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West Kelowna billboard bearing anti-vaccine messaging deemed misleading

Ad Standards investigated the billboard, noting a lack of evidence to support the messaging

A highway billboard in West Kelowna has been deemed misleading, following a review by Ad Standards.

The organization, which act as the self-regulatory body for Canada’s advertising agency, investigated a controversial billboard in West Kelowna, said to contain anti-vaccine messaging.

It was reported in November 2020 that the billboard contained the message, “COVID – Is the cure worse than the illness?” with a “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign beside, and a website url for Vaccinechoicecanada.com.

Ad Standards council ultimately determined that, “the general impression created by the advertisement was that a vaccine as a cure for COVID-19 is, or could be, worse than contracting the disease itself.”

Council determined the advertiser provided no evidence to support this claim.

“Council was further unaware of any competent and reliable evidence currently available to support such a position; in fact, Health Canada’s authorization for the first COVID-19 vaccine (which was imminent at the time Council met and expected because of approval in the UK) would suggest otherwise.

“At the time of this decision, Council had no evidence before it to support the position that the vaccine was, or could be, worse than contracting COVID-19 as a general proposition.”

The advertisement was found to be misleading, in contravention of Clause 1 of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, which demands accuracy and clarity in advertising.

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Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

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