What Marketers Need to Know about the Canadian Anti-Spam Law

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is the Canadian Government’s new weapon in the fight against spam. Most of Canada’s new legislation came into force on July 1st, 2014. Organizations will be required to have either the prior consent of intended recipients of commercial electronic messages (CEMs), or ensure that the messages being sent, or the recipients of those messages, are exempt from the requirements to get consent. If you’re in Canada or send to Canadian residents, you’ll need to comply with CASL. Luckily, there’s a three-year transition period, until July 1, 2017, during which you can take steps to ensure your list stays in compliance under the law.


What’s covered under CASL?

CASL regulations apply to any CEM sent from or to Canadian computers and devices in Canada.

A CEM is any message that:

  • Is in an electronic format, including emails, IMs (instant messages), text messages, and social media communication
  • Is sent to an electronic address, including email addresses, instant message accounts, phone accounts, and social media accounts
  • Contains a message encouraging recipients to take part in some type of commercial activity, including the promotion of products, services, people/persona, companies, or organizations

Implied vs. express consent

Implied consent is a looser representation. Express (or explicit) consent requires action from both sender and receiver. Implied consent includes:

  • A recipient has purchased a product, service or made another business deal, contract, or membership with your organization
  • You are a registered charity or political organization, and the recipient has made a donation or gift, has volunteered, or attended a meeting organized by you
  • A professional message is sent to someone whose email address was given to you and who hasn’t published or told you that they don’t want unsolicited messages

If you already have a legitimate business relationship with a “lead” (meaning they have purchased something from you previously), you can obtain new, explicit permission to continue marketing to them during the 36 month transitional period. Explicit consent requires three things:

  • Consent (also called opt-in)
  • Specific identification information from the lead
  • An unsubscribe mechanism

For all other Canadian leads, you must take steps to allow them to opt-in again. Consent may be provided either in writing (including via online means) or orally. In either case, the marketer must keep documents verifying consent. Penalties for violations can range from up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for companies. Personal and family relationships are exempt and do not require consent.

A full text of CASL can be found here. A more detailed digital marketer’s guide to CASL can be found here.

Who’s in the Spotlight?

Since November 2013, MultiAd has the pleasure of having Susan Wise in the Creative Outlet Sales Department. Susan is a sales veteran, playing various roles in retail, marketing and outside sales for over 30 years. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as family-owned businesses. For eight years, Susan worked in newspaper sales in her hometown, which she expresses as a wonderful way to get to know the small community that she just moved to.

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Susan and her husband, Tim, with their son, John

At MultiAd, Susan maintains a home-like feel to her workplace as she tackles her day-to-day activities. She enjoys getting to know people as she defines their needs for our products and services.  Her favorite part of her job is being able to meet new people. She finds that understanding how people make decisions is one of the most interesting part of being a sales person.


Susan is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska. She served in the Nebraska Air National Guard in the 1980′s working as a sergeant in the Services Unit. Being in the National Guard has helped her develop as a sales person by keeping her on task, never accepting “no” as the final answer, and teaching her to make a positive experience out of something negative. Susan has lived in many places throughout her life, but the 1990s brought her to Illinois where she met her husband, Tim. The couple has a son, John, who is just shy of 14. The family’s hobby is Boy Scouts, where they have met many friends. They also enjoy outdoor activities and traveling. Susan loves taking in new cultures and seeing how people live and work in different places. She has been to just about every state on vacation except for three – Louisiana, Arizona, and New Mexico, which are on her to-do list!

Outside of MultiAd, Susan keeps herself busy with social media training for small businesses as well as helping out part-time at a local boutique. She loves the small-town, small-business vibe and admires the hard work people put into their small businesses. Susan is also an active board member of her local Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Economic Development Committee. The town where she resides is small, quaint and what she considers as the perfect place to raise a family. Susan finds strength in her family, friends and church.

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Susan’s dog, Frisco

Susan likes to read magazines and newspapers during her down-time. In particular, she enjoys the ads and short stories. She loves ads that get her attention, feature a great photo, or a fun header or border. “We have so many talented artists here at the office that go to great efforts to make ads that are fun and eye-catching,” she states. “Our Photos Unlimited product is my favorite. I have many of those pictures up on my computer screen during the day just to give me some inspiration.”

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the MultiAd team, Susan!

Did You Know about Our Quick & Easy Search Tips?

Find the art content you need in less time by using these handy search tips… 

1. When using the basic search feature in the center of the website, try combining keywords to narrow it down. For example, instead of “baseball,” try “baseball headings,” or “baseball photography,” or “2014 Ford Mustang.”

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2. If you are looking for the newest content, click the drop-down categories to the right of the website under the “New Content For” heading. Choose what month you’d like to view the newest content. Once the month is selected, click on “Category.” Categories include: Photography, Illustrations, Spec Ads, Web Banners, Special Sections, Fun & Games and Reference Guide.

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3. If you are looking for timely content, for example to use in your upcoming advertisements, locate the “Timely Topics” section in the middle of the homepage. You’ll find four topics to choose from for the current and next two months. Topics are reflective of what is usually popular during those months.



4. If you are interested in viewing the top downloads on any given day, notice the “Trending Today” section on the homepage located towards the bottom of the page in the center. Just click on an image that you’d like to download.

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5. The “Advanced Search” tab in the upper right corner of the homepage allows you to combine specific categories (media types, resolutions, color ranges) with your desired style (banners, flourishes, photography, puzzles, self promotion and more). If you like a particular product or collection of Creative Outlet, for example, auto images or crosswords, you can choose to search either “Products” or “Collections” in the drop-down menu next to the “Advanced Search” heading. Once you select a product or collection, you can narrow it down even further. “Auto Images” for example, prompts you to choose the year, make, model and color of the car you are looking for. You can’t get much more specific than that!

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6. If you’re interested in searching a particular product, like Holiday Greetings, Logos or Special Sections, but you aren’t looking for any one specific piece of content, then click the “Products” tab drop-down at the top of the homepage to view its landing page. These landing pages give you access to a quick search of the product along with tiled searches of the most popular content. Aside from using the drop-down header menu, you can bookmark a landing page using its specific URL –

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1 Minute Workshop- Swimming Pool Effect

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Create a swimming pool effect in Adobe Photoshop

Step 1

In Photoshop, create a new document to your desired size and resolution. Fill the document with a diagonal Gradient of light blue-green to a darker shade of blue.


Step 2

Add a new layer, and using the Paintbrush tool with a soft setting, draw several white crosses on the layer. Vary the brush diameter to create different weights of crosses.


Step 3

Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. After selecting the Radius setting of 2 or 3, click OK. This will help soften the shape of the crosses.


Step 4

Go to Filter>Distort>Ripple. Set the size to Large and the amount to a high percentage. This will create the “rippling water” effect.


Step 5

Rotate the white “rippled” layer counter-clockwise to position horizontally on top of the blue background. Play around with the ripple settings and white cross positioning to achieve different variations. Scale and crop the image for the final effect.


How to Engage Viewers on Social Media

How can businesses engage viewers on social media? That’s the golden question most of us often wonder about social media. There are countless articles about how to be more engaging on social media but we’ve narrowed it down to a few main points. The overarching theme is emotion. So make it personal! Here are some ways to appeal to social media users:

1. Tell a Good Story

Tell a story that leads to a long-term relationship with your clients and customers. Don’t just focus on selling your product or service. You’ll want to draw readers in with personal stories that they can relate to, but leave them short enough that you’ll keep their interest. When thinking of stories to share, try to pull from life experiences. People want to know they’re dealing with other people and not just a logo. They’ll know when you’re being genuine and will appreciate it.


2. Offer a Newsletter Subscription

If customers subscribe to your email newsletter, it’s safe to assume that they trust you enough to give you their email address. Email newsletters are a great opportunity to tell stories that can tie to what you’re selling. Try to include personal photos related to the content of the newsletter. Readers will also enjoy short stories and personal messages that they can get value from. For example, publishing an article about an employee that describes a victory or an obstacle they’ve overcome. Readers can also gain value from how-to articles or industry research. The business that connects with their readers on a personal level and consistently provides valuable content will more likely engage viewers on social media.

3. Visual Content

Using the right images in your social media and email newsletters  is an important part of how people perceive your personal brand. These images should align with your online personality.  Graphic designs, infographics and slideshows are all play a part in your online personality. 

The  Social Media Examiner shares which brands are great story-tellers and expands on how you can reach an emotional connection with your customers.