to have a better tool for digital advertising. The previous logo we had available to advertisers was larger so it took up a lot of space in digital advertisements such as banners and other online ad blocks. Not everything has enough real estate so a smaller logo and digital bug was needed. And it is important to provide the general public with confidence in the advertisements that they see. Results from an Ad Standards research that was done in 2018 showed that 96% of consumer said it was very or somewhat important to have rules and regulations to govern Canadian advertisements, and 84% said they were reassured that the ads had received the review by Ad Standards.”
Who is the creative genius behind the new logo?
Catherine: “Anderson DDB was the agency that partnered with Ad Standards to create the logo.”