The Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC) lacks sufficient resources to monitor constantly the food industry. That is the reason why, since 2006, the Weight Coalition has taken on the task of reporting practices that are in apparent breach of the law. Here is an overview of complaints lodged to date.

In addition, the Weight Coalition lists the guilty pleas registered by the OPC.

In 2017

McDonald's (mascot Ronald McDonald at the SSQ Marathon in Longueuil)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • McDonald’s’s fast-food restaurant is of great interest to children.
  • A mascot attracts children. Besides the fact that the brand mascot is famous , the “feature M of the mark, recognized by the majority of children from a young age, is clearly visible on the front of the mascot costume as shown in the the pictures below, available on the Facebook page of the SSQ Marathon of Longueuil.
  • On May 22, 2016, mascot Ronald McDonald ran with the children during the 1 km race, which is exclusively for them.

Please note: a new edition of the SSQ Marathon in Longueuil will take place on May 21.

OPC’s response: Upcoming.

Coca-Cola (Holiday Seasons igloo at Carrefour Laval)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as Coca-Cola, are products of great interest to children.
  • The ludic aspect of launching artificial snow to each other in a giant transparent igloo inevitably attracts children. Beyond the attraction of the igloo itself, the Christmas decorations around it also appealed to the youngest. There were penguins wearing scarves featuring a small bottle of Coca-Cola, small Christmas trees trimmed with cola cans as ornaments, polar bears and bear babies, penguin babies, small benches, etc. In addition to cans of sugar-sweetened beverages, the logo and brand name were ubiquitous on the promotion site, as shown in the pictures below. They were found in particular on the side of the igloo, on panels in front of the Holiday decorations which surrounded it, on the door of the igloo, both on the outside and on the inside of the door. Three employees with the brand’s sweater and sleeveless coat ran the advertising activity. One of them questioned the people walking around the igloo, stating that it was “an activity to take 360 degrees pictures with children”. Participants were then informed that this photo souvenir would be sent by email. Finally, around the counter where participants gave their names and emails to receive the photo, there was placement of Coca-Cola products and images presenting them as a Christmas gift.
  • The giant igloo was located in the heart of the Carrefour Laval, a shopping mall heavily frequented by families, which offered a broad visibility to the brand. Considering its central location in the mall, the adertisement reached as much the children, who actually participated in the game and were going to play in the igloo, as those circulating in the Carrefour Laval and questioning their parents about the nature of the activity.

OPC’s response: Upcoming.

In 2016

McDonald's Restaurants (screen advertising of Happy Meal and its accompanying toys)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The toys, as well as the children’s Happy MealMD, are intended for young children and of great interest to them.
  • Children can relate to the presentation on the big screen a short cartoon, featuring the characters associated to toys accompanying the Happy Meal, here the Ninja Turtles and Hello Kitty. The cartoon is gradually transformed into a real one, focusing on the toys the child can get. The smiling Happy MealMD box whirling at the center of toys also captures their attention. As it appears on the screen, it is no longer a simple packaging entitled to an exception, but akin to a character. Finally, the commercial accompanying the childish visual highlights the fact that there are 16 different toys to get and that one of them is offered with every Happy MealMD. This advertisement is a direct incentive to quickly return to the restaurant to eat another Happy MealMD and thus get the entire collection (the offers being for a limited time), or to claim the purchase, in addition to meals, of the other available toys.
  • The McDonald’s clientele is made up of a large number of children who are inevitably in contact with the screen advertising, awaiting the time of ordering and receiving of it. The size and height of the screen provides broad visibility to all customers.

OPC’s response: Upcoming.

Kellogg's (promotion of a free spoon on cereal boxes)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Sweet cereals, where the promotion of the free personalized spoon is featured on the box, are highly appealing to children. The offer of the personalized free spoon is also very attractive to them.
  • Occupying third of the front of the cereal box, the promotional offer of Kellogg’s free personalized spoon is an essential part of the packaging. This Kellogg’s promotion encourages children to demand the purchase of Kellogg’s cereals.
  • Many children accompany their parents to the supermarket, a place often frequented by children under the age of 13. In addition to occupying a large space on the shelves due to the generalization of the promotion of the Kellogg’s free personalized spoon on several kinds of sweetened cereals of this brand, the cereal boxes where the advertisement appears are at the eye level of children and are easily accessible.

Kellogs-1 Kellogs-2

OPC’s response: Upcoming.

McDonald's (logo display on a game kit available at checkouts)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The kit includes an emoticon mask, stickers to place on the mask to create different facial expressions and coloring artwork, which is of great interest to children.
  • As shown in the pictures below, the emoticon mask, stickers and coloring board are clearly identified by the logos of McDonald’s, the Happy Meal and the Ronald McDonald House. The emoticon mask, as well as the stickers and coloring artwork, are designed to appeal to children.
  • The kit is freeely available at the cashiers, at the restaurant located in St-Basile-le-Grand, making it a catchy incentive for children.

macdotrousse-1 macdotrousse-2 macdotrousse-3 macdotrousse-4 macdotrousse-5

OPC’s response: Processing.

Restaurant La Cage aux sports (display of the restaurant's logo in the games and activities' booklet handed out to children)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • As shown in the restaurant La Cage aux Sports games and activivities’ booklet, games and activities identified by the restaurant’s logo are highly popular among children and of great interest to them.
  • As the shown in the pictures below, the 10-page activity booklet is identified by the logo of the restaurant La Cage aux Sports on the cover page and on pages 2, 3 and 9. By playing games in the activity book, children are exposed to advertising and hammering with the restaurant’s logo.
  • The Cage aux Sports activity booklet is handed to the children as soon as they arrive at the restaurant located on Route 116 in St-Basile-le-Grand, and are to be brought back home.

La Cage aux Sports-1 La Cage aux Sports-2 La Cage aux Sports-3 La Cage aux Sports-4 La Cage aux Sports-5 La Cage aux Sports-6

OPC’s response: Processing.

Lindt (Easter contest)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • In addition to the chocolate products of the Lindt company, the Easter coloured drawing is an activity of great interest to children.
  • As shown on the picture, the coloring illustration is clearly identified by the Lindt logo. The Easter colouring page is designed to appeal to children.
  • The contest sheet is distributed at Jean Coutu Pharmacy located at 1295 de la Concorde Boulevard, in Laval, but most of the branches participate in the contest. Easter coloured drawing greatly attracts children.

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

Mr Christie (presence of several commercials in several playgrounds at the Carnaval de Québec)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Mr Christie’s sweet biscuits and snacks highly attract children.
  • As shown i the pictures below, there was no getting away from Mr Christie’s logo: it is very widespread and appears on a large number of playgrounds (eg: pennant, race number, posters). The logos are perfectly visible and at the children’s eye level. In addition to the presence of logos, free products are distributed to families (given to parents) on the site.
  • The Carnaval de Québec is an event frequented by a lot of children under the age of 13 years. The display of logos on the boxes and gaming spaces allow to reachmany young people.

M. Christie-1 M. Christie-2 M. Christie-3 M. Christie-4 M. Christie-5

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

Natrel (free distribution of chocolate milk to children, Carnaval de Québec)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Chocolate milk, with printed characters of the 3D Snowtime movie on the container, strongly attracts the interest of children. Inndeed, this advertisement is specifically for them.
  • As shown on the pictures below, the products are handed directly to the children. The chocolate milk display is also perfectly visible and attracts the attention of children, in addition to the 3D Snowtime characters found on the milk containers that are distributed.
  • The Carnaval de Québec is an event frequented by a lot of children under the age of 13 years. The distribution of Natrel chocolate milk drinks takes place just between the 3D Snowtime Fort ambulant, of which he is the sponsor, and the Conquête des châteaux. This distribution reinforces the affective link with the event, the characters of the 3D Nowtime and the Natrel brand (cross promotion).

natrel-1 natrel-2 natrel-3 natrel-4 natrel-5 natrel-6

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

Tim Hortons (multisports area at the Fête des Neiges de Montéral, Jean Drapeau Park)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Tim Hortons snacks and pastries, incliding donuts and TimbitsMD, are of great interest to children. Because of the presence of the Tim Hortons and TimbitsMD brands on all jerseys distributed to young participants to the activities and the abundance of the Tim Hortons brand in the multi-sports area, it appears that this advertising is specifically intended for them.
  • As shown in the pictures below, the Tim Hortons and TimbitsMD brands are inevitable: they are widespread and featured on a large number of play areas (pennants, arena bands, jerseys). They are also perfectly visible, highly attractive and at the children’s eye level.
  • The Jean Drapeau Park’s Fête des neiges de Montréal du Parc Jean Drapeau is an event frequented by a lot of families and children under the age of 13 years. The Tim Hortons multi-sports area, clearly identified with the brand’s image, is located near areas where activities, such as Télé-Québec area and the “petites pattes Naître et Grandir” area. In addition, activities are led by mascots that are of great interest to children and strengthen the emotional bond between the Tim Hortons brand and the event. Indeed, this advertising is specifically aimed at them, since they are participating in most activities of this area. In addition, hockey sticks and very small jerseys are lent to children so they can easily participate in the activities.

tim-hortons_fanions-2 tim-hortons_patinoire-1 tim-hortons_zone-multisports-3 tim-hortons_patinoire_mascotte-2 tim-hortons_patinoire-3 tim-hortons_fanions-4

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

In 2015

Kellogg's (cross-promotion of Hasbro toys)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Sweet cereals, where this offer of free games and toys appears, arouse great interest in children. The offer of free statuettes is also highly attractive to them.
  • Occupying third of the front of the cereal box and located to the right of the image, the offer of free children games and toys is an essential part of the packaging. This cross-promotion of Hasbro (the logo of the company is at the center of the promotional offer) encourages children to demand the purchase of Kellogg’s cereals.
  • Many children accompany their parents to the supermarket, making it a place frequently visited by children under the age of 13. In addition to occupying a large space on the shelves, due to the widespread availability of free children toys and games on several kinds of sweet cereals from the Kellogg’s brand, the cereal boxes containing the advertisement are located at the children’s eye level and are easily accessible to them.

corn-pops frosted-flakes_2 rice-krispies

OPC’s response: Processing.

McDonald's (display of the logo on the Peanuts movie promotional kit)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The Peanuts movie promotional kit, featuring coloring artwork, an image to be inserted on a straw and a temporary tattoo sheet, is of great interest to children. This kit also comes with a Peanuts movie toy, with the purchase of the children’s Happy Meal menu.
  • The temporary tattoos are clearly identified by the McDonald’s and Happy Meal logos, besides being themselves used as tattoos. The coloring artwork, as well as the temporary tattoo sheet and the image to insert into a straw, are designed to please children.
  • The promotional package is distributed with the purchase of the children’s Happy Meal menu. The playful kit promotes Peanuts movie, released November 6, 2015, and is a catchy incentive for children, besides being promoted by the children’s Happy Meal menu.

mcdo-joyeux-festin-promo-film-peanuts-2 mcdo-joyeux-festin-promo-film-peanuts-6(1) mcdo-joyeux-festin-promo-film-peanuts-9 mcdo-tattoo mcdo-tatoo-2

OPC’s response: Processing.

M. Christie & Cadbury (commandite du Village familial au Carnaval de Québec)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Cadbury candies and chocolaty snacks and M. Christie cookies (e.g., Oreo, Chips Ahoy!) greatly arouse the interest of children..
  • The M. Christie and Cadbury logos are ubiquitous in the Village familial at the Carnaval de Québec: they figure in particular on the games and pennants everywhere on the site. In addition to the logos, products (e.g., Oreo cookies) are on great display as well. Consequently, it does not constitute “low-key” sponsorship authorized under the law.
  • The Carnaval de Québec is very popular with children under 13 years of age, especially the Village M. Christie/Cadbury site, which is designed for this age group.

cadburry cadbury-et-zone-interactive

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

Coca-Cola (ubiquitous presence of Minute Maid beverage logo at the ski-school slope and in the windows of the daycare of Mont Sainte-Anne in Quebec City)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The Minute Maid logo refers to fruit beverages, punch, juice and lemonade manufactured by Coca-Cola. These sugar-sweetened beverages appeal strongly to children.
  • The Minute Maid logo appears on a variety of platforms, many of which are playful and feature childlike characters. The logo figures:
    • on panels with images that appeal to children (photos of children, multicoloured drawings), placed in the windows of the daycare;
    • on pennants and panels on the edges of the ski-school slope, many of which feature drawings of animals with a childlike quality;;
    • on giant cans, small tunnels to go through and colourful banners with animals, which dot the ski-school slope and constitute obstacles children must get around.
  • The presence of games (e.g., tunnels, obstacles, …) featuring the Minute Maid logo increases the affective impact of this advertising on children.

coca-Mont-Sainte-Anne coca-Mont-Sainte-Anne-3 coca-Mont-Sainte-Anne-2 coca-Mont-Sainte-Anne-4

OPC’s response: Processing.

McDonald's (game booklet Mission de la relâche scolaire)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • McDonald’s’s fast-food restaurant is of great interest to children. The Happy Meal, depicted in the booklet by the classic red box adorned with a yellow smile and crowned by the company’s golden arches, is exclusively for kids meals.
  • The Booklet Mission relâche scolaire 2015 greatly attracts children. The illustrations, the activities proposed and the texts of the play book “Mission de la relâche scolaire” are designed to please children attending primary school. The last sheet in the booklet (Ideas for Astro-Parents (in French)) gives parents ideas to entertain young children and “older astronauts”, age 7 and older, confirm the age group targeted by this booklet. The illustration of the Happy Meal box appears on three of the eight detachable sheets booklet, including the cover and certifcate of achievement to be kept.
  • Placed in racks next to the cashiers, the game booklets promoting the Happy Meal were available during the school break, from March 2 to 6, 2015, in participating McDonald’s restaurants. The picture below, taken on March 4, 2015 at the McDonald’s branch located at 2895 de la Concorde Boulevard East, in Laval, shows that they were placed in full view of children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPC’s response: The restaurant has been notified.

In 2014

Coca-Cola (advertising on the display listing the rules of the Jungle Aventure family entertainment centre in Laval)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The advertisement appears at the entrance to the main labyrinth for children 3 years of age or over. This location ensures the advertising is highly visible to children.
  • The image of the Coca-Cola bottle and the company’s logo accompany the rules of the entertainment centre presented in the form of coloured pictograms. These pictograms are intended in particular for young children who do not know how to read or who are just learning to do so.
  • The advertisement is placed on the floor and, therefore, at young children’s eye level.

pictogramme_reglements_coca-cola jungle_affiche-coca-cola

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

Krispy Kernels (face-in-hole photo board advertising at Granby Zoo)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Snacks appeal to children.
  • Photo boards attract children, who like to stick their faces in the holes to be photographed and then want to see the result.
  • The board’s fictional setting features children at the zoo, including the brand’s mischievous character, and has a childlike quality.
  • Granby Zoo is very popular with children under 13 years of age. The rides in the area where the Krispy Kernels photo board is located are intended for young children and can be ridden at no extra charge, which ensures the presence of a large number of children.

krispy-kernels

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

Slush Puppie (advertising poster at Laval’s Family Day)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Slush is a sugar-sweetened beverage that strongly appeals to children and is specifically intended for them.
  • The promotional poster is very large and placed on the ground, which ensures it is highly visible to children.
  • Featured on the poster is the brand’s character, a drawn dog with a childlike quality well known to kids. The dog is relishing a cup of slush.
  • Laval’s Family Day is a very popular event that attracts a large number of children under 13 years of age as many activities there are designed specifically for this age group.

Slush Laval

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

Slush Puppie (advertising parasols in Val-David Santa Claus Village)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Val-David Santa Claus Village is very popular with children under 13 years of age as the venue is designed for this age group.
  • The Slush Puppie advertising parasols are ubiquitous in the food court of this outdoor amusement park.
  • The brand’s character featured on the parasols is well known to kids. The dog is evidently enjoying slush, a beverage that appeals strongly to children.

serie-de-tables_slushpuppie_2014_06_26__10-11-53 slush Puppie

OPC’s response: Ongoing investigation.

Breyers (advertising parasols for frozen snacks and inflatable Klondike bear in Val-David Santa Claus Village)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Val-David Santa Claus Village is very popular with children under 13 years of age as the venue is designed for this age group.
  • The parasols feature the Breyers brand logo as well as images of frozen snacks that appeal to children.
  • Located near the entrance to this outdoor amusement park, the life-size Klondike bear attracts children, which accentuates the impact of the advertising it features.

2014_06_26__10-12-15_breyers ours-pub-klondike

OPC’s response: Ongoing investigation.

In 2013

Dare Foods (television advertising for Bear Paws – Morning Snack cookies)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Bear Paws – Morning Snack cookies are sweet products that appeal to children.
  • The advertisement uses numerous strategies aimed at children, including the use of child actors enjoying themselves presenting a stage play about the cookies and narration by a childlike voice. The use of playful props by the children in the advertising (e.g., balloons, oversized eyeglasses, crank, set made of children’s crafts, disguises), as well as the music, arouse the interest of children.
  • Children applaud when a giant Bear Paws box with a childlike brand logo is pushed onto the stage and children are seen relishing the cookies.
  • The advertisement is shown on various television channels at times when children under 13 years of age are likely to be watching.

pattes-d-ours

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

PepsiCo (sponsorship of the Méga-Parc children’s Montgolfière ride at Galeries de la Capitale in Quebec City)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The Pepsi logo, which entirely covers each basket as well as the core of the Montgolfière ride, is a salient element of the ride’s ornamentation.
  • Méga-Parc, the largest indoor amusement park in Quebec, has a strong appeal for children, all the more so that it is located in a very busy shopping mall.
  • The Montgolfière ride is of great interest to children.
  • The ride is located right next to the central skating rink at the intersection of two lanes, including the one that small children must take to get to the rides and games intended for younger kids. Hence, the ride is highly visible to children.
  • The CPA Application Guide for sections 248 and 249 indicates that the use of a logo to represent a good constitutes advertising, as does the mention of a sponsorship if it is not presented in a “low-key manner”. Consequently, the fact that the Pepsi logo on the children’s ride cannot be ignored makes it advertising.

PepsiCo-1 PepsiCo-2

OPC’s response: the merchant has been notified.

Note: Informed of the complaint, PepsiCo remedied the situation by removing all advertising on the ride.

PepsiCo-3

Beaver Tails (advertising posters at La Ronde amusement park)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Beaver Tails pastries, particularly those covered with chocolate and candies on the posters in question, strongly arouse the interest of children.
  • The two posted advertisements show very young children taking great pleasure in eating Beaver Tails pastries covered with chocolat.
  • The fun, playful aspect of the product is strongly accentuated by the children’s heavily chocolate-stained fingers. This sends small kids the message that the product can be eaten with their fingers and that it contains an abundance of chocolate. These are two particulars that appeal to children.
  • The poster featuring a little girl stresses the abundance of chocolate with the writing “Avec plusss [sic] de chocolat!” (With even more chockolate [sic]). The spelling mistake is likely to draw children’s attention, particularly those learning to read.
  • Montreal’s La Ronde is an amusement park visited by a great number of children under the age of 13. Consequently, putting up posters outside the walls of the restaurant located in one of the main food courts allows reaching a great many kids.

queue-de-castor-1

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

Note: Informed of the complaint, Beaver Tails remedied the situation. In July 2014, the posters were modified.

Saputo (Igor Jungle website)

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • In the section of the website titled “Planificateur de fêtes” (party planner)/”Par ici les invitations” (This way for invitations), a charming gorilla named Igor appeals directly to children to produce invitation cards for their friends. The Igor cereal bars logo and a drawing of the trademark gorilla appear on each invitation.
  • According to the website, Igor children’s party invitations are intended for children 3 to 9 years of age.
  • Upon completing the invitation, children are invited to visit the “Coloriage” (colouring) section of the website. The Igor logo and the trademark gorilla appear on all of the drawings proposed. In the case of the Halloween-themed drawing, the Igor cereal bar is depicted as a treat.
  • The company has taken no measures to discourage children under the age of 13 from visiting its website and the sections that appeal to them.

OPC’s response: The case was closed after legal analysis.

Note: Following the complaint, the website www.igorjungle.com has been closed. In 2009, the company had already filed a guilty plea for advertising to children.

In 2012

McDonald’s (McKids Adventures: Get Up and Go with Ronald DVD)

Distributed in Quebec stores, this children’s DVD features Ronald McDonald, the company’s trademark character, sporting the golden “M” in a conspicuous fashion. Throughout the program, Ronald is accompanied by child actors who play with him and express their affection and admiration for him.

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The entire DVD hosted by McDonald’s trademark character has a marked appeal for children and is intended specifically for them, as evidenced by the “General” rating and the “For children” tag of the Régie du cinéma du Québec. Moreover, several strategies are used to arouse the interest of children: lively music, magic performed by the trademark character, vivid colours, child actors, and more.
  • The McDonald’s logo is constantly in sight as it figures on the front and back of the clothes worn by the trademark character, as well as on his helmet, when needed.
  • The trademark character comes across as a funny, kind, affectionate and empathic hero who teaches, encourages and comforts the children, aside from practising magic. The children’s admiration for him is unquestionable. Moreover, the program’s credits suggest that the trademark character is real as the name of the actor playing the role is not given: What is indicated, instead, is that Ronald McDonald is played by “himself”.
  • On numerous occasions, the children can be heard expressing their joy, thereby reinforcing the association between the logo, the festive mood, and fun.

OPC’s response: The case was closed after legal analysis.

Monster Energy (Shrine Circus sponsorship)

The Monster Energy logo presented at different moments during the first act of Shrine Circus 2012:

  • during the balancing act with motorcycle and ATV-quad jumps, one of the artists does a backflip off a ramp plastered with the Monster Energy logo on both sides for maximum spectator visibility. This Monster Energy ramp is moved to the front after the action has ended and the theme music from the movie “Top Gun” begins to play to announce the importance of what is to follow;
  • the Monster Energy logo is also visible on one of the motorcycles.

Monster-Energy_Cirque-Shriners

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Although Monster Energy is a product not recommended for children and adolescents, this sugar-sweetened soft drink is likely to arouse the interest of children under the age of 13.
  • The Monster Energy logo is spotlighted by staging that seizes the attention of children.
  • Promoting Monster Energy at a magical moment of the show is likely to create a positive emotional connection with the brand and the sugar-sweetened beverage it sells.
  • Circus show is an important event for children. Therefore, the audience is heavily composed of children under the age of 13.

OPC’s response: The case was closed after legal analysis.

Red Bull et Coca-Cola (product placement in the Disney feature “The Muppets”)

  • Coca-Cola: As Kermit is being told that the Muppets studio is in jeopardy, a funny robot interrupts the plot to offer the characters something to drink. He carries on his tray four cans of Coke and Tab–brands owned  y Coca-Cola–and asks “Might I offer you a drink? Tab? New Coke?” His offer is refused by the characters, who let him know that this is not the time, and the robot retreats in a huff, banging about clumsily here, there and everywhere as he complains: “Bummer. Oh! Gag me with a spoon”. This amusing scene, in which soft drinks appear on screen for some 20 seconds, is bound to arouse the interest of young children.
  • Red Bull: When Mr. Richman realizes that the Muppets might succeed in saving their studio, he gets angry and finishes off a can of Red Bull, which he crushes and adds to the pile of empties already before him.  hough the brand is not as clearly distinguishable, it remains recognizable. It should be noted that Mr. Richman is presented a little earlier in the film as a rich, cool and powerful man when he breaks into a rap that kids can sing along with as the lyrics run across the bottom of the screen karaoke style. In the song, the back-up singers chime in with “Just how great it is to me him” as the character exclaims: “Oh! It’s great to be me, yeah”. These qualifiers used for the character hooked on Red Bull can subconsciously be projected onto the brand.

Plainte_Muppets_Coca-Cola Plainte_Muppets_RedBull

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The sugar-sweetened beverages placed in the film are likely to appeal to children as they are presented at a key moment in the movie. Moreover, Coke is presented in a funny manner, which is bound all the more to arouse the interest of children.
  • The Muppets movie, presented in Quebec theatres at the end of 2011 and now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, is especially intended for children.
  • The OPC has already established that product or trademark placement in a cinematographic work intended for children that clearly identifies a product placed and consumed by its characters can be considered advertisement prohibited under the CPA.

OPC’s response: The case was closed after legal analysis.

Red Bull (“Flying Pigs” web advertisement)

Web advertisement featuring a young boy who is given permission to go to “a gentleman’s club”, thanks to Red Bull.

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Although Red Bull is a product not recommended for children and adolescents, this sugar-sweetened soft drink is likely to arouse the interest of young people, including those under the age of 13.
  • The web advertisement is presented in a style likely to appeal to children in that it takes the form of a cartoon, features a child, and presents the product as instrumental in the transgression of a prohibition and the satisfaction of one’s desires. The  act that the advertisement is itself qualified as prohibited (prohibited on television) can also attract certain young people.

Plainte_RedBull_Cochons-volants

OPC’s response: Ongoing investigation.

Red Bull (advergames)

Advergames offered on Red Bull website:

Plainte_RedBull-advergame2

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Though Red Bull is not recommended for children and adolescents, this sugar-sweetened soft drink is likely to arouse the interest of young people, including those under the age of 13.
  • Using games for marketing purposes is a form of advertising likely to reach young people in particular. In the case in point, ease of execution, bright colours and the possibility of building one’s own vehicle (soapbox racer, airplane or  motocross) in a variety of funny shapes (e.g., a pig) are some of the elements that appeal strongly to children.
  • Without the child being able to realize it, the repeated perception of a brand logo can develop in them a preference for the brand. This constitutes a form of advertising. Moreover, the fact of perceiving the logo in the context  of a fun game in particular can accentuate the affective tie to the brand. The fact that cans of Red Bull must be picked up in the course of the game as vital fuel for the racers constitutes advertising as well.

Plainte_RedBull-advergame1

OPC’s response: Ongoing investigation.

Sprite and Gatorade (product placement in the NBA2K1 video game)

  • Sprite and Gatorade logos visible regularly during a game of NBA2K11. For example:
    • a Sprite banner off the side of the court;
    • “G” and “Gatorade” logos on signs in the stands and on the scoreboard.

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages, such as Gatorade, are products that arouse the interest of young people, including those under the age of 13.
  • Video games have a great power of attraction and increase the possibility of reaching young people in large numbers and repeatedly. Though NBA2K11 is not intended solely for children under the age of 13, it is recommended for ages 6 and up. This makes it possible to reach a large number of children.
  • Without the child being able to realize it, the repeated perception of a brand logo can develop in them a preference for the brand. This constitutes a form of advertising. Moreover, the fact of perceiving the logo in the context of a fun game in particular can accentuate the affective tie to the brand.

Plainte_NBA-2k11_Sprite Plainte_NBA-2k11_Gatorade-2 Plainte_NBA-2k11_Gatorade-3 Plainte_NBA-2k11_Gatorade-4

OPC’s response: Ongoing investigation.

In 2010

Kellogg's (Froot Loops cereals TV advertisement)

  • Date: January 6, 2010
  • Time: 8:20 a.m.
  • Program: Salut bonjour

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The food product itself (coloured sweet rings) and its packaging do not fail to draw the attention of children, and though Froot Loops cereals are not directed exclusively at children, they have a definite appeal for them.
  • The advertising uses 3 children as actors and childish language and representations, and the treatment leaves no doubt as to the target group
  • Although “Salut bonjour” is not a children’s program, the time of broadcasting in question, namely, 8:20 a.m., suggests however, on the basis of the Application Guide for the Quebec Consumer Protection Act, that the percentage of viewers aged 2 to 11 years represents 15% or more of the total.

To watch the Froot Loops cereals TV advertisement.

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

McDonald’s (Happy Meal)

  • TV advertisement
  • Date: July 22, 2010
  • Time: 7:27 a.m.
  • Program: Johnny Test.
  • Broadcaster: Teletoon.

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The Happy Meal Grilled Chicken Wrap is a product made for children under thirteen (13) years old and presented that way by McDonald’s.
  • The advertising message is presented in a childish way.
  • Johnny Test, the program where the advertisement is presented, is a children’s show.

To watch the Happy Meal TV advertisement.

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

McDonald's (promotion of Shrek-themed drinking glasses)

  • TV advertisement
  • Date: May 23, 2010
  • Time: 10:20 a.m.
  • Program: Les Mélodilous, Télé-Québec.

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The Shrek-themed drinking glasses offered by McDonald’s restaurants constitute a product intended exclusively for children and have a marked appeal for them.
  • The advertising message uses animated cartoon characters from the movie Shrek, which particularly arouse children’s interest.
  • The program in question, Les Mélodilous, is a children’s program.

Response from the OPC: The complaint was dismissed as the product was removed and that advertising was not represented. A letter was sent to McDonald’s to request that they obey the law

To watch the Shrek-themed glasses’ advertisement.

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified (a letter was sent to McDonald’s requesting they abide by the law).

Pizza Hut (children's menu TV advertisement)

  • Date: July 22, 2010
  • Time: 7:15 a.m.
  • Program: Johnny Test
  • Broadcaster: Teletoon

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • As the name suggests, the Pizza HutTM restaurants’ children’s menu consitutes a product exclusively intended for children and is attractive to them.
  • The advertising message is presented in a childish way.
  • Johnny Test, the program where the advertisement is presented, is a children’s show.

To watch the Pizza Hut children’s menu TV advertisement.

OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

In 2009

Chaotic

  • Energy drink primarily targeting children.
  • Product associated with a website, a television program and collection cards.
  • Purchase of a Chaotic drink comes with a code that allows accessing a website and playing online.

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • The product is primarily intended for children, including those under 13 years of age.
  • The fact that the product is associated with a website and a television program where children can play with their favourite characters online or with cards clearly demonstrates the prohibited target group of this advertising practice.
  • Purchase of a “Chaotic” drink comes with a code that allows accessing a website. There is reason to believe that more than 15% of this website’s visitors are children under 13 years of age.

Chaotic1

OPC’s response: The case was closed after legal analysis, because it should have been accompanied by additional details concerning the sale of the product, the buying process, the point-of-purchase display and stores, etc. This confirms the difficult process of lodging a complaint for consumers.

Nickels

Kid’s menu presented in the form of a small colouring book handed out to children in Nickels restaurants and promoting Kool-Aid, Jell-O and Kraft Diner.

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Though Nickels offers a variety of products, the product advertised is a kid’s meal, which is to say a product intended exclusively for children.
  • The presentation is designed directly for children (drawings, message) and highlights the appeal of two gifts (Kool-Aid and Jell-O chocolate pudding) that are intended directly for children.
  • The place the advertising is disseminated is a restaurant where no doubt 5% or more of the customers are children given the choice of advertising method.

Nickels1

OPC’s response: The case was closed after legal analysis

Pizza Hut

  • TV advertisement
  • Date: July 15, 2009
  • Time: 7:26 p.m.
  • Program: Les gags

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Though pizza is a family product, the advertising spotlights one product above all, namely, a frozen dessert with candies, designed to appeal particularly to children and to arouse their interest.
  • Given the near exclusive use of children and a treatment appealing to them, the advertising is designed particularly to arouse the interest of children.
  • Given the program’s nature and time of broadcasting, there is reason to believe that children make up at least 15% of its audience.
  • Pub_PizzaHut_0009

    OPC’s response: The merchant has been notified.

Poulet Frit Kentucky

  • TV advertisement
  • Date: July 15, 2009
  • Time: 7:23 p.m.
  • Program: Les gags

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Though the product is not exclusively intended for children, it nevertheless has a marked appeal for them (fast food).
  • Through its predominant use of children, the advertising is designed to arouse particularly the interest of children.
  • Given the program’s nature and time of broadcasting, there is reason to believe that children make up at least 15% of its audience.

Pub_PFK_0017

OPC’s response: The case was closed after legal analysis because, according to the OPC, the timing of the advertisement’s broadcast does not correspond to an audience partially composted of chidren (15%).

Please note: since the 2012 update of the Application Guide, this reference point is not used anymore to demonstrate a significant presence of children in front of the screen. For example, rather than just a percentage, television ratings are also taken into account in the analysis, in order to have a better reflection of the absolute number of children to the screen.

Trident

  • TV advertisement
  • Date: July 15, 2009
  • Time: 7:25 p.m.
  • Program: Les gags

Why do we believe it constitutes advertising to children?

  • Though not intended exclusively for children, the product nevertheless has a marked appeal for them (chewing gum).
  • The advertisement’s stagingis directly designed to arouse in particular the interest of children.
  • Given the program’s nature and time of broadcasting, there is reason to believe that children make up at least 15% of its audience.

Pub_Trident_0032

OPC’s responses: The case was closed after legal analysis because, according to the OPC, the timing of the advertisement’s broadcast does not correspond to an audience partially composed of chidren (15%).

Please note: since the 2012 update of the Application Guide, this reference point is not used anymore to demonstrate a significant presence of children in front of the screen. For example, rather than just a percentage, television ratings are also taken into account in the analysis, in order to have a better reflection of the absolute number of children to the screen.

In 2007-2008

The Weight Coalition lodged other complaints that led the OPC to take legal action and culminated in guilty pleas by the concerned companies.

Do you think you are in the presence of an advertisement to children under 13 years old? Contact us and we will analyze the information. If necessary to file a complaint, we will initiate the process with the Office de la protection du consommateur.