An advertisement targeting children | There is no franchise in metaverse

Gap Canada announced Friday that it is now advertising Roblox, a popular role-playing platform for elementary-aged children. However, the Consumer Protection Law Ads targeting children under the age of 13 are prohibited.

Posted at 6:00 AM

Isabelle Dube

Isabelle Dube

Gap Canada is proud to integrate the metaverse Friday into its online multiplayer platform Roblox. The statement said the US brand has its own virtual store where young players behind their avatar can enjoy a juice bar, try on clothes, take pictures and do fashion shows.

The virtual Gap Teen store was also very crowded on Friday evening, during a visit Journalism.

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Our journalist’s avatar surrounded by other players in the Gap Teen Store on Friday

The majority of children in Roblox

Although Gap Canada says it wants to give “teens the opportunity to discover the world of Gap,” Roblox attracts the majority of children under 13 with its games of adopting baby animals, decorating the house, and role-playing in this modern age. virtual city. Roblox Corporation also indicated in 2021 that 54% of its users are under the age of 13.

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Journalism He was able to sign up for Roblox with 2016 as his year of birth, although the platform is assumed to be for ages 10 and up.

Roblox is also advertised as being for ages 10 and up. However, it was possible to register by setting 2016 as the year of birth.

The law is clear

The Consumer Protection Law Advertising aimed at children under the age of 13 is prohibited not only on television, but also on the Internet and, accordingly, in the metaverse.

“The law stipulates that any advertisement for commercial purposes targeting those under the age of 13 is prohibited by law,” says Alexander Blurd, attorney at Option Consommateurs. To determine if an ad is directed at children under 13, an assessment of context, such as when and where it appeared, is made. »

“So the advertisement that is done on a platform where there are mainly children under 13, which allows young people under 13 to register directly, continues the lawyer, and one thinks it really is aimed at children under 13.”

The law makes it clear that even if an advertisement is intended for teens and adults or if it is aired during a viewing period intended for an older audience, it cannot be assumed that it is not intended for children.

Created in the early 1970s, the law states that a child cannot distinguish between information and promotion.

Since General Mills admitted to breaking the law in 2009 with its Lucky Charms pill-inspired online game, disguised ads in the form of games have also come under scrutiny.

At the time, the food giant had to pay a meager $2,000 fine.

The fine was higher for Coca-Cola, in 2015, which created a water feature in Fanta’s drink colors, in La Ronde. After his conviction, the multinational had to pay a fine of $27,664 to the Quebec government.

Advertising in the form of gifts is also not tolerated. Distribution of Igor’s cake at daycare centers, by Saputo, resulted in a $44,000 fine. Saputo decided to plead guilty in 2009.

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Young players behind their avatar can enjoy the juice bar, try on clothes, take photos and do fashion shows in the virtual Gap store.

The law applies to any trader doing business in Quebec, even if their main office is overseas, Option Partners’ attorney recalls. “To the extent that such company, Gap, does business in Canada, advertises to persons located in Canada, and promotes goods or services in Canada, it shall comply with the laws in force in each province.”

If a complaint is filed with the Consumer Protection Bureau and leads to an investigation, Gap may be subject to criminal prosecution and required to pay a fine.

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