Canadian Marketers Get What They Asked for

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Remember all that kicking and screaming over the implementation of a national do-not-call registry in the United States? Not the case with our northern neighbor. The Canadian Marketing Association actually wanted its government to create a DNC list, which Canada's Parliament approved in one of its last decisions before being dissolved late last month.

There was no hand-wringing, no change in stances, no lawsuits. Instead, CMA officials started working with lawmakers years ago to enact the legislation. Did they get everything they wanted? No. CMA president/CEO John Gustavson told me an exemption for business-to-business calls was not included, but he hopes to change that by lobbying the governing commission in the months before the list takes effect. There's plenty of time. The registry isn't expected to be in operation for nearly two years.

"We were fearful the legislation wouldn't get through because of the Parliament problem," he said. "For us, it's a matter of choosing, letting people tell us how they most want to be contacted. Without reasonable laws regulating organizations that use the phone to market their products and services, the industry risks losing its right to use it."

That's not the process we follow here. I wonder whose way is better.

A Warranty in the Mailbox

Every so often, I rant about the untargeted mail that I get at home. Here's the latest one from Warranty Program Headquarters: "This is your notification that your new vehicle factory warranty has expired or is about to expire. When you purchased your vehicle two years ago, your factory warranty may have been in force. This notification may be your last chance to extend your coverage."

Being a Manhattanite, I have not owned a car for eight years, which leads to the question: Why do the people at Warranty Program Headquarters think I bought a car two years ago? Granted, it's a safe assumption that most people own cars, but New York City is its own beast - and anyone marketing to its residents should understand that. The company's Web site was pretty bare and offered few details. Since I understand how the industry works, the mailer didn't bother me, but I wonder whether other consumers could take it the wrong way.

Even better was the deadline given to respond: "Act on or before the Friday, Oct. 28, 2005, cut-off date, and you'll receive a 20% discount." I received the mailer a full month late.

Tad Clarke is editor in chief of DM News. His editorial appears Mondays on and in our e-mail newsletter. You can subscribe to our e-mail newsletters by visiting

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