In 2016, the Canadian government introduced Bill S-228, placing new restrictions on how advertisers could market food to children. As a result, grocery retailers, CPGs, and QSRs across the country spent the last few years preparing for the change and developing marketing strategies to abide with the new regulations. Under the proposed law, organizations would no longer be able to advertise foods high in salt, sugar, or saturated fats to children under the age of 13.
Targeted to pass in the spring of 2019, Bill S-228 ultimately did not pass. The regulatory outlook shifted after organizations had already invested significant resources to align with the new law. While a relief for some businesses, this situation highlights a key communications challenge that grocery retailers, CPGs, and QSRs face: they are at the mercy of legislation and a regulatory environment that’s out of their control.
For large businesses, the branding and communications challenge is significant and can have ripple effects across the entire organization, and eventually impact the bottom line. Even the smallest changes to a bill or statute may leave an entire vertical scrambling to adjust their communications strategy and branding to match the new legislation. To compound the problem, once organizations invest the time and resources needed to adapt and prepare, there is still the possibility the bill will never see the light of day.
In highly regulated industries, change is inevitable. It is critical that organizations have systems and protocols in place to allow them to respond to a rapidly changing regulatory environment with confidence, speed, and efficiency.