Pinnacle Marketing Management Inc (Pinnacle) recognizes an obligation to the businesses we serve to practice the highest standards of honesty, truth, accuracy, fairness, and professionalism.
Because of the nature of our business, this Code generally applies to business-to-business marketing, with specific exemptions for those practices identified as exclusively relating to consumer marketing.
If you feel that we are not abiding by these Code of Ethics, you should contact us immediately via telephone at (613) 828-6980 or via email [email protected]
1. General Principles
- Pinnacle’s marketing communications must not omit material facts and must be clear, comprehensible and truthful. Pinnacle will not knowingly make a representation to a consumer or business that is false or misleading.
- Pinnacle will not use inaccurate information to attack, degrade, discredit or damage the reputation of competitor’s products, services, advertisements or organizations.
Conflict of Interest
Pinnacle will not:
- enter into a business relationship with a third-party that conflicts with their client’s interests, without the client’s knowledge; or
- accept compensation or rewards from third parties that create obligations detrimental to their client’s interests, without the client’s knowledge.
- Pinnacle will not misrepresent their competence, credentials, experience or professional capabilities.
- Pinnacle will not copy the work of others or claim authorship of others’ work without the consent of the originator or owner of the work.
- Pinnacle is not normally responsible for the content of marketing materials they only disseminate or distribute (the “Publisher’s Defence”), however, Pinnacle will insist on their clients’ compliance with this Code when they are aware of a breach or where they have a role in developing the content of the communications.
Personal Information Practices
- Pinnacle will promote responsible and transparent personal information management practices.
- Pinnacle will identify itself and must not engage in marketing communications in the guise of one purpose when the intent is a different purpose.
- Pinnacle will not claim to be carrying out a survey or research when their real purpose is to sell a product or service, to promote a business interest or to raise funds.
- Pinnacle will not mislead or deceive consumers or businesses into believing that a marketing communication is news, information, public service or entertainment programming when its purpose is to sell products or services, to promote business interests or to seek donations to causes or charities.
- Pinnacle will disclose to consumers and businesses all relevant aspects of their relationship regarding agents engaging in word of mouth marketing activities, including those appearing to act independently and without compensation.
- Marketing communications that appear to be genuine invoices or government documents must not be used.
Automatically Billed Products or Services
- Pinnacle will clearly inform the consumer or business of all material terms and obligations in the original marketing communication, including whether there is a right to cancel.
- Pinnacle will not omit disclosure of any information that would reasonably be expected to affect the purchasing decisions of the average consumer.
- Any material change in the products or services offered to a consumer or business who has previously agreed to be automatically billed for those products or services requires the marketer to obtain new consent. Such new consent should be explicit and preferably in writing. Consent may not be inferred from the customer’s behaviour, including payment for the goods or services.
Unordered Products and Services
- Pinnacle will not send unsolicited products or services to a consumer or business for which they invoice, bill or otherwise demand payment. Consumers or businesses have no obligation in respect of the use or disposal of unordered products or services.
- Pinnacle will establish and communicate fair, effective and timely procedures to handle complaints from consumers or businesses, having regard to any legally imposed response time requirements that may exist in particular circumstances.
- Pinnacle will comply with the applicable Canadian laws governing the disabled. Pinnacle should remain informed and strive to adopt best practices where financially or operational feasible.
- Pinnacle will abide by this Code unless doing so contravenes the laws of foreign jurisdictions.
2. Advertising Messages
Whether Pinnacle is advertising its own services or products, or representing a client, these principles will be adhered to:
- Pinnacle will not participate in any campaign involving the disparagement or exploitation of any person or group on the grounds of race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or age.
- Pinnacle will not participate in the dissemination of unsolicited material that is sexually explicit, vulgar or indecent in nature, except where required to do so by law, such as a common carrier.
- Pinnacle will not participate in the dissemination of any material that unduly, gratuitously and without merit exploits sex, horror, mutilation, torture, cruelty, violence or hate.
- Pinnacle will not knowingly exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge or inexperience of any consumer, taking particular care when dealing with vulnerable consumers. The term “vulnerable consumer” includes, but is not limited to children, teenagers, people with disabilities, the elderly and those for whom English is not their first language.
Accuracy of Representation
- Pinnacle will not misrepresent a product, service, marketing program or make any other misleading representation, even if not directly related to the product or service, and must not mislead by statement or manner of demonstration or comparison.
- Photography, artwork, type size, color, contrast, style, placement, verbal description and audio-visual portrayal must accurately and fairly describe the product or service offered.
- Pinnacle will recognize the importance of the general impression of the marketing communication and must ensure that it can be readily comprehended upon first exposure and, even if strictly true, does not deceive by omission or commission.
- Marketing communications must be executed in a manner that is simple and easy to understand.
- Disclaimers in any medium must be clear and prominent, easily accessible, with a reasonable expectation to be both read and understood by the average consumer, in close proximity to the representations to which they relate.
- Disclaimers may be used to clarify, expand upon or explain the basis of a claim.
- Disclaimers should not be used to contradict the general impression created by the main body of the advertisement or the plain meaning of the disclaimed words.
Support for Claims
- Test or survey data referred to in any marketing communication must be established prior to the claim being made, reliable, valid and current and must support the specific claim, as it is likely to be perceived. Pinnacle will be able to substantiate the basis for any performance, efficacy or length of life claim or comparison and must not imply a scientific, factual or statistical basis where none exists.
Testimonials and endorsements must be:
- authorized with appropriate permissions by the person or organization quoted;
- genuine and related to the experience of the person or organization quoted, both at the time made and at the time of the marketing communication;
- positioned as opinion, not fact, unless supported by valid research;
- not taken out of context so as to distort the opinion or experience of the person or organization quoted; and
- careful not to imply the existence of an affiliation between the marketer and the person or organization quoted when none exists.
- Descriptions and promises must reflect actual conditions, situations and circumstances, including relevant promotion dates and any restrictions, existing at the time of the promotion.
- Unless the promotional material appropriately advises the consumer or business of limited stock, marketers must ensure that quantities are sufficient to meet reasonably foreseeable demand. In cases where there is limited stock, and marketers do not supply sufficient notice of it, rain-cheques should be made available to consumers.
- Terms such as “regular price”, “suggested retail value”, “manufacturer’s list price”, and “fair market value”, must represent prices at which a substantial volume of the item has been sold in the relevant marketplace for a reasonable period of time before or after the representation was made, or prices at which the item has been sold in good faith for a substantial period of time recently before or immediately after the representation was made. As such, sales should not continue for an extended period of time.
- Where price discounts are offered, qualifiers such as “up to”, and “xx off” must be presented in easily readable form, and in proximity to the prices quoted. Reasonable quantities of items or services on promotion should be available at discount levels across and up to the range quoted.
Use of the word “Free”
- Products or services offered without cost or obligation on the part of the consumer or business may be described as “free”, or similar.
- “Free” may also be used to describe a premium or incentive to purchase products or services, if
- any cost or obligation is clearly and prominently identified in close proximity to the word “free”; or
- the price of the original product has not been specifically inflated to cover the cost of the premium.
- Comparisons included in marketing communications must be factual, verifiable and not misleading. They must compare similar aspects of the products or services being assessed.
- Marketing communications should not stress insignificant differences designed to lead the consumer or business to draw a false conclusion.
- Prior to a buying, streaming or downloading activity by a customer, marketing offers must provide all the information necessary to make an informed decision to commit and / or engage. Pinnacle will take reasonable steps to ensure that the agreement to enter a contract is fully informed and intentional.
- For business-to-business transactions, all information necessary for a reasonable business to make an informed purchase decision, including the disclosures described in the point above, must be presented at the time of the original offer and agreement. In the case of an ongoing relationship, the information must be presented again only when there is a material change.
- All material changes, including amendments, renewals and extensions, to an agreement require consent and must comply with legislative requirements. Such new consent should be explicit and preferably in writing. Consent may not be inferred from the customer’s behaviour, including payment for the goods or services.
- Disclosures of offers must be clear, comprehensive and prominent. They must present all items material to a decision and be available in a form which permits the customer access to the information.
- Full and fair disclosure must be made of the terms of the offer including not just wording, but the manner of presentation of the price, including additional charges, terms and conditions, customer commitments and obligations. Information that, by the use of photography, artwork, type size, colour, contrast, placement, verbal description, audio-visual portrayal or other means, materially distorts the clarity of the offer or exceptions to it must not be used.
3. Pinnacle’s Own Advertising
Pinnacle will adhere to the following principles when employing specific media to communicate its own marketing messages.
A. Mobile and Web
Collection of electronic addresses (i.e. Email Addresses or Mobile Numbers): Pinnacle will identify the purpose for which an email address or mobile number is being requested prior to or at the time of collection, except where not required under Canada’s or USA’s Anti-Spam Laws.
Published Business Email Addresses: Published business email addresses must only be used for marketing communications relevant to the business of the email recipient, provided a statement does not accompany the published address indicating that the address is not to be used for the purpose of marketing communications.
Email Consent Pinnacle will not send email marketing communications without the express or implied consent of the recipient, unless otherwise exempt. Express consent must be obtained by way of positive action on behalf of the recipient. Consent may be implied as a result of an existing business or non-business relationship with the recipient, the disclosure or conspicuous publication of the email address or other prescribed means. Requests for consent must be compliant with the requirements of Canada’s and USA’s Anti-Spam Laws.
Consent For Text Messages Pinnacle will not knowingly send unsolicited text messages to wireless devices of either consumers or businesses without prior consent that is compliant with Canada’s and USA’s Anti-Spam Laws.
Internal Do Not Contact List At the request of a consumer or business, including a current customer, Pinnacle will promptly add email addresses and mobile numbers to an internal do not contact list and cease marketing to that email address or mobile number, and in any event in no longer than ten business days.
Email Marketing Identification Requirements and Unsubscribe Opportunity Every email message must clearly identify the person sending the message, or the business on whose behalf the message is being sent, and the mailing address and either a telephone number, email address or web address of the person sending the message or on whose behalf the message is sent.
Text (SMS) Marketing Identification Requirements and Unsubscribe Opportunity Every text message must clearly identify the person sending the message, or the business on whose behalf the message is being sent, and the mailing address and either a telephone number, email address or web address of the person sending the message or on whose behalf the message is sent. If it is not practicable to include this information in the message, Pinnacle must post this information to a page on its website that can be readily accessed by the recipient at no cost to them by way of a link that is clearly and prominently set out in the message.
Email Disclosure Pinnacle will not misrepresent the source of any message or use false or misleading “subject” lines in e-mail marketing communications. The subject line and body text in e-mail marketing communications must accurately reflect the content, origin and purpose of the communications.
Mobile and Web Disclosures Prior to a consumer streaming, attempting a downloading activity, or opting into a mobile marketing program, Pinnacle will provide the information necessary to allow consumers to make an informed decision (i.e. additional data charges, applications and other content). Disclosures must be accessible for a reasonable time following a transaction, and, at a minimum, during the ongoing provision of goods and services that result from the transaction.
Online Interest-based Advertising Online interest-based advertising, sometimes referred to as online behavioral advertising, refers to tracking consumers’ online activities over time in order to deliver advertisements that are relevant to individuals’ inferred interests. In advertising their goods or services through online interest-based advertising, Pinnacle may directly or indirectly make use of service providers that include communications agencies, ad networks, and website publishers.
Pinnacle will also be guided by the following principles when using internet and app interest-based advertising:
- Transparency: When using online
interest-based advertising Pinnacle should ensure, by contract where
necessary, that they, and the ad networks and website publishers used to
display interest-based ads on their behalf, exercise transparency about
the collection, use, disclosure and retention of data concerning
consumers’ online activities over time. Transparency means:
- openness and providing clear explanatory information about how browsing information is collected and what the information is used for and
- an easy means to draw consumers’ attention to that information; both in a manner consistent with accepted industry best practices.
- Consent: Pinnacle will take the appropriate steps to ensure that the ad networks and online publishers that are used to display interest-based ads on their behalf offer consumers a clear and easy to see, easy to understand and easy to execute means to opt-out from having their online activities over time tracked to support the delivery of interest-based ads. When using this type of advertising Pinnacle will ensure that they or their service providers use established industry best practices to provide notice of data collection, use, disclosure and retention for interest-based advertising, and that appropriate consent is being obtained from consumers.
Mobile and Web Contests Pinnacle will present all disclosures, terms and conditions of a contest in a manner that is clear, visible, easy to find, easy to read and easy to understand. Disclosures must be accessible for a reasonable time following a transaction, and, at a minimum, during the ongoing provision of goods and services that result from the transaction.
Accessibility Pinnacle will meet all legal requirements. Pinnacle will strive to meet the industry best practices like the W3C guidelines for the mobile web whenever that is feasible in operational and financial terms.
B. Direct Mail
Internal Do Not Contact List: At the request of a consumer or business, including a current customer, Pinnacle will promptly add names and addresses to an internal do not contact list and cease marketing to that current customer, consumer or business at that address. Names and addresses will be retained on the internal Do Not Contact List for three years.
Security: All electronic transfer of data should be password protected and encrypted.
C. Telephone and Fax
These standards of practice apply to commercial solicitation relating to the purchase of products or services, or requests for charitable donation conveyed by telephone voice communications (also known as telemarketing), or by means of telephone facsimile (also known as fax).
Calling and Faxing Hours: Pinnacle will limit the hours of outbound telemarketing or faxing to the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Restrictions refer to the time zone of the called party. Calling or faxing must not be undertaken on statutory holidays.
Use of National Do Not Call List: Pinnacle will use the National Do Not Call List when conduction a consumer telemarketing or fax campaign.
Internal Do Not Contact List: At the request of either a current customer or a consumer or business, Pinnacle will promptly add telephone or fax numbers to an internal do not contact list and cease marketing to the current customer, consumer or business at that telephone or fax number. Telephone and fax numbers must be retained on the internal do not contact list for three years.
Calls to Mobile Devices: Pinnacle will not knowingly call or send voice messages to wireless devices of either consumers or businesses without prior consent.
Unlisted Numbers: Pinnacle will not knowingly call any consumer or business who has an unlisted or unpublished telephone number, except where the telephone number was furnished by the consumer or business to that marketer, or by a third-party with the consumer’s consent.
Sequential Dialing: Pinnacle will not engage in sequential dialing.
Random Dialing: Pinnacle will not engage in random dialing other than to a list or public directory where it is possible to remove telephone and/or fax numbers that are on the National Do Not Call List and/or on a marketer’s internal do not contact list.
Unsolicited Fax Marketing: Pinnacle will not knowingly send unsolicited marketing communications by fax to consumers or businesses, except where the consumer or business is a current customer or has consented to receive such communications.
Fax Marketing Identification and Contact Information: Pinnacle will identify the marketer on behalf of whom the fax is being sent, including the telephone number, fax number and name and address of a responsible person to whom the faxed party can write.
Pinnacle will display the originating faxing number or an alternate number where the sender can be reached, except where number display is unavailable for technical reasons.
Fax Marketing Opt-Out: Pinnacle will provide an easy-to-see, easy-to-understand and easy-to-execute opt-out opportunity within each fax advertisement.
Telephone Identification and Contact Information: Pinnacle will identify themselves, the business or organization represented and the purposes of the call promptly at the beginning of each outbound telemarketing call.
- Upon request, Pinnacle will provide the marketer’s telephone number and the name and address of a responsible party to whom the called party can write.
- Pinnacle will not block Caller ID information, unless there is a significant technological impediment to providing this information to the consumer.
Voice Recording: Pinnacle will obey the laws concerning voice recording and they must advise consumers when recording a goods or services transaction.
Frequency: Pinnacle will not knowingly contact a consumer who is not already a current customer more frequently than once per month for the same product or service unless they have received consent to do so. Business-to-business marketing is exempt from this requirement, as prospect development often requires more frequent contact, calling a business office is less intrusive than calling a consumer at home and B2B marketing often involves contacting multiple individuals within the same company.
Use of Predictive Dialer Technology: Pinnacle will not use predictive dialer technology.
D. Magazines, Newspapers and Trade Press
Misrepresentation: Pinnacle will not employ text or design elements that mimic a publication’s editorial style unless the pages clearly and conspicuously contain the word “advertisement”, “advertising” or “advertorial”.
Sponsored Sections: Where “advertorial” formats are used, the sponsored section must be identified as such.
E. Broadcast, Including Direct Response Television and Infomercials
Misrepresentation: Pinnacle will not employ presentations likely to mislead the average consumer or businesses that the presentation is news, information, public service or entertainment programming. (Product placement within entertainment programming is acceptable.)
Endorsement: Except where the endorser is identified as an expert or is a generally recognized celebrity (whose sole connection with the marketer is the payment of a fee for the endorsement), any material connection between the endorser and the marketer must be disclosed.
- Results, experiences or findings of the endorser must be generally representative of the results to be expected by the average consumer or business. Alternatively, the marketer must clearly and conspicuously explain that the experiences or findings are not typical of the experiences of the average consumer or business.
Direct Response Television: Commercials that solicit orders must clearly disclose the price, purchase terms, shipping costs and currency and any other material terms of the offer in a clear, comprehensible and prominent manner.
Infomercials and Transparency: Television commercial messages exceeding two continuous minutes in length must be preceded and followed by a clear or prominent video and oral announcement that the presentation is a paid commercial message. This announcement must identify the product or service being offered and the marketer’s identity. The video and a clear written announcement must also be presented prior to each ordering opportunity.
Radio commercials exceeding three minutes in length must be identified as paid commercial messages by clear and prominent announcements at the beginning and end of the program. Should the program be interrupted for any reason, another such announcement must be made prior to the resumption of the program.
For those infomercials intended for adults only, the opening disclaimer must notify viewers that it contains content intended for adults. This notification must be provided in both audio and video.
Radio Broadcasting: As a local medium that reflects community standards, marketers should take the local environment into consideration, including the programming environment, the station’s format and the composition of the station’s audience.
F. Out-of-Home/Outdoor Advertising
When using media that deliver advertising messages in public arenas Pinnacle will ensure that the content of its messages is sensitive to and compatible with local community standards, particularly when located in proximity to elementary and secondary schools or to other places where children or teenagers tend to congregate.